When you’re getting ready to relocate it’s easy to become overwhelmed and with so much to do, driving that moving van can become somewhat stressful.
To help get you ready, we have five things you need to know about driving a moving van.
1 – Fill the Tank and Plan Ahead
If you are able to do so, fill the gas tank in advance. Driving a moving van into small spaces for the first time can be challenging and the last thing you want is to add stress to your journey.
Ron Schmedly is President of DefensiveDriving.org has worked in various sectors of the travel industry for more than 20 years, and has visited all 50 states during his travels.
He recommends planning ahead to avoid uncomfortable situations.
“I drove a moving truck from Florida to Cincinnati and I think what I learned is that all of my food, fuel and bathroom choices were entirely based on the size of the parking lot of the said place. There was no chance I was putting myself in a position to have to creep through a small space or heaven forbid to back that giant truck up. We ended up stopping at truck stops for that exact reason,” says Schmedly.
2 – Make Wide Turns
I know we’ve all seen the signs on huge trailers or semis which read “wide load,” and although you may not be driving those kinds of moving trailers, you still want to make sure your turns wider than what you’re used to. If you don’t, you may end up hitting the curb with the back side of the vehicle or hit something worse.
3 – Use Your Mirrors
Depending on your moving van, you may not have the luxury of a rear-view mirror so it’s important to use the side mirrors when possible.
These trailers, trucks and vans are designed to have side mirrors that can provide as much visibility as possible in the vehicle. Make sure to adjust them properly and you should be able to see pretty much everything you would in a small car.
4 – Watch The Ramp
Some moving vehicles have a ramp on the back that pulls out for easy loading and unloading. When you’re ready to drive off, make sure it’s secured and remember it’s there when you’re getting ready to park.
Comedian Jo Young (a.k.a. Mighty Jo Young) opted to have a friend drive her 26 ft moving truck as she didn’t feel comfortable enough to drive it. She followed in a car behind her friend and says what she witnessed on her way to her new home was definitely “not a pretty sight.”
“On my narrow, residential one-way street (which he couldn’t turn on to because right turns are very challenging in these large trucks), he decided to back down it–which sounded good in theory, until the hanging step ladder that jets out from the side of the truck (which he wasn’t aware of) slowly rolled back the hood of a parallel-parked car like a sardine can. You should have heard the scraping sounds, and my screams. It was surreal and shocking,” says Young.
5 – Get Insurance
Young says she was lucky to have taken out the extra insurance offered at the truck rental company to help cover the damage to the other vehicle and the step ladder.
“Moral of the story: Hire a skilled driver and ALWAYS take out the extra insurance, or simply hire movers who have their own truck, their own special licenses AND their own insurance!” suggests Young.