There are many reasons why you may be renting a box truck. You may be moving, may need to pick up appliances or large pieces of furniture, or may need to make large deliveries you don’t normally make for your business. Regardless of why, driving and maneuvering a box truck can be intimidating if you have never done it before. After all, depending on the size of truck you get, it can be much bigger than what you are used to driving. However, there are a few tips that can help you feel comfortable while driving and make the process a safe one for you and the truck. Here are a few of those tips.
Avoid Driving in Less-Than-Ideal Weather
If this is your first time renting and driving a box truck, you will want to avoid driving in inclement weather until you are used to the truck and the way it operates. Even on the best of days, driving a large truck is going to present different challenges than driving a car. The last thing you want to do is mix those new challenges with roadway hazards, such as icy roads or poor visibility. Sticking to driving on good weather days will help minimize the chance of an accident occurring.
Pay Attention to the Height of the Truck and Overhead Clearances
One of the challenges you may not even think that you will experience while driving a box truck is height restrictions. When you’re in your car, you don’t have to worry about the height of bridges, tunnels or parking garage clearances. But when you are in a box truck, you need to be aware of these things. Box trucks can be tall and if you don’t pay attention, you can scrape the roof of the truck on these items, or worse, get stuck. When you rent the truck, ask the rental company what the height of the truck is and then remember it. If memory is an issue for you, write it on a sticky note and put it on your dashboard. This will help you avoid this problem.
Make the Most of Your Side Mirrors
Changing lanes and making turns is quite different in a large moving truck compared to a standard car or truck. You need to allow for more space when doing both of these activities. One of the best resources you have for gauging how much space you will need is your side mirrors. Your side mirrors will help you see how close other vehicles are to you, or how close you are to curbs and sidewalks. Many people find themselves using their side mirrors more while driving larger vehicles. Positioning these mirrors in a box truck is slightly different than doing so in a vehicle. Follow these tips to properly position them and eliminate blind spots:
- Begin by adjusting the mirror closer to the driver’s side. Fold the mirror as far outward as it will go to begin with. Place your head against the window, looking outward. Slowly pull the mirror inward, or toward the truck, until you can see just the edge of your box truck in the mirror. Next, move your head to the position it will be in when you drive. Slowly move the mirror downward until you can see the road behind in the truck in the mirror. As you do this, keep your head straight, only glancing to the left with your eyes to view the mirror, which is what you do while driving. The driver’s side mirror is now in place.
- The next step is to adjust the passenger side mirror. Once again, start with the mirror pushed as far outward as it will go. Sitting in the center of the box truck cab with your head facing toward the right, move the mirror inward until can see just the edge of the truck in the mirror. Now place your head in a normal driving position and pull the mirror downward until you can see the road behind the trailer in the mirror. This mirror is now in position.
- The last thing you will want to do is sit in your normal driving position and look to the left and the right, looking at the mirrors. You should see just the edge of the box truck in the mirrors and the road behind you. If you don’t see this, readjust the mirrors. If you do not see these things and do not readjust them, you have blind spots and that can make it harder to change lanes when driving a large vehicle.
Allow More Time to Stop
The last tip that will help you safely navigate the roadways when you are in a box truck is to allow yourself more time to stop than you normally would. The size and the weight of the box truck mean that it requires more time to stop. The exact amount varies based on the size and weight of the truck, but it can take up to double the amount of time for a large, full truck to stop compared to automobiles. Always keep this in mind and allow yourself enough space to stop. Failing to give yourself the proper time to stop can lead to accidents or items in the back shifting around while in transit.
Driving a box truck can be nerve-wracking if you have never driven one before. However, taking the time to learn the difference between driving one of these vehicles and your standard vehicle, and following the above tips, will help you feel more confident in what to expect. This can help increase the likelihood of you making it to your destination safely. Contact a company like Del’s Truck Rentals for more information.