Driving a Truck for the First Time? Remember These Top Tips
If you’re about to book and drive a truck hire for the first time, it’s understandable if you feel a bit nervous. Will the truck drive like a normal car? Will you be able to handle something that big on the road? Will you be able to drive safely throughout your trip?
With a little preparation and the proper safety measures in place, your first drive of a truck can be a lot easier than you think. Here’s what you should remember when driving a truck for the first time:
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- Take time to get used to it – Yes, driving a truck can be daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you ease your way into it. After signing the paperwork and getting your truck ready at the rental office, take some time to get used to how your truck drives. Drive it around for a few blocks to familiarise yourself with how it feels and handles on the road. The more you settle into it, the better you’ll be able to drive it.
- Secure your items – Once you’ve packed all your items inside, make sure that everything is properly secured and protected. It’s tempting to simply cram all your things inside, thinking that everything will be okay as long as they all fit in the truck. But remember that things can fall or break inside if they’re not secured properly. Save yourself the heartaches and future repair costs by properly securing your items in the truck before leaving.
- Check your side mirrors – a lot! Unlike standard cars, most truck hires won’t have a central rear view mirror. This means you’ll have to rely on your side mirrors for turning, changing lanes, and staying safe on the road. Make sure that your side mirrors are properly adjusted to your line of sight and take note of any blind spots that may be present. And when you’re on the road, remember to use them often and take extra precaution when changing lanes or turning.
- Brake early (and often) – Any experienced truck driver will tell you that brakes are your best friend. Because trucks are larger and heavier, they naturally need more time and distance to slow down and make a full stop. So, in most cases, you’ll find it’s best to use your brakes sooner than you would on a regular car. Get a feel early on for how your truck’s brakes work and how it handles, and keep this in mind while you’re driving.
- Drive slowly – Whether you’re driving a small truck or a big truck, it’s always best to drive below maximum speed limits when you’re on the road. This will give you better control and more time to make adjustments while driving. Remember: it’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially if it’s your first time driving a truck.
- Keep your truck’s height in mind – No matter how similar you may find a truck to be to a car when driving it, one thing that’ll always be different is its height. Trucks are significantly taller than most standard cars, and you should always take extra effort to keep this in mind while driving. Know your truck’s height before heading out and be aware of the height limits on your route, especially when it comes to bridges, overpasses, and even garages.
- Take care backing up – Without a central rear view mirror, it’ll take more work to safely back up and drive your truck in reverse. Aside from taking extra precautions and relying heavily on your side mirrors, it’s often best to get extra help when backing up your truck. As much as possible, have someone outside guide you when going in reverse. And remember to take your time and go slowly while doing it.
- Give more space for turning – Aside from being taller than most standard vehicles, trucks also tend to be much wider than cars. Keep this in mind when turning, especially when going around corners and making tight turns. Give your truck more turning area than you’re used to.
- Bring important documents with you – Don’t forget to bring all important documents and information on your trip. This includes your rental receipt, the proof of insurance, relevant permits, emergency contact information, and the rental address of your truck hire company. It goes without saying that you should also always have your driver’s license with you while driving, but people often forget so it’s worth a reminder.
- Don’t forget petrol – Some people get so excited about their drive that they forget to fill up their truck hire before returning it. Remember to refuel and fill it up afterwards to avoid unnecessary fees when you return it. To help make sure you don’t forget this, allocate some budget for petrol even before you start your trip.Source – abel.com.