Moving: Do It Safely While Doing It Yourself
Taking a do-it-yourself approach can help you save money and give you more control when you move. Taking some basic precautions and being aware of your surroundings when you drive a moving truck can help ensure that you and your belongings stay safe:
- Think big. “Trucks are taller, wider and may weigh up to 10 times more than the average car,” explained Don Mikes, senior vice president–rental, Penske. “You have to be extra vigilant.” Be sure you know the height of your truck, and watch for posted signs and warnings about the height of upcoming bridges and overpasses to be sure your truck will fit under them. Also, trucks take longer to stop than cars, so allow extra room between your truck and the car in front of you.
- Don’t be blindsided. Trucks also have big blind spots. You should know where these areas are, especially when changing lanes or coming to a stop.
- Know how to pack – and what not to pack. Penske offers a simple illustration that shows how to load a truck most effectively. Also, keep in mind that most truck rental agreements follow the language from the U.S. Department of Transportation that prohibits the “carrying or hauling of explosives and other dangerous articles.” That means you can’t pack paint, chemicals and cleaning materials, flammable solvents, propane, gasoline and the like. Check with your rental agent if you’re not sure about a particular item.
- Plan ahead. When planning your trip, take into account the time of day you intend to travel and likely traffic patterns. Always leave lots of extra time and be aware of possible bottlenecks along the way.
- Familiarize yourself with the vehicle. Make sure you can find and understand the use of all the truck’s switches and gauges. Adjust the seat and side mirrors so they match your height and comfort zone. Be sure to follow all safety precautions identified on stickers placed throughout the vehicle and/or in any instructional guides provided. If you ever have any questions about the use of your equipment, speak with a Penske rental representative who can readily provide guidance or contact our 24/7 Roadside Assistance team.
- Insure yourself. “Most insurance and credit card companies won’t cover truck rentals under existing policies,” Mikes said. If your insurance company is among them, consider signing up for additional coverage options to protect yourself and your belongings. In addition, whenever you need to park your truck for a break or overnight stop, be sure it is securely locked – including the rear cargo door – and parked in a visible, well-lit spot.
- Know where you can turn for help . Penske offers 24/7 Roadside Assistance for its rental customers.
By "Move Ahead" Staff