Renting A U-Haul: Tips For First-Timers

Your first time renting and driving a big moving truck, such as a U-haul truck, can be a bit of an intimidating experience. The truck is a great deal larger than your typical car, and all of your most valuable possessions are in the back of it! Here are a few tips to make sure the experience is a safe and smooth one.

1. Choose the smallest truck you can get away with.

Some people rent a larger truck than is needed just in case. But it's a lot harder to drive a 20-foot truck than a 14-foot one when you have little truck driving experience. Make a basic list of the appliances and furniture you have, and count your boxes. If you tell the truck rental company what you have, they will recommend the right size truck for you. Resist the urge to size up — you can squeeze in more than you think.

2. Drive in the middle of the day.

Plan your move so that you end up driving in the middle of the day. There will be less traffic on the roads at this time since you won't run into people driving to and from work. Plus, you won't have to navigate the roads with a big truck after dark. 

3. Make sure you have a good GPS setup.

There's no doubt that today's GPS apps make it a lot easier to find out where you need to go. Just make sure you have a good app downloaded, that you know how to use it, and that you have a suitable mount for your smartphone before moving day arrives. You don't want to be fumbling around on an unfamiliar app with a phone in your lap while trying to drive a big truck.

4. Go with an automatic.

It might be a few dollars cheaper to rent out a manual truck, and if you know how to drive stick, you might be tempted to go this route. But driving an automatic is a lot easier and safer when you're not used to a long vehicle. Make sure you know how all of the basic controls work before you drive out of the rental parking lot.

Driving a moving truck is not easy, but it's not rocket science, either. Follow the tips above, and if you have any additional concerns, bring them up to the U-Haul truck rental company.