Truck Driving Tips

If you have never driven a truck before, consult the following tips to have a safe drive to your destination. The most important thing to remember is that a truck needs more space and time to react than your personal vehicle does.

Get To Know Your Truck
Familiarize yourself with the truck before driving it. Adjust the seat and mirrors. Know the location of all controls and switches, including lights, turn signals, windshield wipers and the horn. Then, go for a test drive. You might want to start in an empty parking lot to get a feel for how the truck handles.

Obey All Traffic Laws
Use your turn signals, control your speed, use headlights, pass with care and buckle your seatbelt.

Avoid Parkways
Trucks are not allowed to drive on parkways, so make sure you plan your route accordingly. The fines for driving a truck on a parkway are huge, and there is a good chance that you will get stuck under some low bridge.

Speed & Turns
Posted speeds for trucks is slower than for cars, so it may be best to drive in the right lane with slower moving traffic. You will need to make wider turns.

Trucks need more time to stop than cars because of the weight of the vehicle. Brake early, don’t tailgate, and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.

Lane Changes
Make sure your rear and side view mirrors are properly adjusted, allow enough distance for safe lane changes.

Clearance and Low Bridges
Know how tall your truck is and be alert to bridges, underpasses and canopies at gas stations, hotels and banks. Watch out for low bridges and avoid them.

Gas up when the fuel gage registers half full. Remember, not all gas stations sell diesel fuel, which most rental trucks require.

Backing Up
Don't attempt to back up if you are carrying a car hitch, it may jackknife. Find ample space to turn around if you need to back track in the city, such as a big parking lot. When necessary, have someone outside the truck to guide you.

Forget about fast food drive-thrus. Park the truck by a curb and go inside to get your burger and fries – remember your truck height.

If you're planning to stop for the night, call hotels ahead of time and ask if they have truck or RV parking.