Before you rent a U-Haul, you may want to know how to drive it. This is especially important if you don’t have experience driving a manual vehicle.
Consider what type of transmission U-Hauls use to decide if renting one is right for your next move.
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Do U-Hauls Have an Automatic or Manual Transmission?
U-Hauls are all automatic, which is great for people who don’t know how to drive a stick shift. Now, that doesn’t mean U-Hauls are easy to drive. Like other massive trucks, it takes a bit of practice to drive a U-Haul smoothly, so take your time.
If you’ve never driven a truck like a U-Haul, you may need to take it slowly. That way, you can drive safely as you move your belongings.
Are U-Hauls Hard to Drive?
U-Hauls can be hard to drive, especially if you’ve never driven anything larger than a sedan. If possible, you may want to have someone with more experience drive the truck.
But if you need to drive it, you should consider what makes the U-Haul difficult to manage. Then, you can figure out what you need to do so that you can drive it safely.
Here are a few considerations to know before you rent and drive a U-Haul.
Of course, the most obvious difference between a U-Haul and your typical car is the size. You need to be a lot more careful when driving a U-Haul, especially when turning.
For example, you might feel confident to turn right on a red light in your car. However, you’ll need more room to account for the turn when driving a U-Haul. It may make more sense to wait until you have a green light so that you can take your time and make a wider turn.
Even if you’ve driven trucks or vans, the moving trucks can still be hard to handle. Give yourself time to make any turns, and slow down on winding roads. That way, you can keep yourself and others safe when on the road.
One of the specific things that the size affects is merging into traffic. When getting on the highway, you’ll need to be more careful when switching lanes.
Of course, you can use your turn signal to let other drivers know what you plan to do. However, you will still need to allow extra time to merge or change lanes.
You also have to be more aware of your surroundings. That way, you can merge successfully without getting into an accident.
If your move will involve driving up or down hills, you need to be particularly careful. When going up hills, plan to stay in the slow lane. U-Hauls already can’t go as fast as other vehicles, but it can be even slower to get up a hill.
On the other hand, when driving down a hill, you may be able to go faster. It can be tempting to ride your brakes, but avoid doing that if possible. As brakes heat up, they can stop working correctly.
Instead, try to use engine control braking to maintain your speed. Then, you can get to where you need to go safely.
How Fast Can You Drive a U-Haul?
When it comes to driving a U-Haul, you have to think about the speed. You may not need to worry about switching gears, but that doesn’t mean you can drive as fast as you want.
In general, U-Hauls can drive about 55 miles per hour at the max. If you have a full load, you may want to drive a bit slower to stay safe. Driving slower also allows you more room to slow down, so you don’t have to worry about your belongings shifting during transit.
Of course, you should obey speed limit signs no matter where you’re driving. When you’re in town, you may need to go even slower than 55mph. Many cities have speed limits of around 35mph.
Do You Need a Special License?
Fortunately, you don’t need a special driver’s license or commercial driver training. As long as you have an active regular driver’s license, you can rent and drive a U-Haul.
However, you may want to purchase damage insurance when renting your truck. That way, you’ll have protection if something happens to the moving truck.
U-Haul trucks can be very expensive to fix if you don’t have coverage. The coverage may cost extra, but it will protect you if you’re at fault or not. Without the insurance, you will be responsible for any damage that occurs when the vehicle is in your hands.
Because of that, be sure you trust anyone else you let drive the truck. As the renter, you may be responsible for any damage that someone else causes.
How Can You Make Driving a U-Haul Easier?
You can make driving a U-Haul a bit easier by not overloading it or stuffing the truck to the brim. Doing that means it can be harder to accelerate and get going. You’ll also have a harder time going faster if you need to drive on the highway.
Another thing to consider is how big of a truck you need. The larger the truck, the harder it can be to drive. Rent the smallest vehicle you can get away with to lighten the load. That will also help make turns and other maneuvers easier to do.
If you don’t want to do either of those things, you may want to look into U-Box Containers. The company will transport your items for you, so all you have to do is drive your car or truck.
How to Save Money on Your U-Haul
Even though the U-Hauls are all automatic, you can do some things to save money. That way, you don’t have to pay a ton for your rental.
Here are a few things you can do to keep your U-Haul charges from skyrocketing.
Plan Your Route
The shorter your route, the less you’ll have to spend on gas and the mileage charge. You’ll have to decide if you want to take a shorter route, even if it’s more difficult. For example, maybe the shortest route involves more turns.
If you’re uncomfortable making turns, it may make more sense to take a longer route. You’ll owe more at the end of your rental, but paying extra can offer a sense of safety.
Drive Another Vehicle
If you need to make short trips, such as to the store or to get food, use a smaller car. That way, you can park the moving truck at your current or new residence.
Even though U-Haul charges a daily rate, they also charge per mile, and you have to refill the gas tank. The less you can drive the truck, the more you’ll save. You can also use a smaller vehicle for return trips if you can’t quite fit everything in your moving truck.
Driving an Automatic U-Haul
All U-Hauls are automatic, so you don’t need to know how to shift gears. However, you may want to consider how to drive the larger truck. Maintain a good speed and prepare for turns and other obstacles to get to your new place without getting hurt. And consider a couple of ways to save money overall, such as planning your route first.