Many people rent trucks for moves, small jobs around the house, and even vacations. Unfortunately, rental truck accidents are serious and can cause fatalities, serious brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and other serious injuries. Some accidents involving rental trucks occur due to mechanical failure, but many experts also note that many rental truck accidents occur because drivers renting these trucks do not always know how to handle the vehicles safely. Professional truck drivers get specialized training and licensing, but many rental companies rent trucks – even very large trucks capable of hauling many tons – to people who only have a regular driver’s license. If you don’t have experience with trucks but want to rent one, consider these tips for a safer experience:
1) Consider hiring a driver as well as a truck. If you need to move a heavy load, it is often much safer to hire a professional driver who is licensed for trucks. Often, it costs only a little bit more to rent a truck and driver than to rent a truck itself. It is, however, much safer. A professional driver experienced with trucks knows how these vehicles perform and is better prepared to avoid accidents.
2) If you need to rent a truck, get training before you drive. If hiring a driver is not an option for you, at least consider getting some training before you drive the truck. A local school or instructor may be willing to even offer a few lessons so that you can master the basics of driving a truck safely.
3) Carefully consider the truck you rent. Get the smallest truck you need for your purposes. The larger the truck, the harder it may be to handle. At the same time, make sure that the truck is large enough for the weight you want to carry. Overloading a truck is dangerous.
4) Insist that the truck rental company show you all the features of the truck before you leave the lot. Have someone from the rental company drive around the block with you in the truck and show you all the features and how everything works. Do not sign the lease agreement or leave the lot with the truck unless you are comfortable with the vehicle.
5) Drive with a friend – preferably someone who knows trucks well. A friend can be an extra set of eyes in the truck and can help you back up or check your blind spots. A friend who knows about trucks may also make you feel more confident behind the wheel.
6) Get the truck checked out before you drive it. Before your move or project, take the truck to a mechanic for a quick check. Not all rental companies are as scrupulous as they should be when it comes to checking the mechanical soundness of their vehicles. You want to make sure that the truck is road-worthy before you drive it.