How To Drive A U-haul Truck

When driving a U-Haul truck, safety should always be the top priority. Drivers can help ensure a safe and successful trip by following these tips.


Maintain a Safe Following Distance

It is essential to follow at a safe distance and never tailgate since the truck cannot stop as quickly as a smaller vehicle. Drivers should also check their mirrors frequently and know their clearance level. Extra caution when stopping at red lights and changing lanes is also essential. Lastly, drivers should always follow local speed limits.

Braking a U-Haul Truck

To release the foot-operated parking brake, pull on the large handle with a “P” on it right above the parking brake pedal. Once the brake is released, you can push down on the pedal to engage the parking brake. Hold the handle in the released position while engaging the parking brake. The parking brake will automatically engage if you let go of the handle.

Loading a U-Haul Truck Properly

When loading a U-Haul truck, evenly distributing the weight is critical. Place your heaviest items towards the front of the van, and pack lighter items towards the back. Create a foundation of heavy items and build up from there. For example, start with a refrigerator, washer, dryer, or other heavy pieces of furniture, and then stack boxes and other lighter items on top.

Does it Matter Who Drives the U-Haul?

U-Haul doesn’t charge for an additional driver. However, all drivers must be listed on the contract to be covered by insurance. For customers moving with family or friends, having everyone listed as a driver may be more cost-effective. For customers hiring professional movers, adding anyone as an additional driver may be optional since the company will likely have its insurance coverage. Ultimately, it is up to the customer to decide who drives the U-Haul and whether or not adding a driver is worth the cost.

Tips for Driving a Big Moving Truck

Driving a large moving truck can be challenging, but these tips can make the process easier:

  • Drive slower than you would in a regular vehicle.
  • Leave plenty of space between your truck and other vehicles.
  • Apply your brakes sooner than you would normally.
  • Give yourself extra room when turning.
  • Take your time when switching lanes.
  • Only pass if it is vital.
  • Follow all road rules.
  • Park in large areas rather than trying to squeeze into a small space.

Following these basic principles, drivers can safely and confidently operate a U-Haul truck.

U-Haul Trucks: Automatic or Manual?

U-Haul offers a variety of rental trucks with both automatic and manual transmissions. It is essential to know the differences and features of each type of truck before selecting one for your move.

Automatic Transmission Trucks

U-Haul’s automatic transmission trucks are fuel-efficient and have inside dimensions of 26’5″ x 8’2″ x 8’3″ (LxWxH). They also come with a fuel economy gauge to help maximize fuel efficiency. These trucks have seats for three adults, making them suitable for small families or groups.

Manual Transmission Trucks

U-Haul’s manual transmission trucks also have inside dimensions of 26’5″ x 8’2″ x 8’3″ (LxWxH), but they do not have a fuel economy gauge. Instead, these trucks have 4-speed manual transmissions. Like the automatic transmission trucks, they also have seats for three adults.

How to Back in a U-Haul

Backing in a U-Haul can be a challenge, but with proper technique, it can be done safely and effectively. First, move the shift selector firmly into the ‘park’ position and set the parking brake. If facing downhill, turn the wheels toward the curb. For manual transmissions, shift into first or reverse gear and engage the parking brake firmly. Slowly back up the truck until it is in the desired position; always double-check that the U-haul is in a park and the parking brake is engaged before exiting the vehicle.

What to Load First When Moving

When packing a moving truck, it is essential to prioritize the order in which items are loaded. Starting with the largest and heaviest items is generally advisable. These items include mattresses, bed frames, tables, chairs, refrigerators, washers/dryers, couches, sectionals, and coffee tables. Placing these heavy items at the bottom of the truck’s base creates a solid foundation for stacking smaller items on top. This approach also makes it easier to fit everything into the truck.


Driving a U-Haul truck can be intimidating, but it can be done safely and successfully with the proper techniques and patience. Remember to drive slowly, keep a safe distance from other vehicles, and apply the brakes sooner than usual. When turning, give yourself plenty of room, and take your time when switching lanes. Following these simple tips can make driving a large moving truck less stressful and more manageable.

About the author, Laurence Perkins

Laurence Perkins is the passionate car enthusiast behind the blog My Auto Machine. With over a decade of experience in the automotive industry, Perkins has knowledge and experience with a wide range of car makes and models. His particular interests lie in performance and modification, and his blog covers these topics in-depth. In addition to his own blog, Perkins is a respected voice in the automotive community and writes for various automotive publications. His insights and opinions on cars are highly sought-after.