8 Tips for Parking and Backing up a Moving Truck

Jul 23, 2012

Are you afraid of driving a moving truck? Fear not! By following a few basic safety tips, you will be able to operate your moving truck safely and correctly. In this post, we share some crucial parking and backing up tips that will help you complete your DIY move with ease.


When parking your moving truck for loading, unloading, or at rest stops, there are many things to consider. These environments are ever-changing, and can present hazards if you are not prepared. When possible use a spotter when parking and backing up. The spotter should be outside of the truck and can be your eyes and ears to guide you through your blind spots.

1. Plan ahead: Upon arrival, scan the lot and begin planning how you will get out. If at all possible, park the moving truck so that you have a clear path out when it is time to leave. This allows you to avoid backing up in an unfamiliar area. Also, be sure to scan for trees, overhangs, awnings, and any tall object that could reduce your clearance.

2. Check behind you: When parking, step out of the truck to gauge your clearance. This is especially helpful in smaller parking lots and in residential areas. Have your spotter direct you as you move into the parking position, and ensure your path is clear of debris and other hazards.

Truck Safety

Look out for awnings and overhangs.

3. Be aware of your area:Roll down your windows and utilize side mirrors to monitor your surroundings as you go. Be sure to take notice of trees, over hangs, and other tall protrusions that may interfere with the path of your truck.

 4. Set the parking brake: Once parked, always set the parking brake. Move the shift selector firmly into ‘park’, and then firmly set the parking brake. For a standard transmission, shift transmission into first or reverse gear and firmly set the parking brake. If you are parking to face downhill, turn the wheels toward the curb. When facing uphill, turn the wheels away from curb.

Backing Up 

Carefully examine your surroundings using your side mirrors.

If this is your first time driving a moving truck, backing up can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Using the ‘spotter system’ is the most effective way to ensure safety when backing up. Before you begin backing up, have your spotter get out of the truck to help guide you.

1. Double check blind spots: There are blind spots behind any vehicle, so do not rely on mirrors alone. If no help can be found, get out of the truck and walk around the rear to make sure there are no children, pedestrians or obstructions behind you. Once you return to the cab of the truck, ensure the windows are rolled down so you can be aware of the sights and sounds around your vehicle, as well as spotter commands.

Get help to check blind spots before you back up.

2. Be aware of your surroundings: Remember, the side mirrors only allow you to see the side of the truck, and nothing behind the truck.  Have the spotter stand on the side of the truck near the rear.  Consider creating and reviewing common hand signals with the person who is helping you to keep communication clear and concise.

3. Carefully back up: Once you have reviewed your surroundings and your spotter is in place, place your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel and look into the side mirror behind the truck. When you want to move left, move the steering wheel left; when you want to move right, move the steering wheel to the right.

Truck Ramp Position

Use the curb to reduce the ramp angle for loading and unloading

                            4. Position the truck for loading and unloading: If you are backing up to your home, try to back directly up to the curb. This will allow you to deploy the ramp at a gentler slope for easier loading and unloading.

Don’t forget, when operating your moving truck, wear a seatbelt!  For more moving truck safety tips, visit uhaul.com- Truck User Instructions. If you’d like information on safe operation with a trailer in tow, see our Safe Trailering videos: Safe Trailering pt. 1 and pt. 2. As a reminder, always be sure to review your moving truck’s safety manual.


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