How to Park a U-haul Truck

By Kent Ninomiya

  • Overview

    It can be difficult to park a U-haul truck, especially if you are not used to driving a large vehicle. You must use different visual cues than you are used to. There is no rear view mirror and you can't just turn your head to see behind you. You must be aware of the length and height of the U-haul truck as well as the the massive blind spot in the back.
    • Step 1

      Get a feel for the length of the U-haul truck. They are rented in lengths of 10, 14, 17, 24 and 26 feet. As you drive around, get a sense for how wide you must turn and how long it takes to bring the back side around a curve. The longer the U-haul truck, the wider the turn and the longer it takes to straighten out.
    • Step 2

      Look for the perfect parking space. Look for wide open spaces with high vertical clearance and straight parking lanes. Also look for parking areas where you wont need to turn around while parking or leaving. If this is not available, at least make sure that the parking space is big enough to accommodate the U-haul truck.

    • Step 3

      Start with the straightaway method. This is used for parking places where you can pull straight in then pull straight out again when you leave. Approach the parking space on a direct line from as far away as you can. Gradually creep closer and closer to the curb or parking lines while keeping an eye on it in the right side mirror. The idea is to keep the U-haul truck closely parallel the curb at all times. This makes it easy to park a very long truck just inches from a curb.
    • Step 4

      Back into a parking space with care. Position the U-haul truck so that it lines up with the parking space. The back of the truck should be facing the space. Check to see that there is nothing behind you. Slowly back up while keeping the wheels straight. Constantly check one rear view mirror and then the other to verify that you are backing up straight. When parking a long U-haul truck in this way you want to turn as little as possible. It takes the rear of the U-haul truck much longer to respond than in a regular vehicle.
    • Step 5

      Parallel park only after you are comfortable handling the U-haul truck. Maneuvering a long vehicle between two objects can be quite a challenge. Start by pulling parallel to the object (usually a car) in front of the parking space. Leave about 6 feet between the U-haul truck and the object. Slowly back up and turn the back end toward the space. Keep in mind that you will need to turn later than you would in your car and that the rear of the U-haul truck hangs over the back tire by quite a bit. Make sure that there is nothing to hit over the curb. Once the front end of the truck is clear of the object in front of the parking space, turn the steering wheel hard the other way. It will not take long for the front end to catch up.
    • Skill: Challenging
    • Tip: It is always helpful to have someone stand beside the U-haul truck and guide you in.
    • Warning:
    • It is easy to forget that you are driving a truck with a vertical clearance as high as 12 feet. While parking a U-haul truck you must beware overhangs and tree branches. A seemingly harmless branch can scratch or dent the truck.

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