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Tips for First Time Pickup Drivers

For Those Who Need Trucks in Their Lives

Driving a pickup can be a different experience from driving a regular car or even different from driving an SUV. It’s a whole other ball park in the driving world, but experience driving SUVs or vans may provide a better feel for driving a truck for the first time. For those without much experience behind the wheel of a pickup, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Weight. Trucks are heavier and larger than regular cars, and this means braking will be different. Drivers must leave plenty of time to stop after applying the brake more so than a regular, smaller car. If you don’t brake in enough time, you could easily stop in the middle of an intersection on a red light. Apply the brake when you should—doing otherwise could cause you to rear end someone, and large trucks do considerable damage to their smaller vehicle relatives.

Practice. When choosing a spot to practice driving a truck, choose somewhere empty before taking it out onto open, busy roads. This familiarizes you with how the vehicle drives, the required stopping distance, and the best parking practices. While smaller vehicles turn easier and fit into tighter places, you should make sure you know where your truck will fit.

Blind spots. Be sure to adjust your rearview and side view mirrors to the best positions so you can be aware of what is around you. Larger vehicles have larger blind spots, so be sure to look around as much as you can and signal properly before you change lanes.

Reversing. Another issue involving large blind spots, practice makes perfect in this case as well. It’s easy to miss obstacles behind you when backing up a large truck, so move slowly and always monitor your progress.

Turning. There is a huge difference between turning in a truck and turning in a car because trucks are larger and need a wider berth. Semi-trucks are required to be in the lane opposite of the turn because of that wide berth they need. The same concept applies to regular trucks—they can’t turn on a dime exactly as a sedan can.

Be sure to keep all of these things in mind before driving off in your truck for the first time, and be sure to practice and make sure you are completely ready before you start driving on the open road.

Think you or someone you know is in need of Behind the Wheel Training? Training Wheels is a Mays Landing driving school specializing in teaching new teen drivers how to stay safe on the road. For more information on our lessons, please click here.

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