If you are planning a move, renting a UHAUL truck or trailer can be a simple alternative. But if you are not prepared, a UHAUL can turn into a ten-ton disaster waiting to happen.
Why UHAUL Is Dangerous?
Cars and trucks are very different vehicles, and driving a truck comes with different risks: they are much bigger than cars, and have the potential to cause much more damage. Trucks have longer stopping distances, are much higher off the ground, and have more blind spots. Because of all this, even the most skillful car driver will be out of place the first time they take the wheel of a moving truck.
This is the reason the government issues commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) to the drivers of large trucks and vehicles which pull trailers. The standards for CDLs are much higher than those for ordinary Class C driver’s licenses, of the type most drivers carry. In fact, although most vehicle licensing law is regulated by the states, CDLs are regulated at the federal level, and overseen by the United States Department of Transportation through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
However, UHAUL trucks are not considered commercial vehicles, so anyone over the age of 18 with a valid driver’s license can drive them, without needing a commercial driver’s license or special training.Free Accident Review
This is good for UHAUL and its customers, because it allows most people to easily rent their trucks. However, many UHAUL customers have no experience driving heavy trucks or pulling trailers.
However, the fact that UHAUL trucks are not considered commercial vehicles means they don’t have to meet the Department of Transportation’s safety requirements, as similar trucks do.
The Dangers of Sway
UHAUL trailers are subject to “trailer sway.” Trailer sway is a dangerous phenomenon that occurs when side forces on a trailer, such as wind, cause it to lose control and fishtail wildly from side to side. In the worst case scenario, trailer sway can lead to devastating accidents.
A 2007 investigative report by the Los Angeles Times, entitled “Driving with Rented Risks,” investigated the safety record of UHAUL. Their investigation found numerous UHAUL accidents that were caused by trailer sway, including the story of Marissa Sternberg, a young woman who was disabled for life after such an accident.*UHAUL SAFETY TIP – DRIVE A VEHICLE HEAVIER THAN THE TRAILER YOU’RE TOWING* Click To Tweet
One way to prevent sway is to ensure your own vehicle is heavier than the trailer being towed.
UHAUL also takes measures to ensure its drivers do not overload their trailers, but some allege that their standards do not go far enough, and their measuring methods are not always sufficient to determine vehicle weight.
UHAUL and Insurance Coverage
If you rent a UHAUL truck or trailer, and find yourself in a collision, your ordinary insurance policy may not cover any of the damages, because most auto insurance policies do not extent to rented trucks. UHAUL vehicles are typically not even covered by supplemental credit card insurance, or other types of insurance that cover rental cars. If you are towing a UHAUL trailer behind your vehicle, and you are involved in a collision, you may be covered for damages to your own vehicle by any collision insurance you have, although the collision insurance will not cover the UHAUL trailer.
Before renting a UHAUL, you should speak to your insurance provider to learn the specifics of your policy’s coverage.
Most likely, you will need to obtain supplemental liability insurance from Safemove insurance, which UHAUL offers. Safemove covers damage to the UHAUL truck itself, as well as the truck’s cargo and any medical injuries. Safemove Plus, a higher tier policy,covers liability to other vehicles up to $1 million. Safetow insurance applies to UHAUL trailers, and covers damage to the trailer, as well as property damage and medical injuries. In addition, UHAUL also offers Safestor insurance for its storage facilities.
If you are in a UHAUL accident, and you did not purchase coverage on the truck or trailer, you may be liable for all repair costs. If the truck has been totaled or severely damaged, these could range well into the tens of thousands of dollars. Purchasing additional insurance for your UHAUL is worth it, if only for the peace of mind. Moving is stressful – you don’t need more to worry about.