Tackling the mission of moving from one home to another presents a few challenges. A big decision will be deciding if you want to hire a moving company, or handle the job yourself. Costs, your time and especially who's going to drive the truck, are questions you need to answer.

If it's your first time using moving truck rentals, driving one is as easy as your regular car. However, if you adhere to a few principles and take precautions, you can do it. Here are three tips on driving a moving truck that will make your move safer and more enjoyable.

  • Know Your Truck

On the actual day you pick up your truck rental, you'll inspect turn signals, headlights and gauges. However, absorbing some basic truck knowledge beforehand is also helpful. Visit the moving truck rental agency you plan to use.

Ask to look at a truck in the size range you need. Write down basic specs, like overall length, width and height. Use this information to take advantage of the hours of video presentations that are available on the Internet, offering tips and suggestions for driving moving trucks. You'll be a lot more confident when you climb behind the wheel when you have an idea of what to expect.

  • Practice Day

Climb in the driver's seat and check out the truck before you even put the key in the ignition. Gain a feel for the truck before you start to drive. If you feel less than confident with your ability, have an experienced person get you to your practice location. Once you've had some time to adjust to driving a moving truck, you'll get the swing of it, but you have to practice first.

Give yourself one full day before you load the truck to practice. Find a large parking lot, with ample open space. Bring along some cones or empty boxes, plus a spotter. Get familiar with using mirrors, learning what you're seeing and how close it is to your truck.

Practicing in an open parking lot will help you appreciate how wide you need to make turns. Even if you think you may never have to, get a feel for how to back the truck, just in case. You will be surprised how a little practice can improve your level of comfort driving a large moving truck. This is a critical recommendation if you're not familiar with driving larger vehicles.

  • Properly Pack Your Truck

The final step before you begin your journey to your new home will be to load the truck. This is extremely important because packing a moving truck incorrectly can cause problems on the road. Weight displacement is critical to controlling the truck on the open road.

If you have a compartment over the cab, do not use it for heavy boxes. Too much weight forward in the truck, especially overhead, will cause the truck to ride top-heavy. A top-heavy moving truck will sway and be prone to sway dangerously in the wind.

Start from the floor up with heavy boxes and big pieces of furniture. Your objective is to provide stability. Don't automatically cram all the heavy stuff forward to the front. Situate the heaviest items on the floor, centered a few feet ahead of the rear axle.

Keep the bulk of the weight slightly forward, by lightening the load as you reach the rear axle back to the door. Never pack heavy things towards the rear of your moving truck for unloading convenience. A backend-loaded truck will be very difficult to control on the road and can pose a dangerous situation around turns. Keep the weight slightly forward of the rear axle and on the floor.

Pack items in tightly. If you need to secure things, use rope or bungee cords to make sure nothing shifts. If things shift on the open road, it can be extremely dangerous, even if it doesn't break your stuff. A well packed moving truck will actually prove easier to handle with properly distributed weight balance.

Moving truck rental agencies have support staff trained to provide answers and suggestions to help you with your move. Excluding the cost difference between the two choices, renting your own truck gives you complete control over the move.

But, if you've never driven a rental moving truck, follow these suggestions to ensure you and your stuff arrive at your new home, safe and sound. When you're confident in your ability to drive the truck, you'll be able to enjoy the ride.