Driving a moving van up a steep gravel road

#1

I need tips on how to get a 10 foot U-haul moving van up a very steep gravel s-shaped driveway. I know it is possible to get one up there, because when I first moved in my boyfriend (now ex) drove the U-haul up the driveway. Of course, it was full then, and this time it will be empty and I am afraid of losing traction as I go up. The driveway is quite steep, turns 90 degrees to the left and then another 90 degree turn to the right. It is the turns I am concerned about. As the truck will most likely be rear wheel drive, I am nervous about it. Should I “gun it” and try to go up as fast as possible (which is what my ex did when we moved in) and risk skidding on the gravel around the turns or should I go slowly and risk not having the momentum to get up the very steep grade (if I get stuck it will be VERY difficult to back down the driveway again with no clear rear view).

#2

You have to play it by ear, but I would say low gear, medium speed. You don’t want to go too slow but not too fast either. Maybe 10-15 MPH. Once the wheels start to spin it doesn’t do much good to spin them faster and make it worse. The idea is to not spin the wheels but to maintain traction.

#3

Drive the van up the driveway at NORMAL speed. Don’t “gun it.”

I’m assuming you drive some sort of vehicle up and down this driveway every day, or nearly every day, and that you don’t need a Jeep or a Hummer to make it.

You’re probably worrying about nothing.

The truck will DEFINITELY be rear wheel drive, but going up the driveway most of the weight will be on the rear axle for better traction. A 10-foot van is not really that big. If you were trying to get a tractor-trailer up the drive I might be concerned.

#4

I drive a Subaru up it, which is all wheel drive. The Outback is the vehicle of choice here in the NC mountains. Many have gotten stuck trying to drive non 4-wheel/awd vehicles up it - thus my concern. Even with my subaru, I have to keep the speed around 20 or it will lose momentum and not have the power to get all the way up the driveway (it is quite steep, and the subaru does not have very powerful 1st gear). When I have visitors, they park at the bottom of the driveway, and I go and pick them up with the Subaru. So, no I am not worrying about nothing.

#5

Go really slow in a low gear. The weight of the truck will likely be enough to get it up. If not load it with something to get it up at least.

#6

You might try calling around-- it may be if you’re lucky you might be able to find a van with traction control, which would make this much easier. U-haul usually has older cheaper equipment, so maybe try some of their rivals too.

#7

I recommend you get a experienced driver for this task, don’t take offense, but it sounds like the road is really bad,possibly dangerous and you are not confident, a bad mix.

If you can’t get a driver try and have some spotters to guide you, don’t go at this alone, fix up any bad places in the road if possible.

If you can’t get a driver or spotter you are going to have to find a middle ground, you want some momentum but you want to maintain control

#8

I, too, own a Subaru. Maybe you should park the truck at the bottom of the hill and carry your stuff down to the truck in your Subaru. If the hill is that steep, and the driveway is gravel, or stone, the empty truck may not make it up the hill no matter how you try it.

#9

Once the truck loses traction, you’re done, go back down. If you stop, you’re probably done, go back down. Are there flatter/easier parts, or is it one steep grade all the way up? If there are flat spots, plan ahead to work from spot to spot so you have places to stop or get back on track without getting stuck. Is it a shear drop off the drive, or just un-paved (gravelled) hillside?

#10

Reloading your stuff to from a second vehicle sounds like a nightmare if this is a significant move. If an experienced driver really can’t get it up there, try to find someone with a 4 x 4 and a chain who will know how to tow it up. If it is that steep, I would consider putting the 4 x 4 behind it with the chain on the hitch on the way down.