Top 4 Risks Tow Drivers Face On the Job

by | Sep 29, 2016

From breakdowns to fender benders, all manner of car troubles prompt the need for a professional towing service. Many customers believe that once a tow truck comes to the rescue, everything else that comes after is easy. However, the easiest part is actually making the call to your local towing company. Risks associated with unpredictability actually increase after a tow truck arrives. Professional tow truck drivers put themselves in danger every day, and the following situations are thought to be the riskiest reasons why.

Interruptions and Distractions

When a car becomes disabled, whether due to an accident or a breakdown, it is almost always stressful. Understandably, drivers in this situation can become overwhelmed with concerns about their vehicle, the costs required to fix it, insurance claims, and anyone else involved. When a tow truck shows up, more often than not the main concern becomes protecting the car from any further damage. The driver in distress may think they are just being cautious—perhaps even helpful—but when these and other worries distract the tow truck operator, it actually hinders the towing process and makes the overall situation more difficult. Towing is a complex practice that requires a lot of concentration, so it’s imperative that the tow truck operator is allowed to work uninterrupted. This will ensure maximum efficiency, minimum risk, and the safety of themselves, the customer, the car being towed, and even the tow truck.

Navigation and Transport

Tow trucks are designed to be able to secure and transport vehicles. It takes a specialized skill set and a lot of experience to operate a tow truck, and just as much to drive one. Since different vehicles affect the weight of a tow truck in different ways, customized equilibrium and careful driving is necessary for any loaded tow truck, regardless of its type. In addition, since tow trucks are less maneuverable than most other vehicles, tow truck drivers handling heavy loads need to drive slower in order to make safer turns and prevent destabilization. Unfortunately, this necessary precaution—and the fact that there is a substantial difference between driving a loaded tow truck versus an unloaded one—is a major consideration that other drivers on the road might not be aware of. By allowing a tow truck the right of way and avoiding its blind spots, other drivers can help tow truck drivers reach their destination safely.

Unsafe Surroundings

Not every tow takes place in an enclosed parking lot. Roadside towing, especially in unfamiliar areas or in areas known for being unsafe, is exceptionally dangerous for tow truck drivers as any number of unforeseen factors can complicate the towing process. For instance, if a disabled car is stranded in the middle of nowhere or in a dimly lit area, the presence of unforeseen dangers like unevenly paved roads, ditches, and even animals can pose a threat to the tow truck operator. Gaining an awareness of the surrounding area during the towing process is important. The best way to go about the towing process in an unfamiliar or unsafe area is to utilize your roadside emergency kit and remain calm, cautious, and alert.

Oncoming Traffic

Towing is one of the most dangerous professions in America today, and operating near oncoming traffic is perhaps the most life-threatening part of the business. It becomes difficult for tow truck drivers to do their job well if they have to divide their attention between their work and the cars zooming by. The safety of any tow truck driver lies with the precautions they take and the attention of the other drivers. However, the worst possible outcome is always the same: that a passing car hits the tow truck driver at work. Unfortunately, this happens far too often. In fact, recent studies have shown that the occupational injuries and deaths among tow truck drivers (and other emergency first responders) account for up to 80 incidents every year. It really only takes a split second of inattentiveness behind the wheel to jeopardize someone’s safety. This is why the enforcement of safety precautions like Florida’s Move Over Law is so important. By slowing down and changing lanes to provide space, drivers passing a stopped tow truck are protecting its driver.

 

It has always been a significant part of any tow truck drivers’ job to expect and prepare for the unpredictable, but if their working conditions do not improve and become safer, they will continue to be put at significant risk when helping incapacitated vehicles. By taking these and other factors into consideration, drivers being assisted and other drivers on the road can assist tow truck operators in safely doing their job. At Duvall’s Towing, we want both our operators and our customers to stay safe, and so we divulge this information in the hopes that it will raise awareness and positively impact the national statistics. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident or breakdown, please call us at 561-432-8488 and we will send someone to assist you right away, whatever the risks.

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