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Tips to keep your Towing Operators Safe on the Road

Friday, July 29, 2016

As we mentioned in our last article, Tow Truck Operators – Unforgotten First Responders, Tow Truck Operators are the first responders to most road side accidents and/or breakdowns – often they are the only responders.

Keeping your team safe on the road is important not only for your employees but also for your bottom line.  With the rise in Workers’ Compensation costs across the nation, reducing potential accidents is paramount to reducing costs.

We’ve compiled our list of Safety Best Practices for you.

First and Foremost Be Visible

We hope you’ve equipped your team with American National Standards Institute – or ANSI – approved reflective safety clothing.  We often see smaller operations that don’t monitor this as tightly as they should.  Middle of the night calls with an operator in dark clothing is just asking for trouble!  Also, ensure your vehicles have sufficient warning lights so oncoming cars have ample time to slow down and/or stop.

Let’s talk Roadside Service

Whether it’s a tire change or a jump start, servicing a vehicle on the side of a country road or a 5 lane highway is by far one of the most dangerous jobs for a Tow Truck Operator.  Seasoned operators know their primary job is making sure traffic can get around them safely!  Placing your truck in the correct spot is vital.  Make sure you park BEHIND the vehicle you are helping with a fair amount of room.  Here’s why:

  • If your truck is too close to the vehicle in front of you and another vehicle hits your truck from behind – you could easily get caught in the middle because you won’t have enough reaction time to move.
  • Tip:  Make sure your tires are turned in – towards the guard rail or side of the road. Again – in case you get hit, the truck will go off the road and NOT into the line of traffic.

The Art of Roadside Towing

Our safety team offers up a few easy tips so your drivers can be as safe as possible when arriving on the scene of a broken down vehicle that needs towing. 

  • Drive slowly when heading to the scene of your vehicle.  This is especially important on a large busy highway.  Your slower pace will often force others to slow down and take notice.  It also gives drivers time to get around you if need be.
  •  Use your hazard and/or emergency lights. Each state has different laws on this – so make sure you are compliant.
  • Stop, Look and Listen!  This may seem obvious but don’t forget to check your mirrors, look behind you and SLOWLY exit your vehicle – constantly checking your surroundings.  Never turn your back on the traffic and if at all possible head to the side of the road away from traffic when approaching the vehicle.  Getting hit by a car going 80 miles per hour will more than likely be lethal.
  • Do as much work as you can from the passenger side of the vehicle. Again – Stop, Look and Listen.  We realize it’s not always a perfect scenario.  If you can ONLY work on the traffic side – use flares, cones, or other “Caution” signals to let oncoming traffic know to slow down
  • Do you hear a rumble?  Most large highways have rumble strips to alert drivers when they’ve crossed into the breakdown lane.  If you hear a noise OR feel a vibration – Look and get out of the way.
  • Get back into traffic safely – as with any merging into traffic, make sure you get your speed up there before you head back onto the highway.  Again, if you don’t have the shoulder to accelerate slowly before merging – wait for a significant break in traffic before you join the mix.

We understand that accidents happen – after all accidents keep Tow Truck Operators in business!  With the right safety program and measures in place, you can keep your operators safe from harm and reduce your out of pocket expenses.

Towing is a dangerous industry – why not work with an insurance broker who understands your world?

Safe Driving!

© 2016 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.

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