Tow Truck Safety 101
Tips for new drivers
You help keep people safe when they’re driving by towing away broken-down vehicles. By following these tips, you can be confident that you’ll be safe too.
Keep your truck maintained.
Schedule regular professional truck inspections, and repair or replace parts when necessary (not when you have time to get around to it). Invest in keeping your truck going—and going safely.
Be familiar with your truck and its capacity.
Before you use your truck, inspect it. Make sure the truck is free of broken bolts, cracked seams and stress fractures, and check the chains to make sure they’re free of cracks and rust. Also, be familiar with your tow capacity, and make sure to stick to it. Staying within your truck’s limits will help you keep control.
Know how to safely hook up a vehicle.
When hooking up a vehicle, block its wheels before disengaging the driveshaft or the brakes.
If you have a remote control for the lift, boom or winch, lock and secure it inside your truck until you’re ready to use it so you don’t accidentally activate it if it’s in your pocket or on the ground. And once you lift the vehicle, never work underneath it.
Keep a safe distance.
Remember that you’re carrying extra weight when towing a vehicle, so drive defensively. Stick to the speed limit, and try to keep a two- to three-second distance between your truck and the car in front of you. This will give you enough room to come to a complete stop in case they slam on the brakes.
Be ready for the unexpected.
You’ll need a safety net of your own while you are busy being everyone else’s. Make sure your truck—and your business—is covered with commercial auto insurance.
Every tow business owner should have liability and physical damage insurance, which covers damages you could cause to your truck—or someone else’s vehicle—in case of an accident.
Also, consider insurance that protects your customers’ vehicles as well as your own. With additional coverages, you can be confident that you won’t be responsible for damages that could happen to a car you have on-hook or in storage at your shop.