Being a tow truck driver comes with its dangers and risks, as the operators are exposed to a variety of hazards while performing their job duties. Listed below are some safety tips and precautions all tow truck drivers can take to avoid accidents and injuries while on the job.
- Be Ready: Before you head out on the road to rescue a stranded vehicle or perform a repossession, make sure you and your truck are ready to go. Tow truck driver safety starts by regularly inspecting your vehicle and equipment from the tire pressure and fluid levels to cables, connectors, splices and winches. Make a checklist to ensure you have all of the tools and backup parts and supplies you’ll need to respond to every conceivable situation.
- Drive Defensively: Getting from point A to point B is fraught with potential dangers for tow truck drivers. Always stay within the speed limit and maintain safe distances from other vehicles on the road to minimize the chance of an accident. When towing a vehicle, especially in adverse weather conditions, slow down even more and extend the following distance to a full length from the car in front of you.
- Take Control: From the moment you arrive at your destination, the better you control the scene, the safer everyone will be. Turn on safety lights, mark the area with cones, flares and markers, and move people out of harm’s way. Before you start to load any vehicle onto your truck, make sure you visually confirm objects and onlookers are clear of your equipment.
- Be Seen: Increasing visibility is one tow truck safety tip that can’t be overstated. Make sure everyone is aware of your presence by wearing bright-colored clothing and using flashing lights and reflectors on your truck. If you’re working on a federal highway, wearing an approved fluorescent vest is mandated.
- Protect Your Person: Using personal protective equipment is also required for many tow truck drivers and emergency personnel working on federal roads. Wearing long pants and closed-toe shoes, and using work gloves and safety glasses, will go a long way to protect your body. Take extra precaution responding to an accident where broken glass and the presence of dangerous chemicals and materials are possible.
- Don’t Overdo It: Capacity cargo weight limits exist to make it clear how much your system can safely tow. Know what your truck is capable of and make an honest assessment of whether or not the job is right for you and your vehicle. Never tow a vehicle that’s beyond your capacity is one of the most crucial safety tips for tow truck drivers.