How to avoid rear-end collisions (and save money on tow truck insurance)

When you drive a tow truck, rear-ending the car in front of you can often be more than just a fender-bender. Tow trucks are heavy, bulky, vehicles so they tend to cause more damage than your average passenger car. And lately, the costs of litigation for rear-end collisions has skyrocketed.

But it’s not only litigation that can cost your business big time.

What about your tow truck insurance rates?

We’ll explain why rear-end collisions are such a problem, the effect they have on the cost of tow truck insurance, and how to avoid rear-end collisions.

Rear-end collisions: The facts

The February 2018 issue of Tow Times started out with an article by Tim Jackson entitled “Frequency and Litigation Costs of Rear-End Collisions.” Jackson states that this type of accident is one of the most common among tow trucks and cites several statistics from previous issues of Tow Times:

  • 400,000 motor vehicle crashes involving trucks happen each year
  • 18% of the 400,000 crashes are rear-end collisions
  • 40% of rear-end collisions happen at intersections when the lead car slows or stops

So. The numbers don’t lie – clearly rear-end collisions (most of which are considered to be preventable) are a prevalent issue.

Why are the costs of rear-end collisions so high?

There are a few reasons that rear-end accidents have such high costs.

Litigation: Tow truck versus passenger car… The tow truck will probably win. Wreckers and rollbacks are heavy vehicles capable of inflicting some serious damage. If you rear-end a car, it’s highly likely that the passengers will be injured, especially since most cars that get rear-ended are stopped or slowing down. Since bodily injury liability costs have gone up by quite a lot, litigation makes rear-end collisions very costly.

Damage to the other driver’s car: Well, you’re also responsible for the damage to the car you smashed. That all gets factored into your insurance claim, and these costs add up quickly.

Damage to your tow truck: You’re also likely facing some damage. Damage means repairs, and those aren’t cheap. (Plus, you’re also facing downtime for your truck.)

We can help you save on your tow truck insurance.

Rear-end collisions and the cost of tow truck insurance.

So. With the potentially very high costs associated with a tow truck accident and the ever-increasing costs of litigation, insurance companies have been getting out of the tow truck insurance game. The carriers who are left are increasing prices.

What does this mean?

It’s more important than ever to commit to safety and prevent accidents. The fewer claims you have the better your insurance situation. (Businesses with speeding tickets or accidents are seen as more of a risk to insure, meaning that they could face higher prices for their insurance.) As we mentioned before, rear-end accidents are considered to be (for the most part) preventable.

So…how do you prevent rear-end collisions?

Let’s find out.

How to prevent rear-end collisions.

1. Slow down.

There are many reasons why speeding is dangerous. If you’re speeding you don’t have as much time to respond to a slow down or stop in traffic and it takes longer to bring your truck to halt. It takes about three-quarters of a second for your foot to get the memo to step on the brake after your brain recognizes a hazard. At 45 miles per hour, you’d travel about 49.5 feet in that three-quarters of a second. At 55 miles per hour, you’d travel about 60.5 feet in that time. That eleven feet could make a difference – possibly preventing you from rear-ending the car in front of you.

2. Keep a safe following distance.

Maintaining a safe following distance is another way to prevent tow truck accidents. If you’re following too closely, you have far less time to react if the car in front of you slows down, and even when you do react you might not have enough time and space to stop.

3. Drive defensively.

Driving defensively means being alert or any hazards on the road by scanning ahead. Basically, the three steps are to recognize the danger, form a plan, and then act. You have to be ready to see a hazard and react safely and quickly.

4. Don’t drive distracted.

The list of reasons why you shouldn’t text and drive is a very long one. Texting takes your attention off the road and greatly increases your chances of being in an accident. Your reaction time is impaired when you’re fiddling with a phone.

So, that’s why rear-end collisions are such a big deal in the towing world. Avoiding them is one way that you can keep your tow truck insurance rates from going up. Some accidents are out of the control of the tow truck driver, but there are ways to prevent rear-end collisions.

We can help you save on your tow truck insurance.

Do you want to save money on your tow truck insurance? We would be happy to help with that. Our team of insurance agents would be happy to help you shop around to find the best coverage at the best rate. We know tow truck insurance, so we understand the risks you face and the coverage you need to protect you from them. All you have to get tow truck insurance quotes is fill out our form or give us a call.


Jackson, Tim. “Frequency and Litigation Costs of Rear-end Collisions.” Tow

Times, Feb. 2018, p. 6.

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