Though no one wants to imagine that they will ever be involved in an accident, someday one of your drivers may be in a wreck while driving a tow truck on the job. There’s a reason they’re called accidents – they can happen to anyone, no matter how experienced a truck driver they are. But the actions of a driver immediately following a crash can make a difference if it comes down to a lawsuit. That’s why it’s so important to train your drivers for what to do if they’re in a crash. The driver’s the one who’s on the scene, so they need to be prepared.
Here are eight things tow truck drivers need to do if they’re involved in an accident.
1. Try to stay calm.
Being in a car crash is a highly stressful thing. Do your best to remain calm and professional so that you can appropriately handle the situation. Of course, you might be understandably shaken and scared. But try not to panic and instead focus on going through the things you have to do.
Don’t leave the scene of the crash. Don’t panic and hightail it away from the accident. Stay put where you are until a police officer instructs you to move or unless a roadway sign indicates that you should do so.
3. Don’t admit fault.
This seems really harsh, especially if you feel responsible for the wreck. But even apologizing to the other driver can be taken as admitting fault in court. Yes, saying “I’m sorry” may feel like a knee-jerk reaction, but try to avoid saying anything that could be taken as you admitting fault.
Also, don’t discuss the accident with anyone other than the police and the appropriate people from your company. This is really important.
4. Secure the scene.
It’s essential that you secure the scene quickly. Otherwise, it’s a possible liability risk.
Turn on the hazard lights to warn oncoming cars of the danger. Place reflectors on the road to get drivers to slow down and pay attention. The first reflector should be placed ten feet behind the truck. The second should be placed 100 feet behind the tow truck. If you’re on a road that is not a divided highway, place the third 100 feet in front of the scene. If you are on a divided highway, place the third an additional 100 feet behind the second.
Unfortunately, it’s all too common for initial accidents to lead to secondary wrecks, which is why it’s so important for the scene to be secure. Oncoming drivers need to be warned so they can have enough time to move over and slow down.
5. Call for help.
This probably means calling 911 from a cell phone and notifying police of the accident. Be sure to tell them of any injuries or hazards on the scene.
Only provide first aid if you’re properly trained to do so. Don’t move anyone who’s injured unless they’re in immediate danger –moving them could worsen their injuries or aggravate injuries you can’t see. Wait for emergency personnel to arrive on the scene. If it seems like someone’s in shock, offer a blanket and try to keep them warm and calm.
6. Notify your company.
Of course, your company has to know about the crash. (It’s important that the dispatcher, or whoever would take this sort of call from a driver, is trained to handle this situation. Any message or notes they take can be used in court, so they need to be prepared.)
7. Document everything.
Try to get all the information you need and record important details.
You’ll need to record the information of everyone involved in the accident, including passengers. That means getting their names, addresses, insurance information, phone numbers, and license plate numbers.
You should also get the information of any witnesses. Ask for their names, addresses, phone numbers, and license plate numbers. Don’t be too pushy or intimidating about it, though, if they seem hesitant. And don’t say or do anything that could come across as you attempting to influence or sway their account of what happened.
8. Take lots of photos if it’s safe to do so.
Photos can be a huge help when it comes to insurance claims and potential lawsuits. If it’s safe to do so, take pictures from multiple sides and angles. Be sure to get shots of all the vehicles involved even if it was a minor situation and there’s not much (or any) damage. Try to get a shot of the entire accident scene, too, if you can so that you have a broader view of what happened.
While no one wants to consider the possibility that they could be in a car accident, it’s important that tow truck drivers know what to do if they’re in an accident while on the job. Being prepared and having a checklist to go through will help reduce stress if an accident happens. It’s also important to commit to safety at your towing business and encourage defensive driving to help prevent accidents from happening.
Are you looking to get a quote for tow truck insurance? We would be happy to help you with that. Our team of tow truck insurance experts can help you find the best coverage at the best rate so you can save money on your insurance. To get started with your quotes, all you have to do is give us a call or fill out our online quote form.