If you drive a tow truck, there are a lot of challenges that come along with the job. Driving a commercial vehicle that’s bulky and large isn’t like driving a regular car. It’s important to be aware of these things and to be prepared for them. Tow trucks aren’t necessarily the easiest of vehicles to handle. Here are a few of the challenges or risks of operating a truck and some tips.
Safety risks a tow truck faces.
1. Blind spots.
For starters, big trucks can come with big blind spots. They often have spots on all sides that are impossible for the driver to see. That’s why it’s really important to watch for cars that are trying to pass you – they might not realize they’re zipping through a blind spot. Also, be especially cautious when you’re turning, passing, and changing lanes. Be aware of your blind spots and be careful and mindful of other cars on the road. (You need to look out for pedestrians and cyclists and such.)
2. Long stopping distances.
Tow trucks and other large vehicles take a long time to come to a stop. That can increase with certain conditions – for example, if the truck is hauling something heavy or if the roads are icy, snowy, or slick from the rain. If you’re behind the wheel of a tow truck, you need to make sure to leave plenty of space between you and the car you’re following. That way you’ve got plenty of breathing space in case you need to stop. (And if someone does cut in front of you, you’ll be able to slow down and stay safe, avoiding a panicky moment.) According to the FMCSA, a fully loaded semi-truck can take 2 football fields to stop. Okay, a tow truck isn’t exactly a semi, but you get the point.
Trucks also need to make wide turns – they don’t have the turn radius that smaller vehicles do. If you’re ever in tight quarters, like a parking lot of a gas station, you need to be extremely cautious and aware of your turning radius. Take your time and be on the lookout for obstacles. Big trucks often have trouble with making right turns, as those tend to be very tight. They might even have to swing out to the left in order to make it. The point is that right turns can be difficult.
4. Size differences.
It’s also important to note that trucks are, obviously, a lot bigger than passenger vehicles. The sheer size and mass of a truck heightens the risk. For instance, if one car rear ends another, it might not be too serious. But if a tow truck is involved in such an incident, the damage could be far worse. Crash damage, injury, fatality – the risk of all these things goes up when a tow truck gets thrown into the mix. With trucks, acceleration, braking, and handling is more difficult. They tend to pick up speed more slowly when going uphill and gain more speed when going downhill. (Also, taller vehicles with their higher centers of gravity can have a higher risk of rolling over. They have to go more slowly around curves.)
5. Work zones.
Work zones can also present a challenge for tow trucks. If possible, check your route and try to avoid work zones. If a work zone is inevitable, be sure to pay close attention. Slow it down and keep plenty of following distance. Watch your blind spots. Try to stick to the open lanes.
Driving a tow truck is a lot of responsibility. It’s important to be aware of the risks presented by driving a big vehicle and to be prepared. There is a big difference between driving a tow truck and a normal car.
Get tow truck insurance quotes.
It’s also crucial to make sure that you have the right tow truck insurance to protect your towing business from the risks you face. Our team can help. We like to make tow truck insurance easy and we like to help people save money on the insurance they need. You can get in touch with our team of towing insurance professionals by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat. We’d be happy to assist with getting you multiple quotes for your insurance.