Seeing a tow truck when you’ve been in an accident or when you’re stranded on the side of the road can be a big relief. However, accidents involving tow trucks can be a serious problem. This is due to the overall weight of the vehicle. Not to mention most times they’re hauling another vehicle on top of it.
Since tow trucks are such large vehicles, they need more time to come to a stop or change their speed. Also, these vehicles require more space to maneuver and have bigger blind spots. All of these things make operating a tow truck much more difficult. As a result, this can increase the chances of a tow truck getting into an accident.
Therefore, it’s essential to understand the factors that contribute to tow truck accidents and how to prevent them. Let’s begin.
The Main Causes of Tow Truck Accidents and Tips for Avoiding Them
The following are the most common contributors in tow truck accidents and learning how to avoid them can keep you safe while on the job.
Driver fatigue is one of the biggest contributors to tow truck accidents. Oftentimes tow truck operators are working all hours of the day which can cause driver fatigue. Driver fatigue can occur due to excessive driving, not enough sleep, inconsistent sleep schedules, and more.
As a tow truck operator, you may have to report to the scene of an accident or a breakdown in the middle of the night or towards the end of your shift. At the end of a long day at work, you may find yourself exhausted or having a lack of energy. Tow operators who are suffering from driver fatigue are more likely to become distracted or disoriented. They may even have a slower response time when it comes to braking or coming to a stop.
This can be very hazardous since tow trucks are such robust vehicles that can cause a lot of damage.
How to Avoid
Tow truck drivers should ensure they get proper rest, maintain a healthy diet, stay hydrated, and take breaks. Also, having the radio or your favorite podcast on can help keep your mind alert. Since the schedule of a tow truck driver can be a bit unpredictable, anytime you have a pause in between jobs take a break and get your needed rest. Short naps can do wonders for keeping your mind sharp and alert during your shift.
Improperly Secured Cargo
There are many types of tow trucks out there that secure cargo differently. For example, some load the vehicle onto a flatbed while others place a hook under the vehicle’s bumper. The only problem with all these methods is there’s a lot of room for error. Such as, if a vehicle hasn’t been secured properly you risk damaging the tow truck, the towed vehicle, and the other cars around you. If a car were to fall off the bed or get unhooked it can cause a serious accident and put the lives around you in danger.
How to Avoid
You can avoid this issue by following proper procedures and staying vigilant during your tow. If you notice anything odd going on pull over as soon as possible and make sure the vehicle is secured.
You may be pressed for time and find it necessary to skip steps but it’s not worth it in the long run.
Mechanical Failure and Faulty Equipment
Like any commercial vehicle, you need to have regular inspections and maintenance done. Failure to do so can increase the risk of a costly or deadly accident. For example, brake failure can make you unable to stop in time causing a crash or your towing mechanism can break causing the towed vehicle to fall off the bed.
How to Avoid
Make sure you’re taking your tow truck to be serviced regularly. Also, before every job, survey your vehicle and towing equipment to make sure nothing’s damaged or missing.