It’s that time of year again – time for numb fingers, red cheeks, runny noses, and temperatures so cold you can see your breath in the air. Winter may not be your favorite season, considering the amount of time you and your drivers spend working on the side of the road in the cold. But there are a few things you can do to prepare your tow truck business for the frigid winter weather. Remember, safety has to come first.
How to get your tow truck business ready for winter and winter weather.
1. Check over your tow trucks.
The tow truck is kind of an essential part of a tow truck business, right? No truck, no jobs. No jobs, no money. With the colder weather that winter brings, it’s important to make sure that all of your wreckers or rollbacks are ready to handle the winter weather.
- Check that the batteries will make it through the winter.
- Check the tread depth on your tires and make sure they’re not bald. Replace tires if needed.
- Check over the winch line.
- Check that you have plenty of windshield washer fluid.
- Check over your snow chains and make sure they’re safe. (Make sure there are no damaged links and that the chains fit properly.) Get snow chains if you don’t have them.
- Check the hydraulic system of your tow trucks for any leaks or damage. If necessary, consider switching to a cold weather hydraulic fluid (just make sure it’s recommended by the manufacturer.)
- Check the anti-freeze in your truck.
It might not be a bad idea just to schedule some preventive maintenance for your trucks. That way you can have your mechanic give them a once-over to make sure they’re ready to tackle what winter might throw at them.
2. Make sure everyone is checking their trucks before they head out.
It’s really important to have a pre-trip vehicle inspection procedure for your business. Get your drivers in the habit of not only doing their inspection but making sure their truck is stocked with the cold-weather supplies they might need. (For example, a flashlight, jumper cables, road salt, a snow shovel for those tricky recoveries, diesel additive, and maybe even a tool to de-ice locks.)
3. Train your drivers.
Towing in winter weather is a whole different beast than towing in fair weather. Make sure that your drivers know the challenges they might face when they’re out on jobs in snow or cold. Go over tips for driving a tow truck in winter, and give your drivers the knowledge they need to stay safe. Don’t just assume that everyone’s comfortable driving and/or working in winter weather – take the time to get everyone ready for what they might face.
4. Dress appropriately.
It’s also important to make sure that your drivers have the clothing they’ll need to contend with the winter weather. Does everyone have high-visibility clothing? It gets dark really early in the winter, which makes visibility a crucial safety concern. Everyone should be clad in jackets that are at least ANSI III so that drivers will be able to see them in the less-than-ideal conditions.
Also, make sure everyone’s wearing warm (and waterproof) gloves, warm boots, a warm hat…basically, encourage everyone to be warm. There’s no point in anyone being miserable because they have semi-frozen toes or fingers. With the right clothing and many, many layers, your drivers will be able to stay toasty in the cold.
5. Stock every tow truck with a first-aid kit.
It’s also a good idea to stock every truck with a first-aid kit that has basic medical supplies. If you already have first-aid kits in the trucks, update them by replenishing the supplies that have been used and looking at the expiration dates on the supplies inside. Replace what needs to be replaced. You never know when a first-aid kit will come in handy, so it’s best to be prepared. You can even consider throwing in some winter-related emergency things.
6. Be prepared for a little bit of chaos.
You have to be prepared for the craziness that might come along with storms and other winter weather problems that might make things a lot busier for your business. Talk to your drivers and figure out how you all want to handle staffing if a storm hits so that you don’t wind up understaffed – or with exhausted drivers who have worked too much and who are desperately in need of some hot chocolate and rest.
7. Check your insurance policies.
Okay, okay. We don’t want to be too pessimistic or anything. But winter is a hazardous time. It’s important to make sure you know exactly how your insurance will protect your business if something happens, like an accident or a storm that damages your tow trucks. Check over your policies (auto liability, physical damage, on-hook/in-tow, and so on) to make sure that you know what losses are covered and what your deductibles and limits of coverage are. Do you have the tow truck insurance you need to protect your business?
Winter isn’t exactly the best time of the year for towing. It’s cold. It’s snowy. It’s slippery. But with a little preparation, you can get your business ready to weather the coldest season of the year. Make sure your trucks and your drivers are equipped to get through the rough weather.
If you need tow truck insurance, we can help. Our agents would be happy to go over what coverages are right for your business and get you multiple quotes so you can compare coverages and rates. Get started with your quotes by filling out our online form or giving us a call today.