Six tips to help tow truck drivers stay safe on unfamiliar roadways

Towing is always an adventure. There are always new challenges and hurdles to overcome. Now, your mind might immediately go to the direct challenges of the towing job – namely, attaching the damaged car to the wrecker. But there’s an obstacle that comes up even before you arrive on the scene. And that’s finding where to go in the first place. As a tow truck driver, you’re often required to go to places and drive on roads that you’ve never seen before. Driving on unfamiliar roadways presents risks because part of your mind is set on trying to get your bearings and not get lost. We’ve got some tips to help you handle driving in areas and on roads that you don’t know.

1. Check the route before rolling out onto the roads.

One defense against unfamiliar roads is to map it out before you fire up your tow truck. Even if you have a GPS unit, you should check your route and familiarize yourself with the turns and distances you’ll be traveling. This will help you be prepared for each step of your journey and more comfortable with the roads, and it will help you avoid accidents (and, as a result, save money on your tow truck insurance rates.)

2. If you get lost, pull over.

If you find that you have no idea where you are and need to check your directions, pull over safely to do so. Don’t try to navigate and drive at the same time – if you need to consult your map or fiddle with your GPS, pull over in a safe place so that you can focus on what you’re going. Multitasking while driving a wrecker or rollback is a bad idea.

3. Don’t make sudden lane changes or turns if you miss something.

If you happen to miss a turn or exit, don’t try to quickly change your direction to fix the mistake. Keep going and find a safe way to get back on track or turn around. By making a hasty lane chance at the last second, you could be putting yourself and other drivers in danger, not to mention breaking the law if you change lanes illegally.

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4. Don’t forget your turn signals.

Turn signals aren’t there just to be pretty. They help other drivers know what you’re planning to do. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the road, don’t forget good driving habits – shoulder checks, scanning, signaling, and changing lanes or turning safely.

5. Don’t risk the dangers of speeding.

If you don’t know the roads that you’re driving on, pay attention to the speed limits. What if there’s a curve and the speed is reduced? What if you’re entering a school zone or work zone? You don’t want to be caught going over the speed limit because you didn’t know what the speed limit was, not to mention that speeding is dangerous.

6. Be alert for any road signs.

Make sure that you’re paying attention to any signs that tell you about road conditions. Be prepared to make appropriate adjustments to your driving. For example, if there’s a sign telling you that your lane is going to end, you’ll be able to immediately prepare for a safe lane change. Or what if there’s a stop sign up ahead? That’s handy to know in advance so you don’t have to slam on your brakes. And what about merges? It’d be helpful to have a head’s up that cars are going to be joining your lane, right? That means you can concentrate on driving defensively and stay alert for what the drivers next to you are doing so you don’t get caught off-guard.

When you’re familiar with the roads, you know about upcoming changes ahead of time because you’ve driven there a billion times. But with roads you don’t know, you need to info that those signs give you.

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As a tow truck driver, there’s a lot of pressure to get the job done quickly so that you can move on to the next. But if there’s a job that takes you to roads less traveled, you’ll need to take extra care. Don’t rush, be attentive, and check your route ahead of time. Arriving at the job safely is more important than beating the clock.

Do you want to save some money on your tow truck insurance rates? Well, we’d love to help you out with that. Our wrecker insurance professionals can help you identify your risks and create a tow truck insurance plan to protect you from them. To get started on your three free tow truck insurance quotes, just fill out our quote form or call us today.

Photo credit to:

Kipp Felice

Director of Business Solutions

Miller Industries, Chattanooga, TN

 Source: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/driver-safety/cmv-driving-tips-unfamiliar-roadway 

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