September 29, 2023 | Allison Robertson

Roadside Realities: What Tow Truck Drivers Wish You Knew

Roadside Realities: What Tow Truck Drivers Wish You Knew

tow truck driver and vehicle on truck split image Navigating the circumstances that necessitate a tow truck can be stressful. Whether it's due to a mechanical failure, an accident, or some other misfortune, requiring a tow means your day has taken an unplanned detour.

However, understanding the perspectives of tow truck drivers can significantly smooth out this often tense process. There are crucial things tow truck drivers wish their customers knew, focusing on safety, cooperation, and mutual respect, and we intend to help spread the message.

Safety First: Statistics Paint a Grim Picture

tow truck carrying vehicleKA, Adobe Stock

Safety is paramount in tow-related interactions. Every year, a significant number of tow truck operators are injured or killed on the job, emphasizing the need for customers to adhere to safety guidelines and be aware of the risks involved.

According to the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum, approximately 60 tow truck drivers lose their lives in the line of duty each year. The majority of these tragedies occur due to passing traffic hitting both operators and stranded motorists during roadside assistance.

Given the sobering reality of the risks involved, it’s crucial for customers to avoid any actions that could further jeopardize safety.

This leads us to explore the most common mistakes customers tend to make when calling for a tow, mistakes that can not only hinder the towing process but can also escalate the already prevalent risks for both tow truck drivers and the customers involved.

Mistake: Standing Too Close

couple needing a tow truckNejron Photo, Adobe Stock

Tow truck drivers want customers to understand the importance of maintaining a safe distance from the towing operations. It allows them to work efficiently and prevents any accidental injuries. 

Every year, numerous tow truck drivers face injuries due to the proximity of customers or passing vehicles; maintaining distance can mitigate these risks.

Mistake: Getting Out of Your Vehicle When Unsafe to Do So

Man on phone with broken down carSvitlana, Adobe Stock

If you’re waiting on the side of a busy road or highway, it’s often safest to remain inside your vehicle with your seatbelt fastened until the tow truck arrives.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in a recent year, 231 people lost their lives in accidents related to vehicles stopped on the roadside.


Mistake: Trying to Assist with Hook-up

Tow truck driver hooking up vehiclehedgehog94, Adobe Stock

While your intentions might be good, tow truck drivers prefer you do not attempt to assist with connecting your vehicle to the tow truck. The hook-up process requires specific knowledge and experience, and improper handling can lead to accidents or damage to the vehicle.

Mistake: Keeping Quiet About Damage or Tricky Characteristics

A Car is Towed Away by a Tow Truck.Wileydoc , Shutterstock

If your vehicle has unique characteristics or damage, it’s crucial to inform the tow truck driver beforehand. It helps in making the towing process smoother and avoids any further damage to your vehicle.

Mistake: Not Having Essential Information Ready

Tow truck driver with customer and paperworkauremar, Adobe Stock

Having information about your vehicle's make, model, condition, and your location on hand when you call can expedite the service. Precise details enable the tow truck driver to arrive with the right equipment and information.

In addition, most towing services require payment or confirmation of insurance details upon arrival. Having this ready can make the process more efficient and less stressful for both parties.

Mistake: Confrontation with Other Drivers

Two men arguing beside carsAlexandr, Adobe Stock

In cases of accidents, tow truck drivers urge customers to avoid engaging in confrontations with other involved parties. It's essential for safety and can prevent the escalation of the situation. Let the relevant authorities handle disputes.

Mistake: Being Impatient

Impatient man waiting on tow truck servicesAntonioDiaz, Adobe Stock

Tow truck drivers often work in high-pressure environments and face various challenges daily. They appreciate your patience and understanding, as sometimes, unforeseen circumstances can delay their arrival.

Final Thoughts

Angriest ever factsShutterstock

Understanding and respecting the roles and safety concerns of tow truck drivers can significantly reduce risks and streamline the towing process for everyone involved.

By maintaining clear communication, staying informed, and practicing patience and cooperation, customers can contribute to a safer and more efficient environment for tow truck operators and themselves.