Towing is serious business as it usually involves taking an incapacitated car out of the road to no longer cause more trouble in the traffic. With such a big responsibility, roadside services and tow truck operators can only proceed with the safest equipment and practices. The terrain and the turns on the roads vary. So ensuring the towing vehicle has every accessory working to support the other vehicle would also be best. Before towing, here are non-negotiable things that need to be done and known by the driver.
The Towing Vehicle
Drivers of tow trucks or even campervans find that having the most reliable hitch set is key to a safe drive. Especially if the load is heavy and has to be towed either on a challenging slope or across bumpy terrain, a hitch that would not budge is essential.
However, it can take several trials and errors, at least in the case of private utility tow vehicles, to land on one that is easy to install. It should suit their vehicle and have chains that link well and a ball that grips and pivots the load to match it. As for the trucks of local roadside service companies, their connecting mechanisms are built for the heavy haul to comply with quality standards.
Just as for any other land vehicle, lights that keep tow vehicles visible on the road are not only mandated but are also crucial to prevent running into smaller vehicles. Before any drive, the driver should check whether the truck’s head, tail, daytime running, signal, hazard, and brake lights are working. For the driver’s sake, they should also check the lamps inside in case of a night drive, and they have to verify the directions on the GPS.
Today, with vehicular accidents becoming a daily occurrence, especially in the evening, installing a tow truck light bar is also a normal practice. Primarily, it supplements the light that the towing vehicle already has, making the road more visible and easier to switch lanes. Moreover, it also serves as an emergency lighting signaling its journey cannot be delayed.
Every towing vehicle has a recommended maximum weight it can carry. So it is important to heed it and make sure that the weight of the load is fairly balanced. Overloading does not only run the risk of the hitches breaking loose while the truck is in transit. It can also lead to premature damage on the major parts of the truck, such as its brakes and suspension. Driving beyond the truck’s capacity while oblivious of underinflated tires is risky, as the tires can overheat and blow out.
The Towing Process
Braking to a Stop
As a rule of thumb, slowing down and stepping on the brakes earlier are needed when the tow truck carries a load. That way, it can keep a safe three-second distance with the vehicle in front. Depending on the environmental conditions, say you are driving on a rainy or foggy day, you may need to extend the following distance.
A driver can only ever be qualified to maneuver a towing vehicle if they have undergone training for it, besides learning the proper towing process. Aside from that, they should only be allowed to be deployed after being well-rested. An inadequately trained and tired driver may fail to comply with traffic regulations. They might succumb to unruly behavior, such as using their mobile phones while on the wheel, and is less likely to respond with earnestness and speed to any arising hazards on the road.
Dealing with Blind Spots
Larger vehicles like ones for towing tend to have more blind spots. With this, drivers are called to exercise more caution by constantly checking their side-view mirrors for passing smaller vehicles. Similarly, passing should be done with the utmost care. They must make sure brakes and turns aren’t done abruptly and wait for the tow to align with the vehicle after such movement. Nevertheless, having properly trained drivers will keep the chances of any road mishap from happening to a minimum.
Road safety is not one man’s job; it is the responsibility of a community. Tow truck operators should be as careful as other vehicle owners, not only of their designated drivers but also of their towing equipment. As such, it is important to be adept at road etiquette and local traffic laws to avoid the possibility of collisions. One can avoid significant problems if one can focus on safety on the road.