If you’re a tow truck driver in any part of the country, you’re providing a valuable service that helps improve the state of your area — and doing so safely and without risk of hazard is the top priority at all times. There are several tools at your disposal when it comes to staying safe on the road as a tow truck driver, and it pays to be aware of all of them.
At LED Equipped, we’re happy to assist in one major area here: Quality tow truck LED lights, which allow you to make your presence known on the roadways day or night, in any weather conditions. But we want to do our part in helping you stay safe in all aspects of your job — so in today’s blog, we’ll run the gamut of various tow truck safety themes, from the proper use of our lights to several other important areas.
Naturally, given our business, we’ll start with one of the single most vital tools at your disposal: Proper tow truck LED lighting. These lights not only make it easier for other motorists to see you, but also allow you to see further down the road in front of you — giving you more time to react to potential hazards.
In addition, proper tow truck LED lighting can help you avoid being pulled over; in many states, it is illegal to drive without your tow truck lights activated, so make sure you’re in compliance at all times. (Check your local laws to be sure.)
Of course, having quality LED lighting isn’t enough — you also need to know how and when to use them. In general, your tow truck lights should be on whenever you’re on the road, even during daytime hours; this will help ensure that other motorists are able to spot you from as far away as possible. And in addition to your tow truck’s main LED light bar, you should also make use of your truck’s side marker lights, brake lights, and turn signals whenever appropriate.
Only Using Approved Lighting
Down related lines, it’s important for us to mention that as a tow truck driver, there are significant limitations on the types of lighting you’re allowed to use. In short, anything beyond your truck’s standard LED light bar, side marker lights, brake lights, and turn signals is likely to be illegal in your state.
Most importantly, tow trucks should never have lights that are too similar to those of police, firefighters, or ambulance drivers; this can create a confusing and potentially dangerous situation for other motorists, who may mistake your truck for an emergency vehicle. If you’re not sure which lights are allowed in your state, be sure to check with your local authorities before making any changes to your tow truck’s lighting setup.
Stay Alert and Rested
Of course, no matter how well-lit your tow truck is, it won’t do any good if you’re not paying attention to the road. So one of the most important things you can do to stay safe on the job is to make sure you’re always alert and rested before getting behind the wheel.
This means avoiding distractions like cell phones, food, and GPS devices — all of which can take your attention away from the task at hand. It also means making sure you get plenty of rest; drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving, so if you’re feeling tired, pull over and take a break.
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it bears repeating: Always wear your seatbelt while driving, and make sure your passengers do the same. Seatbelts are one of the simplest and most effective ways to stay safe on the road, so there’s no excuse not to use them.
Even among tow truck drivers, who are often moving at low or moderate speeds during their operational needs, not wearing a seatbelt remains one of the leading causes of death and serious injury. So please, buckle up — it could save your life.
Towing Safety Areas
Several of the most important safety themes for tow truck drivers surround actual instances of attaching a vehicle or towing it to some location. Here are some general safety tips in this area:
- Use lights to warn other drivers: While you’re pulled over on the side of the road and setting up your tow truck, be sure to put your truck’s warning lights on — this will help alert other drivers to your presence and give them time to slow down or change lanes. This is especially important during the actual process of attaching a vehicle to your tow truck; if other drivers aren’t aware of what you’re doing, they could easily collide with your truck.
- Inspect your equipment: Before attaching a vehicle to your tow truck, it’s important to inspect both your truck and your equipment to make sure everything is in good working order. This includes checking the condition of your chains, straps, and winches, as well as making sure your truck’s brakes are in good condition.
- Signal when changing lanes: Whenever you need to change lanes while towing a vehicle, be sure to use your turn signal; this will help other drivers know what you’re doing and give them time to adjust accordingly.
- Never drive too fast: Even if you’re in a hurry to get to your destination, it’s never worth risking an accident by driving too fast. When towing a vehicle, always follow the posted speed limit and take things slowly and carefully — this will help ensure both your safety and the safety of those around you.
Cargo and Weight Limitations
As a tow truck driver, it’s vital to be aware of your vehicle’s precise cargo and weight limitations. This information can be found in your truck’s owner’s manual, and it’s important to familiarize yourself with it before heading out on the job.
Overloading your tow truck can have serious consequences; not only will it make your truck harder to control, but it could also lead to an accident if the extra weight causes your truck to tip over.
In addition, it’s important to be aware of the weight and size of the vehicles you’ll be towing; if a vehicle is too large or too heavy for your truck, you could end up in an accident. Be sure to always check the specifications of both your truck and the vehicle you’re towing before getting started.
Proper Insurance Coverage
While it’s technically only a tangential topic in the realm of tow truck safety, having proper insurance coverage is an important part of being a tow truck driver. If you’re involved in an accident, the right insurance can help cover the cost of any damage or injuries that occur.
At a minimum, most states require tow truck drivers to have liability insurance; this type of coverage can help pay for damages caused by your truck to other vehicles or property. However, it’s worth considering additional coverage options, such as collision insurance, which can help pay for damages to your own truck in the event of an accident.
No matter what type of insurance you have, be sure to familiarize yourself with your policy’s details so you know what’s covered and what isn’t. This way, you’ll be prepared in the event of an accident.
By following these simple safety tips, tow truck drivers can help make the roads a safer place for everyone. By taking care to stay aware and informed, you can help reduce the risk of accidents and injuries — and make sure you get the job done right.
For more on this, or to learn about any of our tow truck LED lights or other emergency LED light products, speak to our team at LED Equipped today.