Utilizing safety equipment in towing or removing any broken down vehicles are critical. Whether it is removing immobilized vehicles during accident or transporting vehicles, without safety precautions tow truck drivers may risk possible injuries. As towing staff can be one of the early respondents to a scene, they need to be ready and prepared in order to handle the tasks that they face. Which means beforehand, they must have the right equipment and tools at hand. Here we shall discuss some of the essential equipment:
1. Safety Gear
It is mandatory for tow truck driver to wear reflective vest when performing duty on federal highway. The vests are classified to 3 categories, which are based on their brightness levels. Towing crew are advised to wear reflective vests together with helmets. As they will handle wires or cables during work, it is required for them to put on safety gloves together with strong, solid work boots when working.
2. Examine Tow Truck and Equipment Condition
Towing crew and drivers should have checklists for them to review and inspect different parts of their tow trucks and equipment before they start their work. The cables of the tow trucks should be checked to see if they are worn and must be replaced should they not function well. Emergency and headlights must function, together with the batteries to prevent possible stalling. Winch system must be in working condition for possible pulling and hauling duties.
3. Knowledge on Relevant Equipment
Towing crew needs to know the capabilities of their respective tow trucks. This is because every tow truck has specific gross vehicle weight rating which has to be observed for a safe transportation of the towed load. Basically they are categorized to 3 groups; light duty, medium duty and heavy duty. Light duty tow trucks can tow to maximum of 10,000 lbs. Medium duty tow trucks can tow 26,000 lbs, whereas heavy duty tow trucks can tow over 26,000 lbs.
4. Loading Procedures
When the towing team first arrives at the scene, the first thing they should do is to set up safe perimeter for the loading zone using reflective cones. Running boards and handles should be used whenever they are entering or leaving their trucks to prevent any chances for injury. Tow truck driver need to have the headlights and emergency lights on in order to caution passing drivers on the road. During loading, towing crew needs to ensure the load is placed in the correct zones; for instance, if loading on a flatbed tow truck, the towed vehicle needs to place in the centre of the platform, with straps secured. In this way, the towed vehicle will be stable and free from movement during the journey.