Safety is always going to be the most important priority for a tow truck driver. He needs to keep himself safe, as well as anyone else out on the road, whether they are just being helped, involved in an incident or just a passerby. When the driver of the tow truck arrives on the job he will need to immediately and carefully survey and assess the situation in order to conduct his activities in such a way so as to ensure the safety of everyone around. Passing vehicles and potential “lookey-loos” may choose to exercise the use of tools or other equipment to increase awareness and visibility for other drivers. Some examples of such equipment include flares, road cones, or flashing lights. A road side flagger may be deployed when deemed appropriate by the situation for the purpose of preventing further motor vehicle accidents and to ensure the safe and orderly flow of traffic.
Everyone in the area of a working tow truck driver must take special care to practice good situational awareness, and always be careful to remain a reasonably safe distance away from the work area in order to avoid the possibility of injury due to flying debris, equipment malfunction, fires, or any other potential mishap. All persons on the scene, including first responders, good samaritans, innocent bystanders, and the tow truck drivers themselves must remain vigilant and attentive in order to protect their own safety as well the safety of others around them. Depending on state and local laws, individuals on the scene of a motor vehicle accident may required to wear high visibility clothing such as a vest, or hat. This specialized safety equipment is easily seen by other drivers due to the use of bright colors, as well as the incorporation of reflective material which shines brightly when illuminated by a vehicles headlights.
After assessing a scene or job site for potential safety hazards, a tow truck drivers next task will to be to maneuver the disabled vehicle in a position that will allow it to be removed from the scene. The tow truck driver will move the vehicle so that it will allow for the best possible flow of traffic. Sometimes cooperation with local law enforcement will be necessary to handle manipulation of traffic flow. Traffic cones, or early warning signs may be used for this purpose. The actual moving of the vehicle may require the use of special equipment such as chains, wenches, or straps. All of this equipment should undergo routine maintenance and be properly inspected to ensure good working order. Once the flow of traffic has been managed, the tow truck driver can get down to work. After he has recovered the vehicle, he will be sure thoroughly secure the disabled vehicle so that it can be removed from the scene. This might entail the use of a flat bed truck if the vehicle is totally disabled, or a dolly system if the disabled vehicle is not too damaged. Once it is determined that the vehicle is safe to be moved, it will be taken by the driver back to the tow truck companies lot. Once the disabled vehicle has reached the tow yard, the owner may come pick it up, or if it is not claimed it can sold at auction.