Jason Stephens | February 15, 2021 | Traffic Accidents
If you have ever been stuck by the side of the road after a breakdown or an accident, an approaching tow truck can be a welcome sight. But while tow trucks often indicate that help has arrived, accidents involving tow trucks are incredibly dangerous.
Tow trucks are extremely heavy vehicles on their own. When they are towing other cars or trucks, the added weight makes any subsequent accident especially perilous.
Because of the additional weight, tow trucks take longer to adjust their speed. In cases where they need to stop quickly, accidents become much more likely.
Tow trucks are also larger than most other passenger vehicles. This means that tow truck drivers need more road space to maneuver safely. Tow trucks also have larger blind spots than smaller vehicles. All of these factors can contribute to tow truck accidents.
Many other elements can cause severe tow truck collisions. In the following post, we will examine a few of the most common factors involved in tow truck accidents. We will also provide tips on ways to avoid them.
If you have been injured in a tow truck accident, seeking legal representation is important. A qualified personal injury lawyer can help you to secure the financial recovery that is rightfully yours.
Factor #1: Fatigued Driver
Studies show that 51% of all fatal collisions occur during the day, while 49% happen at night. This data does not suggest that night driving is safer. Rather, there are fewer cars on the road after dark, leading to lower accident rates.
Tow truck drivers respond to accident calls at all hours of the day and night. Because of this, they may be forced to drive while tired or drowsy.
Fatigued drivers can suffer from a range of dangerous symptoms, including:
- Tunnel vision
- Decreased response time
- Lessened reflexes
These symptoms can lead drivers to engage in dangerous maneuvers on the road. A fatigued driver may unintentionally swerve or fail to obey traffic signs. If a driver realizes that they are drowsy, they may speed in order to get off of the road more quickly.
While you cannot ensure that tow truck drivers will be alert as they share the road with you, it is highly important to remain vigilant when driving at night. A fatigued tow truck driver is much more dangerous than a drowsy motorist who is operating a smaller vehicle.
Factor #2: Inadequate Driver Training
When a tow truck driver is properly trained, the likelihood for collisions greatly decreases. Sadly, many companies do not offer an adequate amount of training for new drivers.
Some towing companies only ask new hires to show that they can control the vehicle in order to begin work. In certain cases, drivers have very little training in operating their truck’s towing mechanism.
Inadequately-trained drivers may fail to fully secure the vehicles they are towing. Obviously, this can lead to dangerous scenarios on roadways. It is also possible that poorly-trained drivers will not know how to respond to hazardous driving conditions, leading to more accidents.
Factor #3: Larger Blind Spots
As we mentioned above, large vehicles often have larger blind spots than other passenger vehicles. Tow trucks are no exception. The size of a tow truck’s blind spot may vary based on the size of the vehicle being towed.
Larger (and varying) blind spots may not present a huge danger if a tow truck driver has been properly trained. But as we mentioned above, some drivers are not given adequate training.
Factor #4: Towing Excessive Weight
Occasionally, larger vehicles need to be towed. Towing especially large vehicles (like other tow trucks) can increase the likelihood for accidents. It is more difficult to maneuver when towing a larger vehicle, especially if the driver lacks extensive training.
Tow trucks have limits on the amount of weight they can carry safely. When a driver agrees to tow a vehicle that exceeds their truck’s limit, they create a dangerous situation. Drivers may agree to tow a vehicle that is too large either because they want the money or because they are unaware of their truck’s weight limit.
When a truck tows an excessive amount of weight, it can cause the following dangerous conditions:
- The vehicle may increase the truck’s blind spot unexpectedly.
- The larger vehicle may decrease the driver’s ability to control the truck.
- Excessively large vehicles may not fit the towing mechanism, preventing them from being securely transported.
All of these factors can increase the likelihood of a tow truck accident. Below, we will briefly discuss some effective strategies for avoiding this type of collision.
Strategies for Avoiding Tow Truck Accidents
While driving always involves inherent risks, there are steps you can take to avoid tow truck accidents.
When you are driving close to a tow truck, take the following steps:
- Avoid driving in common tow truck blind spots (such as the right side of the vehicle, directly in front, or directly behind the truck).
- Pay attention to the truck’s cargo. If you see the towed vehicle swaying noticeably, increase the distance between your vehicle and the tow truck quickly and safely.
- Watch for any signs of erratic or careless driving. If you notice the tow truck swerving between lanes or varying its speed, slow down and give the truck additional space.
- Never drive directly in front of a tow truck. As we mentioned above, tow trucks are very heavy vehicles that require more time to slow down and stop than standard cars and trucks. This makes rear-end collisions more likely.
While there is no way to eliminate the possibility of accidents due to unsecured cargo or inadequately-trained drivers, these driving strategies can make you as safe as possible.
If you have been injured in a tow truck collision because of someone else’s negligence, contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Securing legal representation can help you to successfully recover the compensation that you are rightfully due.