Tow trucks are designed to help cars who have stalled or have been in an accident – but what happens when these trucks cause accidents? Although tow trucks have a lower accident rate than commercial trucks, they still do pose a danger on the roads. According to the Tow Truck Association of America, 60 or more tow truck operators are killed annually each year while helping customers on the road. In addition to these lives lost, many car accidents are caused when tow trucks and cars collide on the roads.
Tow trucks are at a high risk of collisions for a number of reasons:
1) They are often expected to arrive in dangerous situations. Tow trucks are often called to accident scenes, crowded parking lots, and the sides of roads where a flat tire has occurred. These large trucks must then maneuver among other cars or obstacles in order to position the tow truck correctly to help a stranded motorist. Other motorists may not expect to see a tow truck or a tow truck may simply not have enough room to do their job safely.
2) Hooking up a car to a tow truck can be challenging. If a car is not correctly attached and secured, it can roll off a tow truck when the tow truck is moving. This can cause the car to crash into a vehicle behind the tow truck. It can also cause the car behind the tow truck to swerve, causing an accident. When tow truck drivers do not correctly secure a car being towed, they can be held liable for damages caused by a resulting accident. The Tow Truck Association of America has called for increased training for tow truck drivers to ensure that these types of accidents occur less frequently.
3) Brake lights on tow trucks are not always very visible. On some tow trucks, braking lights are not very visible and on some models of trucks, these lights may be completely obscured if the truck is towing a larger vehicle. In some cases, brake lights or supplemental lights may short-circuit and not work properly. Unfortunately, tow trucks make frequent and unexpected stops, so if a truck’s brake lights are not working correctly, there is a very high risk of collision. In many cases, the tow truck company or the company owning the tow trucks can be held liable if a truck’s tow lights are not correctly maintained.
4) Motorists sometimes ignore the rules of safety when passing tow trucks. According to the Towing and Recovery Association of America, when motorists see a tow truck, they should give the truck plenty of space and should slow down. Motorists should keep their eyes on the road and move out of the area in a timely fashion. If you require a tow truck, the Towing and Recovery Association of America recommends moving the car off the road (if no one has been injured). If your vehicle is experiencing mechanical problems but can still drive, move your car off the freeway if you can. This gives tow trucks added room and can help prevent a secondary accident.
If you have been in an accident involving a tow truck, keep in mind that a tow truck is a commercial vehicle, just like a delivery truck. Help anyone who is injured and take down as much information as you can. Since tow truck drivers and towing companies have powerful insurance companies, many victims injured in tow truck accidents have found that a good personal injury attorney is indispensable. If you have sustained a brain injury, serious lacerations, burns, spinal cord injury, or any type of personal injury in a tow truck accident, contact a good Florida personal injury attorney. Attorneys at firms such as the Flaxman Law Group can work with you to ensure that you receive a fair settlement that helps you with medical costs and allows you to focus on your recovery.