Accident, flat tire, engine trouble or out of gas, you need tow truck companies to help get your car running again or moved from harm's way. Tow truck companies help drivers and law enforcement by providing services each community needs.
Prepare your vehicle for emergency situations and have a plan of action so tow truck expenses do not add up. Know where you want your car towed and know the rights of the towing company.
Know where you are
Modern technology provides many ways to find your location. Automobiles come equipped with real time access to help through sensors or voice commands that open lines of communication to real people who will send a tow truck, ambulance or other emergency services. GPS devices mount to your dashboard and always show your location on maps so you do not get lost. Cell phones also come equipped with GPS so you can tell the tow company where to come. The speed in which help arrives after an accident can mean a life.
Have an emergency roadside kit in the trunk. Inside keep flares, orange cones or flags and flashlights. These help other motorists see you if your vehicle stops on the side of the road. They warn other motorists to slow down or stop in the event of an accident, wait for the tow truck and/or other emergency responders in a safe place away from passing traffic.
When the Tow Truck Arrives
Tow truck drivers often reach accidents before other emergency personnel. Acting as first responders, these men and women save lives while providing help to other emergency responders as they get to the accident.
When you break down on a busy roadway, this roadside assistant will change tires, bring gasoline or tow your vehicle to a mechanic. Automobile insurance companies offer roadside assistance optionally. Once your vehicle's warranties have expired, roadside assistance as part of your policy becomes invaluable. Tow charges, though regulated in most areas, still add up. Contrary to popular belief, tow truck companies rarely break laws. When called to an accident or the scene of a criminal act, they must adhere to regulations set by lawmakers.
After an accident
Police want vehicles involved in accidents taken away so the normal flow of traffic returns as quickly as possible. If you have no tow company preference, the police use the company contracted to the police department and the tow company removes your car. If you have no destination preference, your car goes to the company's yard or police impound.
Vehicles involved in a criminal act
When arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, your automobile goes to a tow company yard. You cannot retrieve your car for a mandated period and you must show a release form from the police department as well as pay all the fees owed to the tow truck company.
Tow truck providers can charge for the initial tow to the yard and a storage fee for each day your car sat in their yard. Regulations prohibit the company from charging rates above a reasonable price, in most areas. To determine a reasonable rate for your area, the prices other companies charge combined with national averages will decide the rates near you.
Tow truck companies removing vehicles illegally parked on private or public property follow the law as well. The vehicle owner and authorities must receive notification of the incident. The owner, upon return, has the right to stop the tow in progress and pay half the cost of the companies normal fee.