American Towman Magazine - January 2022

Page 18


Arrowboard Products Calvin Berkey Enterprises pages N, M 55

Show Me the Way Arrow Boards for Emergency Lighting By Randall C. Resch

Operations Editor Randall C. Resch is a retired California police officer and veteran tow business owner, manager, consultant and trainer. He writes for TowIndustryWeek. com and American Towman, is a member of the International Towing &  Recovery Hall of Fame and recipient of the Dave Jones Leadership Award. Email Randy at


t’s been more than a century since the wrecker first was invented. During this time period, more than 600 tow operators have been killed in shoulder related incidents and pedestrian strikes across the United States. This unacceptably huge number suggests that many tow operators, and the industry as a whole, are missing the point of “On-Scene Safety.” Perhaps it’s a complete disregard of what root causes get towers killed, or maybe they have an unrealistic view that, “It’s not gonna’ happen to me.” Data indicates that tow operators have consistently failed to provide “Advanced Emergency Warning”, when serving roadside events. Part of the problem is that the tow industry doesn’t promote a proper concept that supports the importance of on-scene warning. This includes a lack of understanding as to why too much emergency lighting leads to, “negative cause and effect,” creating potential blinding hazards to approaching motorists .


As a long-time pageant judge at American Towman shows, I’ve had the pleasure of giving wreckers and carriers 18 • January 2022 |

Instead of installing an excess of possibly blinding lights, why not invest in equipment that gives a clearer indication where your truck is parked on the shoulder?

“the once over.” In the process, participants were asked to turn-on running lights and emergency lighting to simulate DOT inspections. On one carrier in particular, I counted 30 strobe-type lights mounted on the truck’s exterior—in the grille, underside rails, headache rack, side rails, and even mounted on the truck’s lower frame structures above the wheel lift. The truck’s amber strobe was modern and its lowprofile added to its spectacular light show. The proud tower boasted that lighting alone cost more than $5,000. While the carrier placed as a top favorite, it made me wonder: how effective excessive lighting would be in pitch-dark environments? Perhaps from a distance, the carrier certainly was noticeable, but would too much lighting create negative effects on a motorist’s, “night vision,” while they accelerated blindly towards a truckload of circus lighting? As awesome as it looked all lit up, the truck’s excessive lighting could cause motorists’ confusion as they approached the carrier.. That led me to question the reality of 30 strobes being “circus lighting,” rather than providing a safety warning to