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The Road Calls

SAFETY

Don’t Be Surprised!

Making the

ROTATOR

PAY

Recovery Work

with

Carriers TowIndustryWeek.com

SEPTEMBER 2020 AmericanTowman.com

$10


Contents

Safety Issue

Volume 44 Issue 9

September 2020 18

Driving Safely in Various Environments If you think there’s a time you can chill out behind the wheel, you’re wrong. One of several articles in this issue with Safety as the theme. by Terry Abejuela

Features

36

Carriers and Recoveries

Departments 6

The Walkaround

8

News Share

10

Road Tools

11

Zoom In

18

Tow Engineer

28

Tow Manager

34

Ad Index

36

Tow Boss

40

Workhorse

46

Towman’s Market

48

Beacons On!

50

Lowdown

52

Behind the Wheel

57

Adventures of A.T.

Resch discusses recovery work using carriers and the proper techniques to employ. by Randall C. Resch

48

Electrocution Hazards Tuttle will have you on the lookout for electrical hazards in all places roadside. by Bobby Tuttle

4 • September 2020 | Towman.com

Cover Photo: 60 Ton Jerr-Dan Rotator towing a vacuum truck (See Workhorse p. 40)

First on the scene since 1977


The Walkaround Safety 360º

Dennie Ortiz Publisher

Safety takes all forms and is a paramount consideration and concern in our industry. In this issue we cover many different aspects on how to help ensure the wellbeing of towmen and tow women. Safety means being protected from harm, which includes self-harm. As September is recognized as suicide awareness month, our own contributing editor, Brian Riker shares his own personal and painful experience with suicide. He writes openly and honestly on how to help those that may be contemplating taking their own life. He candidly touches on how he grieved and the steps he took to help cope with the loss of his son Justin. Years ago in the late nineties when I became a part of the American Towman team, in speaking with tow operators across the country I was surprised to learn that driving a tow truck did not require a special license to operate. I was even more astonished that many towers did not have training and learned by trial and error how to best operate a tow truck while doing actual calls servicing customers on busy roadways. Terry Abejuela recognizes the importance for new operators to be trained in his article Driving Safely. He makes a commonsensical statement that “Driving a tow truck takes more skill than most give us credit for.” He goes on to describe the best safety practices when learning how to drive a tow truck. This piece is a must read for new operators and even veteran towers as even the most experienced of drivers should always be reminded of important safety practices that sometimes may be overlooked. Terry’s recommendation is better training for new tow operators to include all types of environments. Continuing with the safety theme in our Tow Manager department, Paul Stephens calls for “some sort of standardized protocol for roadside safety for our industry.” He offers up some suggestions on ways to keep safe while working the roadways. Paul makes the case for the industry as a whole to come together as a more formalized organization to create roadside safety norms to which all towing professionals adhere. In our Beacons On department, Bobby Tuttle continues the safety narrative with recommendations on how to avoid injury at crash scenes when dealing with electrical roadway infrastructures. Also later in the issue David Kolman’s article about Reducing Deer-Vehicle Collisions, is very helpful info for tow operators and even for any member of your family that drives! Bottom line ... Be Safe Out There!

6 • September 2020 | Towman.com

Dennie Ortiz Steve Calitri Brendan Dooley Randall Resch Terry Abejuela Jim “Buck” Sorrenti David Kolman Bill Simmons Mark Lacek Brian Riker

Publisher Editor-In-Chief Editor Operations Editor Field Editor, West Field Editor, Northeast Chassis Editor Safety Editor Repo Run Editor Contributing Editor

Editorial Board Tommy Anderson Roy Carlson Debbie Collins Belinda Harris Bill Johnson Ron Mislan Kurt Wilson

Dallas, Texas Saint Paul, Minn. Las Vegas, Nev. Greensboro, N.C. South Hadley, Mass. Warren, N.J. Creve Coeur, Ill.

American Towman Staff Page Layout Artist Advertising Sales Mgr. Senior Account Exec. VP of Accounts Customer Service Subscription Manager Regional Advertising Sales iMarketing Manager ATTV Producer President

Gina Johnson Dennie Ortiz Ellen Rosengart Norma Calitri Henri Calitri Patrice Gesner Peggy Calabrese Ryan Oser Emily Oz Steve Calitri

American Towman Media Headquarters 2 Overlook Drive, Suite 5, Warwick, NY 10990 800-732-3869 or 845-986-4546

E-Mail: Publisher Editor-In-Chief Editor AT’S Digital Edition AT’S Website AT’S Weekly ATTV

dortiz@towman.com scalitri@towman.com bdooley@towman.com itowman.com americantowman.com towindustryweek.com americantowmantv.com

Copyright ©2020 American Towman Magazine is published 12 times a year by American Towman Media, Inc.

Subscription: Single Copy: $10 1 yr: $60 – 2 yrs: $110 International: $75 & $135

All material published through American Towman Media (AT), to include American Towman Magazine, iTowman.com and TowIndustryWeek.com, including advertisements, editorials, articles and all other content is published in good faith. However, AT accepts no liability for any errors or omissions, and does not endorse any companies, products or services that appear. AT does not test or review products submitted for inclusion in its publications. AT does not accept responsibility for the accuracy of content, warranties or claims made or implied by its advertisers. The views expressed are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of AT. The act of mailing or delivering a letter, email or article to AT shall constitute permission to publish that letter or article or any portion thereof. AT reserves the right to edit any and all material submitted. No part of the magazine or websites may be reproduced without prior written consent of AT.


News Share Alleged Fraudulent Claims against Auto Club

According to a lawsuit filed by The Auto Club Group, a Michigan tow company operating under various fake names, most notably Clio Towing, allegedly schemed to defraud funds by billing for services not provided and creating requests under fake names. Charges include fraud, breach of contract, civil conspiracy and racketeering. The lawsuit maintains that since 2015, one of the owners of the company was billing the Auto Club Group for services never performed while others also acted on the company’s behalf by requesting Clio Towing to perform services for nonexistent people and to false locations. The lawsuit claims The Auto Club Group suffered more than $75,000 in damages and seeks the amount in restitution along with attorney fees. Source: mlive.com

Anthem Honors Tow Truck Operators

Procession honoring Pennsylvania tower and firefighter, Tyler Laudenslager

Procession Honors

Fallen Tower

A procession and ceremony was held last month in honor of 29 year old PA tower and firefighter Tyler Laudenslager who was hit and killed on Tuesday on Interstate 78 after responding to a roadside assistance call. His body was transported by hearse to a funeral home in his hometown. Laundenslager, who left behind his wife Holly and 10 month year daughter, was remembered by family, friends and coworkers for his laughter, wit, and great love for his family.

Singer-songwriter Mike Corbin once again teamed with Editor in Chief Steve Calitri, this time to compose the American Towman Anthem. The Anthem, which debuted in August on TowIndustryWeek.com, celebrates the diverse challenges facing tow truck operators. Lines in one verse highlight some of these challenges: The blood, chaos and slaughter/On pavement, in dirt or water/They are legion/They battle calamity. American Towman is looking to recruit singers from the industry to form a choir that will perform the Anthem and other songs on the show floor at 2021 shows. Towers are facing their biggest challenge to their survival with the pandemic, noted Calitri. “We hope the Anthem serves to uplift their spirits,” he said. “The pandemic has robbed them of business but nothing can take away their skills or their pride.”

8 • September 2020 | Towman.com

As a result of the tragedy, tow truck operators and police reminded drivers to obey the “Steer Clear” or “Move Over” law. Casey Burkins of Cabbage Hill Garage and Towing said, “Slow down. Move over. Give us the space we need.” Pennsylvania State Police are taking part in a “Move Over” initiative with departments from neighboring states to raise awareness about the law. Source: wgal.com; wfmz.com; pennlive.com

Tow Truck Driver Killed in Baker, Ca A tow truck driver assisting a motorist with a flat tire were both struck and killed along Highway 15 in Baker, Ca., early Thursday morning, July 31. According to a California Highway Patrol news release, a trailer of a Freightliner hauling two bottomdumps traveled across the lane onto the right hand shoulder, hitting the tow truck driver’s 2004 GMC and causing a chain reaction that resulted in the fatal injuries. The release stated, “For reasons still under investigation, the driver allowed the truck tractor-trailer combination to leave the #2 lane and travel onto the west shoulder of Interstate 15 southbound.” In the motorist’s 2002 Chevrolet, a female and two juveniles escaped injury, but were later transported to

Truck and trailers crossed the lane, striking tower and motorist

Barstow Community Hospital for further evaluation, while the driver of the Freightliner was uninjured, nor suspected of being impaired. Source: www.vvng.com


News Share

Advocating Towing Reforms in Greater Toronto In the highly competitive towing region of Greater Toronto, towing reforms are being called for as there have been turf wars involving towing companies. More than 200 criminal charges, including arson and murder, have been made. Joey Gagne, the CEO of Abrams Towing, the largest tow truck company in Canada, says he is calling for sweeping changes to end violence and intimidation within the industry. He said that usually the first driver speeding to the scene gets the tow, but now other drivers are showing up claiming territory violations. “I believe firmly that this model perpetuates the violence,” Gagne said. 30-year veteran tower John Somerville said he’s never seen anything like what has happened over the last couple of years.  Ontario Premier Doug Ford recently announced a task force to regulate the

Joey Gagne

industry and protect consumers. “There’s no place for that kind of activity. To all the bad actors out there, my message is very clear: ‘The party’s over, we’re coming for you, we’ll catch you and we’ll lock you up,’” Ford said. Source: www.toronto.ctvnews.ca/

Rick Ortiz

Tow Truck Driver Saves Woman from Flood Waters Tow truck driver Rick Ortiz navigated his tow truck in rushing waters to rescue a woman who was stranded in her vehicle at a busy intersection near I-76 in Belmont Hills, Pa. Ortiz, who works at nearby Bala Motor Sports, saw an opportunity to help out fellow employee Maria Oyola, along with another driver, whose cars were

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

trapped in the flooding waters caused by heavy rains due to Tropical Storm Isaias. Ortiz said, “The water got so high up. I just came around and said, ‘look, I can rescue them because it’s getting too crazy.’” Then Ortiz backed his tow truck up and helped Oyola to safety. “That’s how I am.” Ortiz said. “I don’t leave nobody behind.” Source: www.6abc.com

Procession Gives Tribute to Hibler, Jr.

A procession of tow trucks rolled through Binghamton, NY to pay tribute to Everett Hibler, Jr., owner of Al’s Garage and Hibler’s Towing and Recovery. He passed away at the age of 76 on July 25. Approximately 75 trucks, including Joe’s Garage, Gary’s U-Pull It, and Beck’s Towing, drove past Hopler and Eschbach Funeral Home, where Hibler’s family was standing outside. Hibler’s daughter, Michelle Jenkins said, “My father was an honest businessman, and a wonderful person.” Hibler, who went by the name “Charlie,” ran his business for almost 50 years, gaining respect and adoration from his community and clearly from the towers of the Greater Binghamton Area. Source: www.binghamtonhomepage.com

Street Sweeping Policy Cuts Tow Fees The city of New Haven, CT announced a new street sweeping policy increasing the fine on drivers who are parked in street sweeping zones while eliminating tow companies from removing those vehicles. Violators will be issued a ticket for $100. In the past, tickets were $50 and tow fees, $89, that may or may not have included storage fees from the tow yard. It’s estimated that residents have paid about $2 million annually to towing companies through tow fees and storage costs. Officials believe that the higher ticketing fee will give incentive to residents to move their cars while saving them money on tows and the inconvenience of going to a tow yard to find their vehicle. Elicker said, “I have heard countless stories of residents walking outside in the morning only to find their car is gone and then spending much of the day trying to track down their car and pay exorbitant fees to towing companies just to get their car back.” The new policy takes effect this month. Warnings were issued to residents in August to make them aware of the new program. Source: www.wtnh.com

AmericanTowman.com | September 2020 • 9


Road Tools Talbert 55-Ton Traveling-Axle Trailer

Talbert Manufacturing’s 5553TA traveling-axle trailer features a 20,000-lbs. planetary winch and the company’s redesigned piggy-back cylinder for 25%plus more power to move axles in adverse conditions. The 5553TA excels in moving low clearance and dead loads with a 36” loaded deck height and 6-degree load angle. The winch is controlled with a six-function wireless remote with a range of more than 200’. Multiple double keyhole tie-down slots come standard for greater loading ease and additional flexibility for securing loads. Additional features include two large-capacity lockable toolboxes — one curbside and one driver’s side.

talbertmfg.com

Warn Series G2

warn.com

American Safety & Supply Rechargeable Light and Power Bank • 1500 Lumens – 6-Hour Run-Time • 280 Lumens – 20-Hour Run-Time • Can Charge Other Devices • Includes USB Charging Cable

americansafetysupply.com

10 • September 2020 | Towman.com

The WARN® Series G2 line represents the latest in the WARN Industrial planetary gear winch lineup. The G2 line offers hydraulic, electric, and Severe-Duty options, and 9,000, 12,000, 15,000, and 18,000 lb. capacities for a variety of applications. G2 is designed, engineered, and assembled in Clackamas, OR. The Series G2 winches are the most durable industrial winches Warn Industries has ever offered. The new more robust and serviceable design includes redesigned drum supports that are thicker and resist breakage. The all-new architecture also makes the clutch mount (90° clutch handle option) stout and less prone to damage. Electric models have new two-coil contactor with excellent sealing for exceptional reliability. All models wear protective finishes that guard against corrosion for years. Series G2 winches are IP68 and IP69K waterproof ensuring a long service life. The revised three-stage planetary gear train delivers fast, quiet, and dependable pulling power with up to a 65% reduction in noise and vibration. The ball-bearing design and extreme low-temperature lubricants let the drum turn easily, even in the coldest weather. The Warn G2 line promises Easier Serviceability and Lower Operating Costs. More configurable than ever, the Series G2 winches; hydraulic, electric, or Severe Duty, can be built for maximum performance. Series G2 parts are now standardized and interchangeable. Buyers can choose; tie rods or tie bars for the winch, multiple drum widths ranging from 6.5” to 12.5” different motors, various clutches, tie rods or tie bars to connect drum supports, and more


Zoom In

Miller Adds Longer Underlift for Industrial Carriers

millerind.com

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

Miller Industries Towing Equipment Inc. recently released its newest improvement to the industrial carrier platform with a longer heavy-duty three-stage underlift, available as an upgrade option on their long-wheelbase 30 Series and 40 Series industrial carriers. The underlift offers a 77” maximum reach, measured from the end of the bed to the center of the towing forks, and has a lift rating of 20,000 lbs. when fully retracted. With this new option towers gain a 10,000-lbs. fully extended lift rating and 50,000-lbs. tow rating. When not in use, the heavy-duty three-stage underlift is retracted to only 12” from the rear of the carrier bed. At full extension, the underlift has 33” of overlap between each of the three stages, adding strength and minimizing flex under load. The underlift provides a full 62” of travel. The three-stage underlift comes standard with removable wheel grids and 6,000-lbs.-rated steel L-arm retainers for towing everything from fixed-frame box trucks to automobiles. An optional attachment for towing forks adds towing for heavier trucks. The 45.5”-wide crossbar gives clearance to reach between rear tractor axles during rear tows. This new underlift option is available for all new orders of long-wheelbase 30 Series and 40 Series industrial carriers.

AmericanTowman.com | September 2020 • 11


See the Signs Stay aware, connected to help prevent suicide By Brian J. Riker

Brian J. Riker is a third-generation towman, with 25 years of experience in the ditch as a tow operator, and president of Fleet Compliance Solutions. He specializes in helping navigate the complex world of federal and state transportation regulatory compliance. He can be reached at brian.riker@fleetcompliancesolutions.net

12 • September 2020 | Towman.com


Justin always liked to spend time with me in the truck and on the job, like working this salvage cleanup with me when he was 10.

M

y son Justin was only 22 when he took his own life on October 28, 2016.

He had been in a serious crash when he was 14, spending two months in a trauma unit with serious brain injuries. He never fully recovered his physical or mental capacities from those injuries. His felt he was a failure as a father and partner as a result of

coworkers and even complete strangers are affected in ways beyond imagination. I am not alone in this struggle and I want to help prevent another mother, father, brother or sister from experiencing what my family has.

Constant exposure to injury and loss of life at crash scenes can easily lead to PTSD and suicidal thoughts for towers, firefighters, medical professionals and law enforcement officers. losing a job and relapsing into drug abuse in one bad week. Sadly, this was not his first attempt, something I only learned a few months before that day. Suicide destroys so much more than just the life of the person committing the heartbreaking act. Family, friends, Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

Suicide is never the answer no matter how desperate the situation may appear. In the U.S., 4.3% of all adults aged 18-25 have had serious thoughts about taking their own life. You are not alone. There is no shame in asking for help when dealing with mental

anguish, pain or feelings of hopelessness. We all need help at some point in our lives.

WHY?

What makes someone contemplate ending their own life? Recognizing the reasons for suicide is an important step in preventing it. While there are many reasons someone may desire to take their own life, the more common reasons include mental disorders or substance abuse, loss of a loved one (breakup or death), job loss, feeling hopeless, loss of physical abilities due to an injury or illness and loneliness or isolation. If someone you know has recently experienced a tragic loss or perhaps survived a traumatic event, they could be at risk of selfharm if they do not have access to qualified mental health workers. Survivors guilt and post-traumatic stress disorder often contribute to suicidal thoughts and actions. Constant exposure to injury and loss of life at crash scenes can easily lead to PTSD and suicidal thoughts for towers, firefighters, medical professionals and law

â—€

AmericanTowman.com | September 2020 • 13


WARNING SIGNS OF SUICIDE: The behaviors listed below may be some of the signs that someone is thinking about suicide.

TALKING ABOUT:

FEELING:

Wanting to die Great guilt or shame Being a burden to others

Empty, hopeless, trapped, or having no reason to live Extremely sad, more anxious, agitated, or full of rage Unbearable emotional or physical pain

CHANGING BEHAVIOR, SUCH AS: Making a plan or researching ways to die Withdrawing from friends, saying good bye, giving away important items, or making a will

Taking dangerous risks such as driving extremely fast Displaying extreme mood swings Eating or sleeping more or less Using drugs or alcohol more often

If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK National Institute of Mental Health

Crisis Text Line Text “HELLO” to 741741

www.nimh.nih.gov/suicideprevention NIMH Identifier No. OM 19-4316

enforcement officers. For towers, the problem is often not recognized or treated as we do not generally have easy access to grief counselors and other mental health professionals nor is it usually required for towers to have a traumatic event debrief to talk about what happened. Do not let your pride or bravado get in the way of talking about your feelings or asking for help. There are many sources of help, many anonymous, available 24/7 and free of charge. Call 800-273-8255 or text 741741 to be connected with immediate help from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

READ THE SIGNS

How do I recognize signs that someone near me may be suicidal? While there are no exact signs that someone may be intending to harm themselves, there are some common things to look for. These 14 • September 2020 | Towman.com

include talking about wanting to die, intentionally seeking out dangerous activities (driving recklessly, unnecessary risks), suddenly obtaining a weapon, searching online about ways to die, talking about being a burden, speaking about feeling trapped, pulling away from family and friends, rapid mood swings, and sudden changes in eating or drinking habits. Unusual behaviors such as a noticed increase in drinking or drug use, giving away important possessions, suddenly making a will or getting affairs in order and saying goodbye to friends or family can indicate a person needs immediate help. If you notice any of these warning signs seek help as soon as possible. You can call the Lifeline to talk about helping a friend or family member at any time, and the call is confidential.

GETTING HELP

How do I comfort someone that I feel may be suicidal? When speaking to someone that you feel is contemplating taking their own life, it is important to engage them in a manner that is direct but not judgmental. Always speak plainly and openly about suicide and welcome their feelings. Never debate if it is right or wrong or lecture on the value of life, which could solidify their mindset. Listen to what they have to say. Be open to their pain even when it may seem trivial or small to you. Everyone has a different perception of the events around them. Use active listening skills— listen to understand. Make sure you are acknowledging the person that is speaking, otherwise they will quickly lose interest in speaking to you about their feelings. Respond verbally, but only after they have finished speaking. Never interrupt. Waiting until someone has finished speaking not only implies respect, it also shows you are still engaged in what they are saying. Always summarize what they have said, this shows you were paying attention and can help them hear how they are presenting their thoughts to you. Engage the conversation with your body language by leaning in to show interest, making eye contact and remaining calm. Active


Call for Help There are many sources of help, many anonymous, available 24/7 and free of charge. Call

800-273-8255

This is Justin holding his newborn son Aaron. My daughter Elizabeth, holding her firstborn Dennis, were visiting them.

listening shows a person you truly care about what they are saying and can express your desire to help without being confrontational. It is important to take appropriate action without being overly challenging. If possible, remove any means they may have such as pills or weapons and seek professional help. Don’t ever dare someone to take their own life or act shocked at their revelation (even if you are shocked). Patronizing statements— “it will all work out,” “that’s not so bad,” “I’ve had worse”—only fuel their desire to escape. Death is looked at as an escape by many, the only way out, in their opinion, of a weighty situation. For many, controlling their own death is the only thing they feel they have left within their control.

LEFT WITH PAIN

This is an experience I would not wish upon anyone. For those family members left behind, it can be painful to relive memories daily as you never get past a loss like this … you only learn how to cope with it. For those left behind, there is no shame in admitting that you need help. I found help in a Facebook group called S.O.S. which was recommended to me by a high school friend who lost 16 • September 2020 | Towman.com

her only son to suicide exactly one year prior to Justin. Perhaps the most wellintentioned, but hurtful, statement is, “At least he is at peace,” often followed by, “He is in a better place now.” While I understand they mean well, statements like this do not help survivors grieve or heal. Words hurt, be mindful that many have a different view of faith and religion than you might. Never try to convey to someone that you understand how they feel, even if you have also experienced the loss of a loved one in a similar manner. We all process our grief and loss differently. While I share a connection with many parents because of this, I can’t imagine how they feel any more accurately than they can imagine how I feel. While I believe it is true that Justin is no longer hurting, his peace is devastating to those left behind. There are days that a song on the radio or a certain car passing by can bring tears on the spot. Other days I get so angry I want to destroy something. Only time has helped me process this more positively, using the feelings of grief with uplifting memories of things we did together and the good times we had. Those left behind may go from one extreme to another. Please

or text 741741 to be connected with immediate help from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. extend some grace to those around you as their coping method may seem peculiar or odd to you. Unless it is causing harm, let it be. It will take some time for them to adjust to the loss. Know that you are not responsible for their actions. Only the person that took their own life had the ultimate power to stop it. You may never know why they did what they did; that is OK, you don’t need to know why. I turned to writing and speaking, openly sharing the story of my son’s struggle with depression and drugs in an effort to help other parents recognize the signs that I did not. I encourage all that have suffered a tragic loss like this to find a creative outlet for the pain, frustration and grief before the feelings overwhelm you. We need to stop and ask for help with our mental health from time to time. If you are having a tough time or know someone who is, please reach out for help. You are important, you have a purpose and you matter—even when you don’t feel like you do. Illicit activities, addictions, marital infidelity, business failures—or anything else troubling you—can be worked out without paying the ultimate price. These problems are temporary; suicide is permanent.


Tow Engineer

20% of all vehicle accidents occur in parking lots, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Driving Safely in Various Environments By Terry Abejuela

Field Editor Terry Abejuela has 40-plus years of light-duty towing and recovery experience. He is also a light-duty Level 1 instructor for the California Tow Truck Association.

D

riving a tow truck takes more skill than most give us credit for. Most people think they are good drivers, but the average person does not have to deal with the many types of environments that tow truck drivers do. Towers respond to incidents in all types of weather, terrain and traffic conditions anytime of the day or night. To be a successful tow operator, you must be able to drive the tow truck safely in all types of environments. Most operators start their careers in towing in a light-duty truck. The transition from a non-driving career to an industry where much of your time is behind the wheel is challenging by itself. If the driver only has experience driving passenger automobiles and light-duty pickup trucks and vans, it is quite an experience to hop into a tow truck. They are going from driving a vehicle that weighs less than 7,000 lbs. to driving

18 • September 2020 | Towman.com

a vehicle that weighs 11,000 lbs. or more. Vehicle width, height and weight, stopping distance, turning radius, maneuverability, handling and visibility are all different. Add on top of that the towing of another vehicle and it can be a recipe for disaster. New tow operators must be properly trained in the nuances of driving tow trucks. In my experience it seems we don’t do enough training in the actual driving of the trucks. One of the things you can do to be prepared for any driving environment is to ensure the tow truck is in safe operating condition. Brakes, steering, mirrors, window glass, lighting, tire condition/pressure and suspension all play a role in safe operation of the tow truck. They must all be in proper working order or it might create an unsafe condition while driving the truck. In whatever environment you find yourself, you must maintain situational awareness. Different environments will present different challenges so you must be able to identify those challenges and take appropriate steps to mitigate the risk.

CITY STREETS

When driving a tow truck on busy city streets you will have to deal with traffic congestion, pedestrians, street crews at work, double-parked cars, intersections, vehicles exiting driveways, and sharing the roadway with buses, taxis, motorcycles and bicycles. It is a very busy environment to say the least. Your focus must be 100% on driving while the truck is moving. Keep your eyes constantly moving to scan the area and anticipate potential issues such as people opening their car door into the traffic lane to exit their vehicle.

RESIDENTIAL STREETS

Driving on residential streets requires additional awareness of children at play, delivery vehicles, trash trucks, utility workers, pets and more. Some residential streets may have poor lighting and natural or man-made obstacles that impede your visibility. Trees, bushes, vehicles parked on the street, fencing, walls and buildings often create blind spots.


in parking lots and driving at slower speeds. Holidays tend to be the worst times as people are in a hurry and often pay less attention to moving vehicles. Always assume people don’t see you.

SPECIAL EVENTS

One third of all U.S. roadways are unpaved.

Make sure to avoid driving while distracted. Looking for addresses while the tow truck is moving is dangerous. Stop the truck before taking your eyes off of the roadway to search for an address.

towers should drive even slower than the posted speed limit. Driving slow and cautiously will provide you more time to react to any situation. Watch out for overhead

Different environments will present different challenges so you must be able to identify those challenges and take appropriate steps to mitigate the risk. PARKING LOTS

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, approximately 20% of all vehicle accidents occur in parking lots. Granted these accidents are at slower speeds and are generally less serious, but that is a significant percentage and it may be higher as some fender benders go unreported. Even if accidents are less serious it is still costly, time consuming, unproductive and bad for the company’s image. The most effective thing you can do to drive safely in a parking lot is to slow down. Most parking lots have speed limits posted, but 20 • September 2020 | Towman.com

clearance when entering parking garages. Make sure the tow truck’s lightbar and antennae clear any overhead lighting, beams, etc. These garages often have narrow travel lanes and tight turns. (If available, it may be more appropriate to dispatch a lowerprofile truck with a fold-down lightbar and short wheelbase.) Keep your eyes constantly moving, looking for any signs of vehicles backing out of a space or pedestrians stepping out from between vehicles. Watch out for people driving distracted. People seem to drop their guard even more when

If you have large-capacity venues in your area, you likely will respond to calls at special events such as concerts, sporting events, fairs, parades and such. Lighting, poor markings, golf carts, trams and pedestrians will create hazards for driving. As with most driving environments, slowing your speed down, knowing the area and situational awareness are critical. Many venues have maps available to make it easier to locate vehicles. These venues may have traffic plans for ingress and egress that will be helpful for you to know in advance.

OFF-ROAD

There are approximately 4 million miles of roadway in the United States; 1.4 million of them are unpaved according to various online sources. Some calls may require a tower to drive the truck on unpaved and often unmaintained roads to assist customers. Consider the recent weather conditions and the type of truck you have before entering this type of driving environment. Make sure dispatch knows exactly where you will be going — and depending on how far off road — if you need to take someone with you. Take advantage of all the technology available such as satellite maps to become familiar with the area in advance. In some situations, it may be safer to send a more appropriate driving vehicle first to scout out the situation before


attempting to drive most tow trucks off road. Unless you have a purpose-built truck for this type of terrain, such as four-wheel drive, it may be too risky to venture into this type of environment. Transitioning from a paved road to an unpaved road can be hazardous, so reduce your speed sufficiently to compensate for the change in traction as the tires of the tow truck go from asphalt to dirt. Avoid driving on ruts and washout conditions. Some unpaved roads may have delineators to mark the edge of the roadway. This is very helpful, especially in snow conditions. Avoid driving too close to the edge of the roadway as the dirt may be less compact and you may lose traction or some steering control. It is important to be prepared to drive in all types of environments. A safe and properly maintained truck as well as situational awareness and preplanning are essential to driving safely in diverse driving environments.

22 • September 2020 | Towman.com


Jim “Buck” Sorrenti, a longtime editor of American Towman, has been our field editor for the past 10 years. He is a freelance writer and photographer with more than 40 years of experience covering motorcycle, hot rod, truck and towing culture. He writes weekly for TowIndustryWeek.com.

Guard Down The right experience and equipment handles a loaded semi after it crashes through a guardrail by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti 24 • September 2020 | Towman.com


The first step was cutting and removing the guardrail posts.

O

n March 23, 2020, the New Jersey State Police called Mike’s Towing & Recovery to respond to Route 287 in Annandale to recover a loaded tractor-trailer. A 2019 Freightliner Cascadia tractor hauling a loaded 2012 Great Dane trailer slid sideways through a guardrail and partially down an embankment. The rear wheels were on the roadway and the left side tires were 4’ off the ground.

This was one of three recoveries MTR responded to that were called in within minutes of each other. The weather was bad, with heavy rain and cold that made the roadways slick. Owner Mike Sena was already out on another wreck when this call came in. Responding to this call from MTR were Recovery Supervisor Rich in Truck 166, a 2015 Peterbilt 379 triaxle/Century 1040 40-ton rotator, and operators Jim in Truck 144, a 2004 Peterbilt/Century 9055, Derk in Truck 164, a 2011 Ford E-250 service van, Adam in Truck 182 pulling their recovery trailer and John and Tyler. Upon arrival, Rich surveyed the scene. The first step was cutting and removing the guardrail posts using their K-12 rescue saw and the Century 9055 operated by Jim. While that was being accomplished, the team set up the recovery trucks. “They used two lines and two snatch blocks off of our heavy Truck 144 and ran snatch blocks to the rear legs to get a low pull and pull the trailer down onto the roadway” said Sena.  

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AmericanTowman.com | September 2020 • 25


Wireless headsets were used throughout the recovery.

Then they used both their Century 1040 rotator and Century 9055 heavy with two lines and snatch blocks each to pull the truck and trailer sideways approximately 20’. There was a concrete pipe and wall with water running through it between the rear of the truck and the landing legs of the trailer. They winched the tractor around the pipe and back up the embankment to the road with the Century 1040 while the 9055 held the back of the trailer.  “The crew had to pump out the left tank for safety before hooking up to the unit with Truck 166,” Sena said. “Then they ran air and a light cord and removed the axle to prep the casualty for tow. They towed it a short distance … for safety and met our road service Truck 164.” The two right rear tires were 26 • September 2020 | Towman.com

flat and had to be replaced for safe transport, so Derk removed the left front tire, removed the two right rear flat tires and singled out the rear with the front tire. Once this was completed, the tractor-trailer was transported as a single unit to MTR’s facility in Branchburg. Upon arrival there, the right fuel tank had sent fuel back over to the left tank and it was leaking again. They pumped out all fuel for safety.  “Wireless headsets were used throughout the recovery so all team members can remain in constant contact with one another,” Sena said. “On a highway job this is especially key because the roadway can be very noisy and it can prove difficult to communicate when you can’t always put eyes on each operator on the scene. “It’s a key to a recovery being performed safely and

professionally. Our recovery trailer is always a key vehicle on jobs like this. It holds everything we need from [absorbents] to our K-12 saws and every other piece of equipment that might be required on scene.” “The company sent a tractor to pick up the trailer the following day and we were directed to tow the tractor to a collision shop for repair, which we did,” said Sena.   Performing night maneuvers and handling this job in hazardous weather conditions made for a stressful recovery. “Great job to the Mike’s recovery crew including Rich, Jim and Derk, with Adam, John, and Tyler assisting,” Sena said. “A special shout out to Melissa, our dispatcher, for keeping cool under extreme pressure as the MTR team was out on three recoveries at once that evening.”


Mike’s Towing & Recovery Mike Sena, owner and operator of Mike’s Towing & Recovery in Bridgewater, New Jersey, has a stellar reputation for dealing with difficult recovery situations. He started out in 1980 single-handedly repairing cars in a small shop. In February 2020, Mike’s celebrated its 40th anniversary of service excellence in Somerset County. Over the past four decades, Mike’s Auto Service has evolved with the addition of Mike’s Towing & Recovery and Mike’s Fuel Delivery, an off-road diesel fuel delivery service. With state-of-the-art equipment including light- to heavy-duty tow trucks, rotators, tractors, trailers, service trucks and more, Mike’s has it covered.

Author’s note Many thanks to Joyce Testa Powers for providing much needed information for this job.

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AmericanTowman.com | September 2020 • 27


Tow Manager

Roadside Safety ‌ Where to Start? By Paul Stephens

Paul Stephens is a towing industry trainer with more than 34 years of towing experience. He has served as a consultant for many automobile manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, and companies for service provider education, towability and road service procedures.

P

rofessional services such as fire/ rescue, law enforcement and military have many common procedures in place that cover just about any situation. The command staff usually ensures that these policies and procedures are followed according to national standards and laws to protect all at-risk parties. There are many enforcement strategies such as loss of benefits, suspensions, demotions, or even terminations that work as an encouragement to follow those procedures. We roadside professionals see these professions, often working alongside them, and are left to wonder why we are not entirely included with them. Where is the seeming disconnect between our standards and theirs? (Though, yes, there is a minority percentage of tow companies that have strict guidelines in place.) Our industry could do much more

28 • September 2020 | Towman.com

to educate ourselves in roadside safety protocols. Most of the above-mentioned parties are government-funded, so they are not on the same page realistically as our private company funding, staffing, rules and regulations. These have big impacts in our businesses from the calls we take to education, staffing, balancing the bottom line, employee retention and more. The pandemic guidelines issued by states and local government for PPE has been an eye-opening experience for some companies as towing is deemed an essential business; the operators are on the front lines, interacting with customers, commercial accounts and first responders which now


takes extra precautions and protection. Some have resisted while others have embraced the mandates; some needed no instruction as they were already considering these steps to protect all parties. One thing that does seem to resonate between the pandemic, flu season, roadside calls, personal health and well-being is the need to protect yourself and your coworkers as no one will protect you better than yourself.

We rely on the Move Over law as it should protect most of the first responders working on the roadside; however, it cannot be viewed or accepted as any formal safety procedure.

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The entire industry needs some sort of a standardized protocol for roadside safety. We rely on the Move Over law as it should protect most of the first responders working on the roadside; however, it cannot be viewed or accepted as any formal safety procedure. The lack of ability to understand the law and/or enforce the law — and the judicial proceedings that usually end with a reduced fine or complete dismissal — cause most motorists to either ignore, forget or just disregard the realistic concern for our safety. These fines that are levied do not get the local or national attention, where a few of the larger fines could make an impact in the public eye. The longer the lack of enforcement goes, the longer we will see the number of incidents rise. There are several ways to install a roadside safety program into the smallest of companies. The easiest is starting with your local fire or police departments. The public relations or communications officer can assist with certain roadside protocols such as vehicle placement, emergency lane markings, proper PPE, etc. There are standard practices available online from reputable sources, and each company should investigate working with others local authorities to establish guidelines. The roadside world changes drastically by geographical areas and this landscape can come with liability repercussions. The liability you choose to take on should be considered and could require proper training regarding lane closures, traffic control devices, Uniform Traffic Control Devices training, etc. The world turns fast and every standard is revisited on

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AmericanTowman.com | September 2020 • 29


a regular basis, so staying up to date is crucial. Today they may say your cones or triangles should be a certain distance apart and next month they could be revised to a different distance. The lower standard views related to our industry seems to be partial uniforms, usually minimal PPE, a dirty reflective vest and a lax roadside manner. This isn’t how the majority of us operate, but it is generally how we are regarded. Let’s look at the standard small company: one truck, two drivers (a part-time operator and the business owner). The company will usually purchase one vest and keep it in the truck, not two or three, but one. That one vest gets shared between two operators daily and the reflectivity gets reduced every time it gets dirty or wet, sometimes it may get washed a few times, but mostly it will get stuck behind the

30 • September 2020 | Towman.com

seat and rarely used. This is the general mentality that, “I will be done faster than it will take to put on the vest and take it off.” Traffic cones can be handy when on the roadway shoulder, just make sure you never turn your back when placing them or removing them. I hear many operators advise they use their flood lights, beacon lights and anything else to slow a driver. However, an impaired driver will tend to be attracted to the lights so use them wisely. Not working on the roadside control panel is important; flatbeds and most trucks come with controls on the opposite side for a reason: to keep the operator away from the speeding traffic. As Move Over awareness becomes more mainstream (if?), the laws will need to be changed to keep up with the standard that separates tow trucks or roadside emergency

vehicles. This can be done with a simple lens color change through a national mandate. It will eventually separate all first responders from the construction, dump trucks, landscape vehicles, etc. that use only amber exclusively. (I was involved in a test in the fall of 2019 that proved one lens color change on a tow truck could increase the move over or reduced speed percentage by upwards of 80%.) We will change the future by acting as a formal recognized organization, not by adding more red tape to laws that are already being disregarded, not enforced, and null processed due to hardship pleas, compassionate judges or failures to appear in court. We will need to unite and work together to accomplish these lifesaving changes and seek a common goal of roadside safety for all professionals.


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32 • September 2020 | Towman.com

Supplier Scoop Felling Delivers Customized Cable Trailers

Southland Electric, a San Diego, CA electrical contractor, took delivery of their first FT-6 R cable reel in May from Felling Trailers; the trailer was equipped with hydraulic retriever/take-up, rim drive, with a self-contained hydraulic power pack. The FT-6 R cable reel allows a contractor to park the trailer mid-span of the run and pull it in both directions. The cable has to be emptied from the reel and laid on the ground, laying it in a figure 8 pattern; it prevents it from being twisted as it is pulled in two directions. To date, Felling Trailers has delivered three customized FT-6 R units to Southland Electric. Felling Trailers is a family-owned and operated Full Line Trailer Manufacturer located in Central Minnesota. Started in 1974, Felling Trailers, Inc. has grown from a small shop to a factory and office complex that today covers over 325,000 square feet. Felling’s pride and differentiation is its customized trailer division.


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September 2020

Akins Body & Carrier Sales.........................33

G. Stone Commerical.............................. N 55

Sanderson Truck Equipment.......................30

American Safety & Supply..........................29

Intek Leasing.............................................22

Santander Bank.........................................60

AmeriDeck.................................................27

Jerr-Dan Corporation....................................2

Sea Crest Insurance Agency...................W 55

Anchor Graphics........................................32

Kenworth of South Florida..........................41

Select Truck & Equipment......................M 54

Atlanta Wrecker Sales................................43

Len Zermenos............................................39

Sierra Pacific Insurance..........................W 51

Austin Insurance........................................22

McMahon Truck Center..........................M 51

Smyrna Truck & Cargo...............................49

AutoReturn...........................................23, 45

Metrocom..................................................22

TCF..............................................................3

B/A Products..............................................59

Mobile Binaries......................................W 56

Towbook Management Software.................17

Berkey Enterprises.................................M 54

New England Truckmaster...................... N 54

Tow Industries.......................................W 53

Captain Recovery................M 53, N 55, S 54,

North American Bancard............................19

TowMate....................................................43

Chevron Commercial..................................44

NRC Industries...........................................15

TowTruckLocator.com.............................W 53

Crouch’s Wrecker & Equip. Sales................31

Pacific General Insurance.......................M 55

Trail King...................................................42

Custer........................................................32

Peak Wrecker Sales...............................W 51

Tow Trucks for Sale.........M, N 56, S 55, W 54

Deep South Wrecker Sales.........................35

Performance Advantage Company..........M 55

Utility Trailer Sales S.E. TX......................W 55

Dual-Tech Wreckers & Carriers...................34

Progressive Commercial Insurance.............27

Warn Industries............................................5

Dynamic Towing Equipment & Mfg.............21

Quick Draw Tarpaulin Systems...................45

West End Service.......................................41

East Coast Truck & Trailer................... N, S 51

Recovery Billing Unlimited..........................29

Winches Inc...........................................W 56

Ford.............................................................7

RISC..........................................................35

Wrecker Warehouse...............................W 52

34 • September 2020 | Towman.com


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AmericanTowman.com | September 2020 • 35


Tow Boss

Carriers for Recoveries? 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 rreschran@gmail.com.

The on scene footprint is key in keeping the carrier’s deck solid to the ground during winching scenarios like this basic forward roll.

R

ollover recoveries aren’t new; recovery techniques haven’t changed. There’s more than one way to work recoveries. Training enables skilled operators to work incidents in the fastest manner possible, eliminating too much time on scene. California’s Vehicle Code defines, “A tow truck, is motor vehicle  which has

36 • September 2020 | Towman.com

been altered or designed and equipped for, and primarily used in the business of, transporting vehicles  by means of a crane, hoist,  tow  bar,  tow  line, or dolly or is otherwise primarily used to render assistance to other  vehicles. A ‘rollback carrier’ designed to carry up to two vehicles is also a tow truck.” This definition is confusing to


officers requesting the proper truck. Although CVC refers to rollback carriers as a “tow truck,” California’s law enforcement contracts typically don’t recognize carriers as recovery trucks. Carriers and competent, welltrained operators are capable of handling a large percentage of recovery scenarios. I’m not talking about those recoveries from hell or for overturned semis, but instead those “dead bug” wheels-up casualties blocking the highway’s flow. Over the years, carriers were given a bad rap. Manufacturers, some industry trainers and state tow associations have failed to support carriers from being approved by the LE community. Carriers should be touted for function and capabilities. Working rollovers with carriers includes arriving with a properly equipped truck outfitted with advanced equipment and operators skilled in Quick Clear capabilities.

RECOVERY MADE SIMPLE

Part of speed and efficiency is setting up the carrier properly to allow operators access to equipment and accessories. Carriers should be outfitted with appropriate equipment in accordance to the recovery being conducted. For the process of the recovery using carriers, consider the following: • Arrival & Positioning. Upon arrival, immediately conduct an arrival assessment while positioning close to the casualty and limiting the number of lanes needing to be closed. Depending on the agency you serve, you may not get additional lanes in which to work rollovers. Training should include carrier set up that requires minimal lane positioning. Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

Carriers handle debris and completely destroyed vehicles easily like this evidence request.

• Chain, Straps, Snatch blocks. Recovery scenarios demand a wide range of equipment. Carriers should be outfitted for varied recovery with items that are properly rated for recovery. • Solid Footprint. The recovery process is only as good as the truck’s footprint. Set emergency brakes, and use chock blocks for rearward stability where trucks tend to move when heavy pull begins. The deck’s tilted rear edge should firmly contact the pavement at its corners while the deck is (preferably) in line to the casualty. • Rig for Roll. Some rollovers are easy; others problematic. Towers should anticipate the occasional car from hell scenario by rigging recovery chain to include inserting a stiff leg when needed. Working stiff-leg procedures is an advanced technique that improves with practice. • Anticipate Spin-out. Ease winch-in controls to prevent the casualty from spinning and see that the vehicle “bites” on the pavement.

Over-aggressive winching causes the casualty to spin and you lose mechanical advantage. • The “Triple-Six Landing.” The average upside-down vehicle is approximately 6’ wide. Winching it onto its side is another 6’; finally, dropping it to the pavement is also 6’. Simple math suggests (minimally) 18’ to conduct rollovers while leaving another 20’ to spin the casualty in line with the carrier to load. Carriers are outfitted with 50’ of cable making this process doable. • Preventing Rollaway. Failure to arrest a vehicle’s roll could result in a secondary crash or rollaway incident. Even on flat pavement, rollaway is possible. Place long, 4x4s where the casualty lands once dropping through fall space. Other options are applying a 1” motorcycle strap to the vehicle’s emergency brake cable from the casualty’s underside or, for larger vehicles, thread chain through the vehicle’s rim back to its frame.

AmericanTowman.com | September 2020 • 37


This carrier is more than capable in working all recoveries except for those requiring a boom for lift.

WHAT ABOUT CARRIERS?

When competent operators know their equipment, they work complicated recoveries with fast and successful results. However, according to CHP’s contract under “Tow Truck Classifications,” it states, “An operator who has a car carrier is exempted from the recovery, wheel lift, and boom capability requirements. However, the car carrier must be an additional unit and shall not be used for recovery.” The wording creates confusion with the LE community. However, here are seven solid reasons why carriers are right for recovery: • Strength and operational qualities have advanced in 35 years. • It’s standard practice for officers and police dispatchers to routinely forget to request a recovery (winch) truck. •  Properly trained operators handle a plethora of situations quickly and efficiently. • For accident scenes involving incredible impact, carriers handle “difficult to tow” casualty vehicles, without a need for tow dollies. • Most carriers are equipped with wheel lift or stinger 38 • September 2020 | Towman.com

capability making them adept in transporting/towing two vehicles from multi-vehicle accident scenes. • When equipped with side-pull devices, carriers are capable of advanced winching scenarios. • For large debris items or problematic/destroyed vehicles, they’re easily loaded and secured to efficiently remove large items of debris.

KNOW-IT-ALL COPS

There’s a give and take towers should understand about the LE community and their on-scene powers. If you’re an experienced tower, you’ve no doubt worked incidents where some officers seem to know more about towing than you. If you’re formally trained and have that varsity mentality, you’re the operator and it’s your job to work it professionally and competently, not the cops. In most considerations, LE academies don’t teach towing and recovery. Most of the LE community learns about towing and recovery on the job. When they see incompetent operators struggling to work recoveries, it shapes their opinions of our inabilities.

If you’re company dispatches carriers to highway calls, your operator had better be that varsity player capable of working rollovers in either style truck. For 50 years, I’ve been on both sides of the recovery fence. I can’t remember how many rollovers I’ve worked using a carrier because I’m confident and competent in my abilities. As a former police traffic accident investigator, my on-scene experience with tow operators has been favorable. Speed and efficiency (during recovery) is entirely in the hands of experienced operators who know the ins and outs of towing and recovery. Both wreckers and carriers require continued practice in working rollovers to realize their individual characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. The success and usability of carriers outfitted with modern side-pull devices enables them to work angled, side, and rear winch-out recoveries. Side-pullers are equipped with downrigger stabilizers to help steady the carrier during recovery work. No one likes change, especially the LE community, but I challenge tow truck manufacturers, tow associations, and highway patrol agencies to reconsider their stance on allowing carriers for recoveries. I challenge state associations and tow manufacturers to prove and convince the LE community that carriers have sufficient capabilities and abilities. In the hands of competent operators, carrier recoveries can be conducted in the best interests of Quick Clear programs. It’s time that police and highway patrol contract guidelines are updated to recognize today’s modern carriers are recovery trucks.


Workhorse By Steve Calitri

Jerr-Dan’s long under-reach pays off by towing an RV.

Making the Rotator Pay

T

Steve Calitri Editor-in-Chief scalitri@towman.com

Editor’s note: Special thanks to Hailey Raleigh for providing information and images on the recoveries.

he Johnson family of Hampshire Towing in South Hadley, Mass pondered adding a 60-ton rotator for quite some time. With such a large investment they wanted to be sure that this was the right move for their company. To their surprise and satisfaction, they believe purchasing the 60-ton rotator was one of the best business decisions they have made to date! “I zeroed into this Rotator at the 2019 American Towman Exposition,” said company President Bill Johnson. ”It’s no secret that Jerr-Dan has an amazing reliable product but the 60-ton rotator has taken Hampshire Towing on jobs people wouldn’t have thought we could do before the rotator! “I think most people think if there are not huge wrecks a rotator will not pay for itself. But that’s selling short the rotator’s versatility. I will admit we bought ours at a difficult time, December 2019. By the time we got the truck equipped, lettered and in service, Covid hit 3 weeks later. The start was difficult but we still feel it was a good decision.”

40 • September 2020 | Towman.com

Hampshire Towing also operates conventional heavy duty wreckers. The several jobs shown here are examples of why and how the Rotator was chosen for the recovery.

USPS HUB RECOVERY RED TRACTOR

The driver had departed the dock after unloading the mail and made contact with a bollard that was protecting the fire hydrant. It had pushed the axle back a foot pinching the bollard between the drag link, tire and axle.  The rotator helped clear the height needed and swung the truck clear of the obstruction.

VACCUM TRUCK (Cover Photo)

The design of the Vac truck allowed excessive overhang of the tank and fittings making it difficult to get a good lift without taking a good amount of weight from the steer axle of our integrated heavy-duty wrecker. Hampshire chose the rotator for the tire lift and heavy lifting capabilities at extended reach.  (Tank was empty at point in tow)


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AmericanTowman.com | September 2020 • 41


The versatility of the rotator was evident when lifting the USPS tractor that was caught by a fire hydrant and protective bollard.

RV TOW

The RV was roughly five hours from the shop, and with that kind of distance, they dispatched a truck that could get the job done regardless. It was the best choice as well since the RV had an air ride front end

42 • September 2020 | Towman.com

that was fairly set back on the chassis, as well as an onboard generator that would have made frame forking difficult. The tire lift made it quick and easy as Jerr-Dan has a long under-reach at 181 inches. That reach allowed the unit to tow the RV. 

HOLYOKE MALL

A weary rental box truck driver got lost and decided he was going to turn around on the top deck of the parking garage, thus coming in contact with the height restriction pylon and shearing it from its moorings.


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AmericanTowman.com | September 2020 • 43


Recovering a tractor trailer over a curb turns into a tricky proposition.

Holyoke Mall mishap.

44 • September 2020 | Towman.com

This became wedged between the cab and box of the truck. Hampshire considered the parking structure, as it was a ramp for cars; the reach of the Rotator kept the truck on hard ground and allowed it to reach the casualty and maneuver the pylon safely onto othe Contral trailer.

Says Rob Johnson, the lead recovery specialist at Hampshire: “The Rotator allowed us to recover the truck and keep the parking structure intact.”

THE CURB

We had to pick up a tractortrailer over the curb while also being concerned about the oil pan.


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AmericanTowman.com | September 2020 • 45


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Beacons

On!

Electrocution Hazards at Crash Scenes By Bobby Tuttle

Municipal Editor Bobby Tuttle has been involved in the towing and recovery industry since 1977 at all levels including Traffic Incident Management response in San Antonio, Texas. He also serves as the Incident Manager for the SAPD towing contract. He founded Complete Incident Response Training in 2003.

Treat each roadside structure as if it has electric power connected to it.

A

long with all the other dangers that tow operators face these days — drunk/drugged/distracted drivers, virus exposure, etc. — is another somewhat hidden danger is our exposure to high-voltage electrical shock hazards. These hazards have the possibility to exist at a crash scene when a wrecked vehicle of any size makes contact with roadway infrastructure. Roadway infrastructure can include things like streetlights, traffic signal boxes, overhead sign structures and more. The electrical voltage for these structures can be extremely high and can present a lethal shock hazard. Many of these structures may contain voltage as high as 440V. Over the years I’ve seen and heard many examples of a tow operator who was unaware that a wrecked vehicle came to rest on top of a light pole’s base. During winching of the wrecked vehicle, the electrical wires on the base shorted out and set the wrecked vehicle on fire. Many times, there were no indications of an electrical short until the vehicle began to be winched off the structure. (Luckily, in 48 • September 2020 | Towman.com

most cases, the towman was uninjured.) This is another good reason why a good walk-around scene inspection is so critical. During the scene inspection, don’t forget to look under the wrecked vehicle for any possible issues. If you discover a wrecked vehicle is in contact with a roadway structure, how do you know if the structure still has electrical power connected? The simple answer is you don’t. Always treat the structure as if it has electrical power connected. Take the needed steps to find out if the structure has electrical power. If law enforcement is your scene contact, ask them if the fire department, DOT or local power company was on scene before you arrived and verified the electrical power had been disconnected. If the wrecked vehicle’s driver is the only contact on scene, I recommend calling law enforcement and reporting the incident before proceeding with the recovery. Look for clear signs that the structure still has electrical power such as the overhead freeway sign being illuminated at night. Some, but not all


traffic-signal boxes and other electrical power boxes may have a flashing red light on the outside of the box that indicates there is electrical power into the structure. Even if you are reasonably sure that the electrical power to the structure has been turned off, move forward in the recovery of the wrecked vehicle as if the structure still has electrical power. The No. 1 protection should be a pair of Class 0 gloves, commonly called Lineman gloves. Most of these Class 0 gloves can protect the user from a shock hazard up to 1,000V. There are many different types of these gloves sold, so check the ratings carefully. These gloves can be purchased from many suppliers and are usually priced under $100. Another safety tactic is to hook up a proper size and type of nylon or synthetic rigging sling between your winchline hook and the

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

connection to the wrecked vehicle. Some nylon and synthetic materials are — generally — considered to be good insulators and therefore less likely to transfer electricity. Check with the supplier of the nylon or synthetic rigging sling for specific information on their protection from high voltage. Make sure the nylon or synthetic rigging is clean. Nylon or synthetic rigging that is wet, oily, or greasy can conduct electricity through the contaminants on the sling. Always remember, wrecked vehicles of any size that are in contact with powered roadway infrastructure can present unique dangers that cause injury or death. Use extreme caution at these crash scenes. Don’t be afraid to ask for verification that the electrical power has been shut down to the structure before proceeding with the recovery.

Safety Advertisers American Safety & Supply ...................see p. 29 Anchor Graphics .................. see p. 32 Berkey Enterprises .......... see p. M 54 Quick Draw Tarpaulin Systems... see p. 45 RISC ......................... see p. 35

Author’s note I am not an electrician; this article is not a substitute for professional advice from a trained electrician. … When I was a kid, I touched my tongue to a 9V radio battery. It hurt; I think about that experience every time I need to deal with anything that uses electrical power. … Use all tools available to perform the recovery safely. I always carry a 9V battery with me just in case I need a reminder!

AmericanTowman.com | September 2020 • 49


Lowdown

Surviving Together

O

Steve Calitri Editor-in-Chief scalitri@towman.com

ver the years articles have appeared in American Towman promoting ways that tow operations may pool their resources and save money. Now is a good time to reexamine what areas of your operation could be shared with other companies. Yes, you heard right, collaboration with competitors. Pooling dispatch resources, tow operators, equipment, and equipment maintenance are opportunities to cut or share costs. The goal today is survival for most towing companies, and the goal always should be profitability. In every market area there are a few companies where pooling their resources makes sense. Making this move with companies that share a like level of professionalism, competence, and customer service allows a collaboration that serves the customer as well as the companies involved. In the free enterprise system everyone strives to be competitive and win out in the marketplace. This is healthy but can also stress out a business. Striving to be the market leader can burden a company with management headaches, rising costs, and a big nut to crack each month on payroll and equipment payments. Establishing friendships in the market does not take away from striving to be number one if friendships become alliances where it makes sense to join forces. Over the years tow bosses have found this out to be true when calling in another qualified tower on a recovery job, sharing dispatch duties, loaning out drivers or sharing a garage for truck maintenance. How about going in to pitch a commercial contract with another company that strengthens the outlook for each towing company. Maybe each one owns and operates a rotator, but two rotators meet the demands of this commercial account. There’s nothing wrong with friendships and there’s something beautiful about them. Friendships benefit everyone.

50 • September 2020 | Towman.com

New Jersey’s Hawk’s Towing and Recovery and Risoldi’s Automotive teamed up for a box truck hanging from an overpass

Pooling resources requires trust in the tow bosses who are in on it. In this dog eat dog industry trust may be a rare commodity but the right tow business owners can find it. If the reputations of the potential collaborators are ones of integrity and the goals can be agreed upon, pooling resources can work. If pooling resources can save each company thousands of dollars a month, each company has an incentive to make it work. Such “friendships” usually have long term benefits. Such friends have sometimes sold out the business to the one they worked closely with, sold a piece of equipment to him, or simply benefited over time from advice they gave one another. Blessed be the businessman who goes to his or her grave where competitors and friends show up at the wake, or put a truck in the funeral procession honoring the dedication of that tower. If the wheels are turning over the possibilities, good. There are many paths to survival in this challenging time.


Behind the Wheel

Reducing the Risk of Deer-Vehicle Collisions By David A. Kolman

T AT Chassis Editor David Kolman is a multi-faceted trucking trade journalist with experience in print, online and broadcasting. He has hosted trucker television and radio programs and helped write trucking industry documentaries and video programs.

he likelihood of a driver colliding with a deer more than doubles during the months of October, November and December. That is when deer are most active. This is their migration and mating season – a time when male deer go into rut and begin actively searching for mates. This puts more deer in roadways than at any other time of year. Compounding matters is the rise in deer populations in recent years. More accidents occur during the night, or anytime between dusk and dawn. Deer are nocturnal animals and spend most of their time foraging during these periods. Moreover, intensifying the danger is the combination of deer being more active and people are driving more in the dark due to the shorter daylight hours.

North 52 • September 2020 | Towman.com

COSTLY COLLISIONS

Whether a vehicle hits a deer, or a deer jumps into the side of a vehicle, such collisions can cause significant injuries and property damage. Studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the U.S. DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate there are some 1.6 million deer-vehicle collisions annually in the U.S. The collisions cause around 200 fatalities, tens of thousands of injuries and more than $3 billion in vehicle damage. That does not include the costs of unscheduled vehicle downtime, unplanned vehicle repair and the loss of fleet productivity.


SAFETY MEASURES

While not all deer-vehicle collisions can be prevented, note safety officials, the most effective way to avoid them is through attentive driving behavior. They say driver reaction usually dictates the severity of such accidents. Safety officials recommend the following precautions to help keep drivers safe and minimize the chances of colliding with a deer when driving:

eyes. If you see eyes reflected in your headlights, slow down immediately. • Headlights tend to hypnotize deer when a vehicle approaches. If a deer is spotted, be alert, slow down quickly and sound the horn to try and scare it away. Be prepared to safely stop if necessary. • If deer are near the road, use the emergency flashers to alert other drivers of their presence.

Whether a vehicle hits a deer, or a deer jumps into the side of a vehicle, such collisions can cause significant injuries and property damage. •  Heed deer crossing signs. Decrease vehicle speed in these areas and drive with extra caution. The sooner a deer is seen on or approaching a roadway, the better the chance of avoiding a collision. •  Be especially watchful in areas near woods, farmlands, water and areas known to have a large deer population. When driving through these areas, keep your eyes moving and continually glance to both sides of the road. • Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer. Studies have shown them to be largely ineffective. •  At night, when possible, use high-beam headlights because they better illuminate the edges of the road where deer may linger. Look for the reflection of light in a deer’s Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

• If a deer is spotted, more are usually nearby. Deer often move in groups and in single file. •  Deer are unpredictable in their movements, especially when confronted with glaring headlights, blaring horns and moving vehicles. Be prepared for the unexpected. • Never assume to know how a deer will react. A deer calmly standing on the side of a road may dart suddenly in front of you, stop in the middle of the road, double back to the side of the road where it came from or rush across to the other side of the road. • Always wear a seat belt. This is the best way to reduce injuries if a collision cannot be avoided. An IIHS study found that 60 percent of people killed in animalvehicle collisions were not

wearing their seat belt. • If a collision with a deer seems inevitable, brake firmly and attempt to stop. Resist the urge to swerve to avoid the deer as vehicle control may be lost. This increases the risk of injury due to hitting another vehicle or a fixed object like a tree or a guardrail.

FINAL ADVICE

If you strike a deer, safety officials say to move your vehicle safely off the road and report the accident to local law enforcement, animal control or game commission. Furthermore, they warn staying away from the deer. It may just be stunned and could become overly aggressive if aroused. A frightened and wounded deer can hurt you or further injure itself. Photograph the scene, add the officials, and report the incident to your vehicle insurance company.

Top 10 According to insurance provider State Farm’s latest (2019) annual claim study, the 10 states with the highest odds that drivers are likely to have a claim involving an animal-vehicle collision, are, in order: 1. West Virginia 2. Montana 3. Pennsylvania 4. South Dakota 5. Iowa 6. Wyoming 7. Wisconsin 8. Michigan 9. Mississippi 10. Minnesota

AmericanTowman.com | F September 2020 • North 53


Supplier Scoop Isuzu Trucks Now In All Fifty States

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, Inc., distributor of America’s best-selling low-cab-forward trucks, today welcomed its newest dealership, located in Casper, Wyoming. With the addition of Isuzu Truck of Wyoming, the company now has dealerships in all 50 states. The dealership, located at 4113 W. Yellowstone Highway in Casper, is owned and operated by William F. and R. Fred DeVore. “We are thrilled to welcome the DeVore brothers and Isuzu Truck of Wyoming to the Isuzu family,” said Shaun C. Skinner, president of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America. The DeVores already have a strong truck presence throughout the state and are actively involved in the communities they serve. They will represent Isuzu well in the Equality State.

“We are even more pleased that we can now offer parts, service and sales to our customers in every state in the union,” Skinner said.

AT Expo Goes Virtual

With American Towman trade shows postponed until 2021, as with all tow industry shows, AT has introduced Virtual Aisle, Show Scout, affording Internet surfers an opportunity to scout out towing’s progressive suppliers and what they have to offer. Virtual Aisle showcases featured products from American Towman ehibitors, demonstrations via video, and special deals being offered. AT’s Virtual Aisle continues to evolve to capture the diversity of the American Towman Experience; special attractions like The Towman Monument and Towman Chopper, Mike Corbin singing a Towman Ballad, and video clips from the Tow-

North 54 • September 2020 | Towman.com

man Medal Ceremony. The Virtual Aisle is also developing mini-two minute seminars on specific topics related to the various challenges that face a towing operation. “The Virtual Aisle cannot match the live experience of attending an Exposition. We understand that,” said Doc Calitri, president of AT Expo Corp. “But it can deliver dynamic content in a short period of time that suits a tower’s time contraints and requires no dollar investmen. It’s also a great resource in its own right.”


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | F September 2020 • North 55


Behind the Wheel

Reducing the Risk of Deer-Vehicle Collisions By David A. Kolman

T AT Chassis Editor David Kolman is a multi-faceted trucking trade journalist with experience in print, online and broadcasting. He has hosted trucker television and radio programs and helped write trucking industry documentaries and video programs.

he likelihood of a driver colliding with a deer more than doubles during the months of October, November and December. That is when deer are most active. This is their migration and mating season – a time when male deer go into rut and begin actively searching for mates. This puts more deer in roadways than at any other time of year. Compounding matters is the rise in deer populations in recent years. More accidents occur during the night, or anytime between dusk and dawn. Deer are nocturnal animals and spend most of their time foraging during these periods. Moreover, intensifying the danger is the combination of deer being more active and people are driving more in the dark due to the shorter daylight hours.

South 52 • September 2020 | Towman.com

COSTLY COLLISIONS

Whether a vehicle hits a deer, or a deer jumps into the side of a vehicle, such collisions can cause significant injuries and property damage. Studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the U.S. DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate there are some 1.6 million deer-vehicle collisions annually in the U.S. The collisions cause around 200 fatalities, tens of thousands of injuries and more than $3 billion in vehicle damage. That does not include the costs of unscheduled vehicle downtime, unplanned vehicle repair and the loss of fleet productivity.


SAFETY MEASURES

While not all deer-vehicle collisions can be prevented, note safety officials, the most effective way to avoid them is through attentive driving behavior. They say driver reaction usually dictates the severity of such accidents. Safety officials recommend the following precautions to help keep drivers safe and minimize the chances of colliding with a deer when driving:

eyes. If you see eyes reflected in your headlights, slow down immediately. • Headlights tend to hypnotize deer when a vehicle approaches. If a deer is spotted, be alert, slow down quickly and sound the horn to try and scare it away. Be prepared to safely stop if necessary. • If deer are near the road, use the emergency flashers to alert other drivers of their presence.

Whether a vehicle hits a deer, or a deer jumps into the side of a vehicle, such collisions can cause significant injuries and property damage. •  Heed deer crossing signs. Decrease vehicle speed in these areas and drive with extra caution. The sooner a deer is seen on or approaching a roadway, the better the chance of avoiding a collision. •  Be especially watchful in areas near woods, farmlands, water and areas known to have a large deer population. When driving through these areas, keep your eyes moving and continually glance to both sides of the road. • Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer. Studies have shown them to be largely ineffective. •  At night, when possible, use high-beam headlights because they better illuminate the edges of the road where deer may linger. Look for the reflection of light in a deer’s Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

• If a deer is spotted, more are usually nearby. Deer often move in groups and in single file. •  Deer are unpredictable in their movements, especially when confronted with glaring headlights, blaring horns and moving vehicles. Be prepared for the unexpected. • Never assume to know how a deer will react. A deer calmly standing on the side of a road may dart suddenly in front of you, stop in the middle of the road, double back to the side of the road where it came from or rush across to the other side of the road. • Always wear a seat belt. This is the best way to reduce injuries if a collision cannot be avoided. An IIHS study found that 60 percent of people killed in animalvehicle collisions were not

wearing their seat belt. • If a collision with a deer seems inevitable, brake firmly and attempt to stop. Resist the urge to swerve to avoid the deer as vehicle control may be lost. This increases the risk of injury due to hitting another vehicle or a fixed object like a tree or a guardrail.

FINAL ADVICE

If you strike a deer, safety officials say to move your vehicle safely off the road and report the accident to local law enforcement, animal control or game commission. Furthermore, they warn staying away from the deer. It may just be stunned and could become overly aggressive if aroused. A frightened and wounded deer can hurt you or further injure itself. Photograph the scene, add the officials, and report the incident to your vehicle insurance company.

Top 10 According to insurance provider State Farm’s latest (2019) annual claim study, the 10 states with the highest odds that drivers are likely to have a claim involving an animal-vehicle collision, are, in order: 1. West Virginia 2. Montana 3. Pennsylvania 4. South Dakota 5. Iowa 6. Wyoming 7. Wisconsin 8. Michigan 9. Mississippi 10. Minnesota

AmericanTowman.com | September 2020 • South 53


Supplier Scoop Isuzu Trucks Now In All Fifty States

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, Inc., distributor of America’s best-selling low-cab-forward trucks, today welcomed its newest dealership, located in Casper, Wyoming. With the addition of Isuzu Truck of Wyoming, the company now has dealerships in all 50 states. The dealership, located at 4113 W. Yellowstone Highway in Casper, is owned and operated by William F. and R. Fred DeVore. “We are thrilled to welcome the DeVore brothers and Isuzu Truck of Wyoming to the Isuzu family,” said Shaun C. Skinner, president of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America. The DeVores already have a strong truck presence throughout the state and are actively involved in the communities they serve. They will represent Isuzu well in the Equality State.

“We are even more pleased that we can now offer parts, service and sales to our customers in every state in the union,” Skinner said.

AT Expo Goes Virtual

With American Towman trade shows postponed until 2021, as with all tow industry shows, AT has introduced Virtual Aisle, Show Scout, affording Internet surfers an opportunity to scout out towing’s progressive suppliers and what they have to offer. Virtual Aisle showcases featured products from American Towman ehibitors, demonstrations via video, and special deals being offered. AT’s Virtual Aisle continues to evolve to capture the diversity of the American Towman Experience; special attractions like The Towman Monument and Towman Chopper, Mike Corbin singing a Towman Ballad, and video clips from the Tow-

South 54 • September 2020 | Towman.com

man Medal Ceremony. The Virtual Aisle is also developing mini-two minute seminars on specific topics related to the various challenges that face a towing operation. “The Virtual Aisle cannot match the live experience of attending an Exposition. We understand that,” said Doc Calitri, president of AT Expo Corp. “But it can deliver dynamic content in a short period of time that suits a tower’s time contraints and requires no dollar investmen. It’s also a great resource in its own right.”


South 56 • September 2020 | Towman.com


Behind the Wheel

Reducing the Risk of Deer-Vehicle Collisions By David A. Kolman

T AT Chassis Editor David Kolman is a multi-faceted trucking trade journalist with experience in print, online and broadcasting. He has hosted trucker television and radio programs and helped write trucking industry documentaries and video programs.

he likelihood of a driver colliding with a deer more than doubles during the months of October, November and December. That is when deer are most active. This is their migration and mating season – a time when male deer go into rut and begin actively searching for mates. This puts more deer in roadways than at any other time of year. Compounding matters is the rise in deer populations in recent years. More accidents occur during the night, or anytime between dusk and dawn. Deer are nocturnal animals and spend most of their time foraging during these periods. Moreover, intensifying the danger is the combination of deer being more active and people are driving more in the dark due to the shorter daylight hours.

Midwest 52 • September 2020 | Towman.com

COSTLY COLLISIONS

Whether a vehicle hits a deer, or a deer jumps into the side of a vehicle, such collisions can cause significant injuries and property damage. Studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the U.S. DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate there are some 1.6 million deer-vehicle collisions annually in the U.S. The collisions cause around 200 fatalities, tens of thousands of injuries and more than $3 billion in vehicle damage. That does not include the costs of unscheduled vehicle downtime, unplanned vehicle repair and the loss of fleet productivity.


SAFETY MEASURES

While not all deer-vehicle collisions can be prevented, note safety officials, the most effective way to avoid them is through attentive driving behavior. They say driver reaction usually dictates the severity of such accidents. Safety officials recommend the following precautions to help keep drivers safe and minimize the chances of colliding with a deer when driving: •  Heed deer crossing signs. Decrease vehicle speed in these areas and drive with extra caution. The sooner a deer is seen on or approaching a roadway, the better the chance of avoiding a collision. •  Be especially watchful in areas near woods, farmlands, water and areas known to have a large deer population. When driving through these

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

Whether a vehicle hits a deer, or a deer jumps into the side of a vehicle, such collisions can cause significant injuries and property damage. areas, keep your eyes moving and continually glance to both sides of the road. • Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer. Studies have shown them to be largely ineffective. •  At night, when possible, use high-beam headlights because they better illuminate the edges of the road where deer may linger. Look for the reflection of light in a deer’s

eyes. If you see eyes reflected in your headlights, slow down immediately. • Headlights tend to hypnotize deer when a vehicle approaches. If a deer is spotted, be alert, slow down quickly and sound the horn to try and scare it away. Be prepared to safely stop if necessary. • If deer are near the road, use the emergency flashers to alert other drivers of their presence.

AmericanTowman.com | September 2020 • Midwest 53


•  If a deer is spotted, more are usually nearby. Deer often move in groups and in single file. •  Deer are unpredictable in their movements, especially when confronted with glaring headlights, blaring horns and moving vehicles. Be prepared for the unexpected. • Never assume to know how a deer will react. A deer calmly standing on the side of a road may dart suddenly in front of you, stop in the middle of the road, double back to the side of the road where it came from or rush across to the other side of the road. • Always wear a seat belt. This is the best way to reduce injuries if a collision cannot be avoided. An IIHS study found that 60 percent of people killed in animal-vehicle collisions were not wearing their seat belt. • If a collision with a deer seems inevitable, brake firmly and attempt to stop. Resist the urge to swerve to avoid the deer as vehicle control may be lost. This increases the risk of injury due to hitting another vehicle or a fixed object like a tree or a guardrail.

FINAL ADVICE

If you strike a deer, safety officials say to move your vehicle safely off the road and report the accident to local law enforcement, animal control or game commission. Furthermore, they warn staying away from the deer. It may just be stunned and could become overly aggressive if aroused. A frightened and wounded deer can hurt you or further injure itself. Photograph the scene, add the officials, and report the incident to your vehicle insurance company.

Midwest 54 • September 2020 | Towman.com


Top 10 According to insurance provider State Farm’s latest (2019) annual claim study, the 10 states with the highest odds that drivers are likely to have a claim involving an animal-vehicle collision, are, in order: 1. West Virginia 2. Montana 3. Pennsylvania 4. South Dakota 5. Iowa 6. Wyoming 7. Wisconsin 8. Michigan 9. Mississippi 10. Minnesota

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | September 2020 • Midwest 55


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | September 2020 • West 51


Behind the Wheel

Reducing the Risk of Deer-Vehicle Collisions By David A. Kolman

AT Chassis Editor David Kolman is a multi-faceted trucking trade journalist with experience in print, online and broadcasting. He has hosted trucker television and radio programs and helped write trucking industry documentaries and video programs.

T

he likelihood of a driver colliding with a deer more than doubles during the months of October, November and December. That is when deer are most active. This is their migration and mating season – a time when male deer go into rut and begin actively searching for mates. This puts more deer in roadways than at any other time of year. Compounding matters is the rise in deer populations in recent years. More accidents occur during the night, or anytime between dusk and dawn. Deer are nocturnal animals and spend most of their time foraging during these periods. Moreover, intensifying the danger is the combination of deer being more active and people are driving more in the dark due to the shorter daylight hours.

West 52 • September 2020 | Towman.com

COSTLY COLLISIONS

Studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the U.S. DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate there are some 1.6 million deer-vehicle collisions annually in the U.S. The collisions cause around 200 fatalities, tens of thousands of injuries and more than $3 billion in vehicle damage. That does not include the costs of unscheduled vehicle downtime, unplanned vehicle repair and the loss of fleet productivity.

SAFETY MEASURES

Safety officials recommend the following precautions to help keep drivers safe and minimize the chances of colliding with a deer when driving:


• Heed deer crossing signs. Decrease vehicle speed in these areas and drive with extra caution. •  Be especially watchful in areas near woods, farmlands, water and areas known to have a large deer population. Keep eyes moving, glancing to both sides of the road. •  Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer. Studies have shown them to be largely ineffective. • At night, when possible, use highbeam headlights because they better illuminate the edges of the road where deer may linger. Look for the reflection of light in a deer’s eyes. •  Headlights tend to hypnotize deer when a vehicle approaches. If a deer is spotted, be alert, slow down quickly and sound the horn to try and scare it away. • If deer are near the road, use the flashers to alert other drivers. •  If a deer is spotted, more are usually nearby. Deer move in groups and single file. •  Deer are unpredictable in their movements, especially when confronted with glaring headlights, blaring horns and moving vehicles. •  Never assume to know how a deer will react. • Wear a seat belt. An IIHS study found that 60 percent of people killed in animal-vehicle collisions were not wearing their seat belt. • If a collision with a deer seems inevitable, brake firmly and attempt to stop. Resist the urge to swerve to avoid the deer as vehicle control may be lost.

FINAL ADVICE

If you strike a deer, safety officials say to move your vehicle safely off the road and report the accident to local law enforcement, animal control or game commission. Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | September 2020 • West 53


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | September 2020 • West 55


West 56 • September 2020 | Towman.com


Episode 188

CopyrightŠ2020 American Towman Magazine. Characters and stories are fictitious; no resemblance to real life characters is intended.


Send your thoughts/suggestions on the Adventures to scalitri@towman.com or American Towman, 2 Overlook Dr #5, Warwick NY 10990


Profile for dortiz-towman

American Towman Magazine - September 2020  

American Towman Magazine - September 2020