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Safety

The Blinding Truth About Lights Is it Smart to be the Brightest? By John Borowski

John Borowski is VP of Tow Industry Programs for AutoReturn. John has over 45 years experience as a tow business owner, wrecker manufacturer specialist, trainer and writer. He was awarded the first “Towman of the Year” by American Towman magazine and two Towman Medals for heroism. He was inducted in the Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame in 2001.

All types of emergency lighting can be blinding, and lead to roadside accidents.

S Note: Special thanks to Allstate Roadside and their commitment to tow operator safety.

AT’s Safety Focus sponsored by

ome might say that I’ve been around towing since the days when emergency lights were candles with mirrors behind them. While untrue, I have seen a lot of changes for the better over the years. Seriously speaking, back when I started towing, emergency lights were blinking lollipops—or bubblegum machines as we called them back in the day. They consisted of a bulb in the center with a mirror that ran around the bulb on a sprocket. As time went on, strobes started showing up on tow trucks. Everybody liked the strobes. Due to demand, they became brighter and brighter.

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Then, many more configurations of strobe lights came out. You could mount them in your grille, in your turn signals, or practically anywhere on the truck. Strobes had become a generational trends and operators couldn’t get enough of them. Any tow operator on the road today can tell you that they have been blinded by an overabundance of lights, specifically strobes, and accident rates have increased in turn. Towers are aware that a large number of people get struck on the roadside by passing motorists. As a matter of fact, since the International Towing and Recovery Museum and Hall of Fame started up the