More from: tow operator

Know Your Tow Equipment and How to Use It

America has a lot of unsung heroes who really don’t get the recognition due to them. Among them are tow truck operators who risk their lives every day to recover broken down vehicles. We appreciate the efforts of these towing professionals , which is a primary reason for our decision to stock tow truck supplies including chains, hooks, winches, and towing straps.

This is the time of year we start hearing some of the wildest and craziest stories from tow operators. The later we get in a year, the wilder and crazier those stories will become. You see, winter weather makes already dangerous conditions absolutely treacherous for roadside recoveries. Any tow truck operator who has worked a winter on snow and ice-covered roads can tell stories that would make your hair stand on end.

We say all of that to say this: it is absolutely vital for tow operators to make sure they have all the right equipment on board to safely recover broken-down vehicles. But it is also critically important that operators know how to use that equipment the right way. A little knowledge goes a long way toward both effective and fast vehicle recovery.

Get In, Hook Up, Get Out

It is obviously necessary for tow operators to properly secure recovered vehicles with chains and straps before departing. To that end, rushing through a recovery job is not a good idea. But at the same time, a tow operator wants to get in, hook up, and get out as quickly as possible. Lingering for too long is an open invitation to trouble.

Knowing how to use towing equipment the right way increases both safety and speed. In terms of safety, a properly secured vehicle is a lot less likely to break loose during transport. That should be obvious. But let us talk about the speed question. Remember that a tow operator doesn’t want to hang around on the side of the road for too long.

If you have seen a professional lumberjack competition, you will notice that the men and women competing for the top prize can hack through a log in mere minutes. They are fast and efficient because they know how to use their tools. The same principle applies to operating a tow truck.

A tow operator who knows how to use his or her equipment can, and should, practice doing so. It should become second nature so that, on any given recovery job, the operator doesn’t have to spend 15 to 20 minutes figuring out what needs to be done. The more efficiently an operator can deploy chains and straps, the more quickly he or she can get out of harm’s way.

Know What You Need

Another side to towing equipment is knowing what is needed to complete most recoveries. For example, every tow truck is going to be equipped with a basic inventory of chains, straps, and hooks. But let’s say you operate a towing company in north-central Pennsylvania. Your trucks could be recovering a lot of vehicles from the mountain passes of I-81 this winter.

Your trucks might also need to be equipped with motorized winches and heavy-duty cables. Otherwise, how are you going to get those cars that have managed to find their way into ditches? Once recovered, your drivers may have to deploy some creative tiedown methods to overcome car damage.

Recovering broken-down vehicles is always a sticky situation. Doing it during the winter adds an extra element of danger brought on by severe weather. If you are tow operator, we implore you to make sure you know your tow equipment and how to use it.


Tow Operators Have to Be Ready for Anything

What does a typical day for you look like? If you are a tow operator, there is no such thing as a typical day. Between cars that will not start, and heavily-damaged vehicles involved in accidents, you have to be ready for just about anything. Even a truck spilling a load of potatoes on the highway is not out of the question.

Those of us who don’t work in the towing and recovery industry tend to think of towing as little more than recovering cars with dead batteries or faulty starters. We may give a slight nod to recovering cars off the side of the interstate following an accident, but most of us have never given any thought to recoveries involving tractor trailers, construction equipment, or dozens of mangled vehicles involved in a multi-vehicle collision during the middle of winter.

To do their jobs right, tow operators need a virtual library of knowledge accompanied by practical experience and the right tools. We can help where the tools are concerned. Mytee Products offers a full catalog of products ranging from towing chains and hooks to hauling straps and emergency towing lights.

The Right Equipment for Those Big Jobs

We hear plenty of stories from tow operators who visit our showroom in need of a few towing supplies. Many of those stories involve pretty big operations requiring multiple tow trucks and drivers. The big jobs are some of the most dangerous that tow operators work on.

For example, the potato truck referenced at the start of this article wasn’t made up. The accident really occurred just outside of Aiken, South Carolina. News reports say a local driver ran a red light and proceeded to collide with an 18-wheeler. The impact sent the semi into a ditch, its load of potatoes emptying out onto the highway.

Potatoes strewn everywhere was not the big issue for the towing company that responded. The spuds could easily have been cleaned up and taken away. No, the real problem was getting the trailer out of the ditch. A photograph of the accident scene shows a rather large tow truck with a hydraulic beam and winch attempting to pull the trailer back onto the roadway.

These kinds of jobs require specialized equipment. For example, it would be inappropriate to hook a chain between the tow truck and trailer in an attempt to drag the trailer back onto the road. The heavy-duty winch and steel cable capable of moving the trailer while the tow truck remained stationary was the safest way to extract the damaged trailer.

Operators Need a Variety of Tools

One of the most important lessons we’ve learned over the years of serving the industry is that tow truck operators need a variety of tools to do what they do. It’s not enough just to have a small selection of towing straps and chains on board. Operators need a full arsenal of weapons, so to speak, if they are truly going to be prepared for anything.

An easy job might be as simple as hooking a broken-down car underneath its front axle and using wheel nets and a chain to keep everything in place. A more complicated job might require a combination of steel winch cable, a couple of heavy-duty chains and hooks, and even a snatch block or two. The tow operator never really knows until he or she arrives on-site.

No, there is no such thing as a typical day for tow operators. They need to be prepared for anything and everything. That means having the right tools on board.

 


6 Strategies Experienced Towmen Know and Practice

Anyone who thinks car hauling and towing is easy work has never done it for a living. Working as a tow operator is one of the most dangerous jobs in America thanks to the combination of weather, other drivers, and the generally hazardous nature of trying to recover vehicles that may not necessarily be in the safest locations.

The best tow operators, also known as towmen in the industry, know that they are only as safe as the equipment and strategies they employ on the job. Here at Mytee Products, we have the tools tow operators need. From auto hauling straps to chains and winches, we can properly equip any truck for just about any job.

What we cannot to do is equip operators with the knowledge they need to do their jobs safely. That knowledge comes from seasoned operators who teach their younger counterparts on the job. For example, your average veteran will know all about the following six strategies for safe vehicle recovery:

1. Position the Truck as Close and Straight as Possible

Whether a towman is using a flatbed wrecker or traditional tow truck, it is a good idea to position the truck as close to the vehicle as possible. The less pulling over open space required, the safer things are for both the tow operator and the vehicle being recovered. Along those same lines, getting the truck perpendicular to the vehicle is ideal. A perpendicular position reduces stress on winches and cables.

2. Use a Spotter When Possible

Your average towman works alone except on especially complicated recoveries. It is up to him or her to properly load the vehicle, strap it down, and get back on the road safely. Having said that, experienced operators know it is always wise to use a spotter when one is available. A spotter keeps an eye on the recovered vehicle as it’s being loaded onto the back of the wrecker or hoisted by the hook. Obviously, the spotter should be an experienced operator is well.

3. Use Properly Rated Straps and Chains

The next tip is a matter of both law and safety. According to federal and state laws, tow operators must use properly rated straps and chains to secure vehicles to tow trucks. That means operators have to know a little bit of math to do what they do. The general rule is to use straps rated at 2 to 3 times the weight of the vehicle being recovered. The stronger the straps, the more secure the vehicle will be when accelerating and braking.

4. Make Use of the Factory Tow Hook

When loading a recovered vehicle onto the back of the wrecker, the experienced operator will make use of the factory tow hook for both winching and tying down. The tow hook is the strongest point on a car for these sorts of operations. Not using it is ignoring something designers put in place specifically for recovery operations.

5. Utilize Four Points of Contact

Wrecker operators should always utilize four points of contact at a bare minimum. Chains and straps should be deployed at 45° angles in order to reduce both parallel and perpendicular movement. Four points of contact will keep the recovered vehicle in place better than three, and a lot better than two.

It takes time to learn all the tricks of the towman’s trade. We cannot offer you either the time or the on-the-job training you need to be the best in your industry, but we do have a full selection of towing supplies and tools to keep your truck fully equipped.


Auto Hauling: When You Need Your Equipment to Work

When a tow operator goes out on the interstate to recover a car from a ditch, he wants to know that all his equipment is going to work right. The same goes for an operator who gets a call from a local resident whose car will not start. He/she needs to know that he/she has the equipment and supplies to retrieve the car and transport it to the garage.

There are two other kinds of towing equally dependent on properly working equipment. However in both these additional situations, there is an extra challenge: speed. Tow operators involved in repossessions and illegally parked cars need to hook up and be gone quickly. They really need their equipment to work on every single job.

Car Repossessions

Car repossessions are a boon for towing companies that offer repo services. And in recent years, there has been a lot of work available.

In 2017 alone, there were some 6 million Americans behind on their car payments by at least 90 days. That is right at the repossession threshold. For tow truck operators, repossessions are risky. They have to be very careful about what they do, and they have to be quick about it.

Once a tow operator identifies the target vehicle he or she must pull up, hook it, and go as quickly as possible. The operator might be delayed by having to pull the car out of a parking space before it can be hooked. If he/she’s operating a flatbed wrecker, pulling the vehicle up onto the neck takes extra time. That operator will be using his/her entire inventory of chains and tow straps if that’s what it takes to get the job done.

Towing Illegally Parked Cars

Almost as stressful as repossession is the task of towing an illegally parked car. This could be a car parked in the street or in a private parking lot. Either way, the tow operator’s goal is to get the car out of there before an angry owner comes out to confront him/her. He or she really needs to know all the equipment is working properly.

Like the repo tow operator, an operator towing illegally parked cars relies on a series of chains and straps, to secure the vehicle to the tow truck. Different setups utilize different supplies. It’s in the best interest of a tow operator to know which chains, straps, and hooks are ideal for each kind of situation. And with a little practice, the operator can become very adept at deploying those chains and straps under pressure.

Get Your Towing Supplies Here

Mytee Products offers tow operators a complete inventory of equipment and supplies. We have your chains, straps, hooks, and even external tow lights. Everything you need under one roof makes keeping your tow truck fully stocked as easy and convenient as possible.

We certainly don’t envy you if you work repossession or illegally parked jobs. That’s tough work when you consider how confrontational car owners can be. We understand you need your towing equipment to work correctly every time.

We invite you to browse our inventory for all your towing needs. Each of our products is made to exacting standards that you can depend on. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

 


Lessons from Experienced Tow Operators

There are a bunch of viral videos out there showing just what can go wrong when a car is towed improperly. Not only are they good for a laugh, they also clearly define the difference between professionally-trained tow operators and amateurs. The professionals obviously possess the skills, tools, and equipment to do the job right.

The best tow operators in the business are defined by how they do what they do. For example, there are certain mistakes every professional tow operator knows to avoid. These are the same mistakes amateurs make just before they end up on viral videos. Here are four of them:

 

1. Pay Attention to Weights and Ratings

A lot of what a tow operator has to worry about is directly related to physics. For example, every tow strap and chain has a working load limit (WLL) that cannot be exceeded and still be safe. Tow operators have to pay attention. They have to understand gross vehicle weight ratings, axle weights, towing capacities, and the like.

Not paying attention to such things could mean serious trouble. Thankfully, the pros understand what’s going on. They choose the right towing straps, chains, and hooks to correctly secure vehicles before towing begins.

2. Use A Sufficient Number of Anchor Points

The tow operator who drives a flatbed wrecker rather than a standard tow truck handles vehicles in a slightly different way. He or she has to anchor the vehicle in question to the bed of the truck rather than hooking the car from underneath. Then he/she uses a series of tow straps or chains to secure the vehicle.

Amateurs who might try this with a utility trailer often fail to use enough anchor points. That is, they do not secure the vehicle to the trailer on all four corners. That’s a mistake. Professional tow operators not only know where the correct anchor points are found, but they also use all of them.

3. Always Utilize Safety Lights

How many times have you seen an amateur towing a vehicle without any kind of lighting? The vehicle being towed is not running, so brake lights and turn signals are not working. This is a recipe for disaster. Inadequate lighting is an open invitation to a rear-end collision. The pros know this, which is why they use safety lights. They activate the safety lights on their trucks and put towing lights on the back of the car.

4. Drive Cautiously

Finally, a truly wise tow truck operator knows how foolish it is to drive his or her truck the same way he/she might drive a car. Amateurs don’t know the difference. They drive as though they are not towing at all. They drive at the same speed and brake just as hard, assuming nothing bad will happen.

The secret professionals know is that all the towing straps and chains in the world aren’t enough to compensate for reckless driving. They drive cautiously whenever they have a car in tow. And it’s a good thing they do because as they know what they are doing, and they do it well, the rest of us don’t have to worry about being in danger when we come upon a tow truck or flatbed wrecker.

For the record, Mytee Products appreciates the magnificent work professional tow truck operators do every day. They put their lives on the line nearly every time they go out on a highway job. We are pleased to be able to help them by providing the reliable and heavy-duty towing equipment they need to do what they do safely.