More from: tow truck operators

Here’s Why You Keep Your Tow Truck Fully Stocked

One of the things we try to consistently do here at Mytee Products is remind our customers to pay attention to their inventories. For example, consider tow truck operators. We are thrilled to be able to serve operators across the country who rely on us for towing chains, straps, lights, and a whole host of other supplies. We do our best to remind them to make sure their trucks are always fully stocked.

This really is a no-brainer for most tow operators. But every year there are new operators joining the industry and just getting started in their careers. Their lack of experience may lead them to take a job without having the proper equipment to do it safely and completely. If there is one thing that we have learned from working with tow operators over the years, it’s that you never know what you’re going to come up against on any recovery.

An Example from NC

We will be well on the way toward rough winter weather by the time this post is published. So let’s use a recent example from the past to illustrate why it’s necessary to keep a tow truck fully stocked. The example comes out of Maple Hill, North Carolina in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

On September 19 (2018), a truck pulling a mobile home behind it was blown over by hurricane-force winds. That mobile home was destined to be a rest station for hurricane recovery workers in need of rest. Unfortunately, Florence saw to it that the trailer never made it to its designated location. The state Highway Patrol had to call for assistance to right the trailer as quickly as possible.

Under normal circumstances, this would have been difficult enough. The job probably would have required multiple tow trucks using chains and winches to get the trailer back in an upright position. But this was no ordinary circumstance. Florence pounded the Carolinas for some 30 hours in total. By the time tow trucks were dispatched, the trailer was already under 10 feet of water.

The team of four tow operators all arrived on scene and realized it was going to be a tough job. Even after the water had receded, righting the trailer/mobile home required precise techniques and the proper use of the right equipment. It’s a good thing the tow operators knew what they were doing. Even with 4 feet of water still inside, they managed to pull the trailer upright and move it to the shoulder.

It’s About Being Prepared

The success of these four tow operators is a testament to their abilities, experience, and equipment. Their story is also a reminder that tow operators have to be prepared for anything. No one knew just how bad Florence was going to be, but every person who knew that he or she was going to be involved in the cleanup had to be as prepared as possible.

As a tow operator yourself, you may never experience anything like the damage caused by Hurricane Florence. But you’ll still see your share of stranded cars, highway accidents, repos, and municipal tows. Your truck needs to be fully stocked with everything you need to do your job safely and correctly. Mytee Products has you covered.

We have a complete inventory of towing chains, mesh straps, tire nets, hooks, winches, and even towing lights. If you need it to stock your tow truck, we probably have it. And if we don’t, we’ll still do our best to get it for you. Don’t head into the busy winter season without knowing full well that your truck is fully stocked.

 


How To Choose Chains Suitable for Towing

Tow truck operators carry specific kinds of chains for doing what they do. Along with those chains are hooks, car hauling straps, and other equipment that operators need to safely rescue and transport disabled vehicles. One thing is for sure though, not all chains are suitable for towing. Tow operators have to have either G70 or G80 chains.

 

The ‘G’ in G70 chain stands for ‘grade’. Industrial chains made of steel are graded according to their tensile strength. The higher the grade, the stronger the chain. A G30 chain is the weakest of the options. This is usually a general-purpose chain made for light industrial and agricultural use. The strongest is grade 100. This kind of chain is made with a strong steel alloy capable of handling heavy loads during overhead lifting.

We explain all of this to say that tow operators cannot take chances with their chains. Any chains purchased with the intent of using them in vehicle recovery have to meet minimum standards for strength. Using inadequate chains is both unsafe and illegal.

Tensile Strength and WLL

There are two factors to consider when using chains to tow or lift overhead. The first is tensile strength, a measurement of how much force an object can withstand before breaking. That is where the grading comes in. A higher-grade chain can handle more force than a lower grade chain.

A G70 grade is capable of handling 700 newtons per square millimeter. It might elongate somewhat during towing, but it is unlikely to be compromised under normal circumstances. G70 chain has a strong enough tensile strength to withstand the punishment delivered by most towing operations. Having said that, it is not strong enough for safe overhead lifting.

The second factor to consider is working load limit (WLL). Although this measurement is similar to tensile strength, it is not quite the same thing. Working load limit measures how much work a chain can actually do before breaking. If a tow truck is towing a car in a cradle, with the rear wheels still on the ground, the load being carried is less because the ground is supporting some of the car’s weight. If that same tow truck were to lift the car straight off the ground, the load would be greater.

This suggests that the same chain may be appropriate for one operation but not another. So tow truck operators have to understand working load limits in relation to the kind of stress each particular recovery will have on the chain being used. Attempting recovery operations without understanding tensile strength and WLL is dangerous.

Towing with a Passenger Car

With just this little bit of information it should become apparent just how dangerous it is to use ropes or chains to tow a disabled vehicle using a passenger car. Yet we see it all the time. You might see a four-door sedan towing a disabled SUV down city streets using nothing more than a piece of rope the driver grabbed from the garage.

Such dangerous towing is an open invitation to disaster. The driver of the tow vehicle can easily lose control; the person in the towed vehicle behind could slam into the vehicle in front by not braking quickly enough; ropes and chains can snap, etc. There is just no good way to tow a disabled vehicle without a purpose-built truck.

No, not all chains are suitable for towing. You need a steel G70 chain at minimum. If you have any plans to lift vehicles rather than simply towing them, you will need either G80 or G100.


Towing Lights to Hauling Straps: There’s A Lot to Towing

There are lots of jobs that appear easier than they are. Take tow truck driving, for example. To the untrained eye, driving a tow truck seems a simple matter. You just hook up the car and go, right? Wrong. From towing lights and hauling straps to anticipating oncoming traffic, an awful lot goes into towing safely.

Tow truck operators are among the hardest working people on America’s roads. They toil around the clock, under all sorts of weather and traffic conditions, to recover broken down and damaged cars. Often times they put their lives on the line to do so. Here at Mytee Products, we have the utmost respect for America’s tow operators.

Things They Worry About

Tow operators are not unlike workers in any other sector in that there are job-related things they always have to worry about. Before the start of every shift, the driver has to check his toolboxes to make sure he has everything he needs for the day. Are his towing chains and hooks in good working order? Does he need a few more auto hauling straps? Are the strobe bar and marker light both working?

Having the necessary equipment is just the start. The tow truck operator also has to make sure the truck itself is in good working order. There are tires, winches, and flatbed inspections to do. Even simple things like windshield wipers and checking oil and transmission fluid levels has to be taken care of.

Once on the road, the tow truck operator has to worry about everything from traffic conditions to weather. Recovering a vehicle in a parking lot or driveway is pretty straightforward, but if the tow operator is trying to pull a stranded car out of a ditch alongside a snowy highway, that’s another deal altogether.

Tow truck operators always have to keep an eye on traffic. Whether they are securing a wreck to a flatbed with hauling straps or using a chain and winch to recover a wreck, oncoming traffic always poses a significant risk. Wise tow truck operators know enough to expect trouble. Managing a recovery without any incidents is a bonus.

Taking Some of the Worry Away

The crew here at Mytee Products obviously cannot do a lot to help tow drivers stay safe. There is not a lot we can do to make sure their days go smoothly. But we can take some of the worry away by stocking the equipment supplies they need to do their jobs. That is exactly what we do.

Our inventory of auto towing and hauling equipment starts with a full range of hauling straps to meet a variety of needs. For example, we carry tire straps with swivel J hooks and rubber pads for securing cars around the wheels. We also have side mount wheel nets as well.

Moving on, our inventory of G70 towing chains and hooks are the real beef of any towing operation. Rest assured that all our chains and hooks are made to meet or exceed all regulations and industry standards. We do not carry junk chains and hooks drivers can’t rely on.

Last is our selection of towing lights. We carry these products because we believe in the safety-first mentality. We want tow truck operators to have a full selection of towing lights usable in virtually any scenario.

There is a lot to tow truck operation than meets the eye. Our hats are off to America’s tow operators from coast-to-coast. Thank you for the tough work you do to make life better for the rest of us.


Towing Lights: A Matter of Personal Safety

Some of the things we sell at Mytee Products are designed for the sole purpose of making the lives of truck drivers easier and more productive. Towing lights are not one of them. We sell towing lights to tow truck drivers and fleet owners because it is a matter of life and death. Towing lights are very much a matter of personal safety.

As we all know, tow trucks come with a range of safety lights already on board. For example, a light bar mounted to the top of the truck cab is standard. The towing lights we sell are considered accessories. Rather than being permanently affixed to the tow truck, they are temporarily affixed to the vehicle being towed so as to make it more visible to drivers who may not be paying close attention.

Traffic: The Biggest Hazard

Driving a tow truck is certainly not an easy or terribly safe job. In fact, it is one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) numbers from 2016, some 745 drivers were killed in 2015. Far too many died in accidents involving oncoming traffic.

Traffic is the tow truck operator’s biggest hazard. Whether people are tired, distracted, or just not paying attention, it only takes one momentary lapse for the driver of an oncoming car to strike a tow truck operator or his/her vehicle.

Unfortunately, there is only so much that drivers can do to protect themselves. At the top of the list is making themselves and their vehicles more visible. That is what towing lights are all about. Lights make a tow truck and the vehicle being towed more visible to traffic moving in both directions. Second, drivers have to pay close attention to everything going on around them; they must have eagle eyes whenever they are working.

The Operator’s Inventory

Mytee Products recommends tow truck operators keep at least a basic inventory of lights on board. A good inventory starts with at least one light bar that includes turn signal capabilities. A 360-degree strobe that can be easily placed on top of the towed vehicle should also be part of a basic inventory, along with a heavy-duty flashlight that doubles as a chemical-free flare.

There are plenty of other towing lights an operator can add to his/her inventory. The three mentioned here represent only a starting point. The more lights an operator has at his or her disposal, the more visible the tow truck and tow vehicle will be.

We also recommend going with rechargeable towing lights rather than traditional corded models. Rechargeable lights are faster and much easier to deploy in emergency situations. As long as the operator keeps batteries charged, lights will provide hours of reliable service.

Safety Is Always the Priority

As a tow truck operator or fleet owner, what is your first priority? It ought to be driver safety. No car is valuable enough to risk the safety of someone trying to tow it. No job is so important that tow truck drivers should put themselves at risk unnecessarily. There are already enough hazards to worry about in the towing industry; drivers don’t need to add the lack of a safety-first mindset to the list.

Safety should always the priority for tow truck operators. To that end, towing lights are a valuable safety tool in that they make tow trucks and their cargo more visible to other drivers. Mytee Products is proud to serve America’s tow truck operators with a full line of equipment and supplies, including towing lights.


Tow Truck Drivers: Get Ready for a Busy Winter

When the temperatures drop and the snow begins to fly, tow truck operators know the busy season is coming. They know the coming months will have them towing cars that are blocking plows, pulling cars out of ditches, and rescuing stranded vehicles with dead batteries and alternators. It is all part of the fun of operating a tow truck for a living.

Our advice to tow truck drivers is to get ready for a busy winter. The season is still early, and we have already seen a number of pretty significant storms across the plains states, storms that left cars stranded in their wake. If these early storms are any indication, the winter of 2017/2018 is going to be a busy one.

Inspect All Your Equipment

The tools of the trade for tow truck drivers include ratchet tire straps, wheel nets, lasso straps, recovery and towing straps, axle straps, and bridal straps with hooks. It goes without saying that every tow truck needs to be stocked with an ample supply of these tools at all times. A driver never knows when something will be needed.

If you haven’t already done so, take the time to inspect all your auto towing and hauling equipment. You want to check the integrity of each piece along with knowing that you have an ample supply of everything you expect to need. Any straps or hooks that show even minor signs of wear should be addressed. Some will be repairable while others will have to be replaced.

We encourage tow truck drivers to be especially careful with recovery straps. You can make the case that they take the most abuse among all the tools in the tow operator’s toolbox, and it only takes one small defect to create a dangerous situation during a vehicle recovery.

Perform Ratchet Maintenance

Nothing is worse than trying to use a rusty ratchet on a cold winter day. Now is the time to go through and look at all your ratchets for signs that they need routine maintenance. Dirty ratchets should be cleaned and oiled to ensure they continue to function. Worn and damaged ratchets may have to be replaced.

Remember that when threading a ratchet, the strap should come in from underneath, then over the spool and out the top. If you come in from the top you risk jamming the strap in the spool mechanism to the point that you cannot get the ratchet undone on the other end. You would be forced to use a risky tactic that could damage your strap or cause injury. Remember: always thread straps through the bottom of the ratchet.

Get Plenty of Rest

The only tip we can offer above and beyond inspecting and maintaining your equipment is to make sure you get plenty of rest. There are going to be some long days and nights ahead, and you cannot afford to be unnecessarily tired during the peak of the winter season. So leave off the fun times and partying until spring. Your off time during the winter should be spent with family and getting as much rest as you can.

Mytee Products Has What You Need

Rest assured that we have everything you need for a busy winter towing season. Our entire inventory of towing equipment and supplies is available on our website for those who want to order online. If you are anywhere near Aurora, Ohio, we invite you to come visit us in person. One of our helpful towing experts will be more than happy to work with you to complete your towing supplies inventory.