Let’s face it, tow trucks are pretty awesome vehicles. They’re powerful, aesthetically awesome, and they can haul massive loads that other vehicles wouldn’t be able to. Okay, on the other hand, what they represent can be pretty depressing. People often associate these trucks with a person’s inability to make car payments, repossession of a vehicle, or worse, some sort of unfortunate incident on the road.
But at the same time, these trucks can also be a motorist’s saving grace, an angel sent to get a poor man or woman, or even a whole family, out of a tough bind. Regardless of how you look at these monstrosities, though, there are indeed a plethora of men and women that climb into the cabins of these things and perform a rather hard day’s work, day in and day out.
We wonder how many people have thought of what these men and women’s days are like when they see them bounding down the road. Probably not many. Your pals here at HotCars have decided to take a gander and we dug up some pretty interesting information, though. You wouldn’t believe the rules these guys and gals need to follow every single day to keep their jobs and stay clear of danger!
So, let’s hitch up your ride for now and we’ll drag it along down the highway as we go along. Sit up front with us in the cabin and let’s learn a thing or two about this interesting but tumultuous profession.
20 BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY
At the end of the day, the men and women that work in this profession need to understand one thing and that is that they need to acquire the cars that are on their repossession list—and that's the bottom line. They need to do so by any means necessary, very much like the corporate world. This is probably rule one that these men and women need to follow and they all seem to have the same drive as far as this rule is concerned. They move forward and get their cars, no matter what. By the same token, they also help people in distress with the same amount of determination. It would be pretty bad if they didn't try to help and only took pleasure in the field of repossession.
19 ALWAYS BE READY TO RUMBLE
Staying in the field of vehicular repossession, another rule that these men and women have to follow is simply put: always be ready. And although that is the credo of the Boy Scouts and martial artists everywhere, the same goes for the people that tow vehicles for a living, we're afraid. They must start every day knowing that there is a possibility of confrontation down the line and they don't know when or where it'll happen. Unfortunately, people getting their vehicles repossessed have fallen on harsh times and they usually don't take too kindly to their vehicles being taken by a tow truck, so, it's more than understandable that they'd be a tad irate.
18 A COMPETITIVE SPIRIT
As it turns out, there are quite a few men and women that practice this profession out there. That being said, they need to definitely stay on their toes. They constantly need to be ready for the next possible tow, whether it be a repossession or for a simple hauling job, or even to help someone in distress. So basically, it's first come, first serve, yet in reverse: first come, first paid. And when your daily bread depends on how many vehicles you tow and haul, you'd better believe that you'd be competitive too. And trust us when we say, folks, these men and women aren't all that nice to one another in the process. After all, it's a competition, isn't it?
17 A TRICK UP YOUR SLEEVE
Now, some of these people aren't averse to actually taking that extra step forward and becoming a tad sneaky themselves. How do we mean? Well, they have been known to leave trick (or rather trap) cars in non-parking zones so that an unsuspecting motorist will pass by and think that he or she can stop and park there, thus falling for the trap and ultimately getting towed, simply because they fell for it. Now, technically this isn't right, but at the same time, it isn't against the rules, so be careful out there and read your parking signs. Sometimes, being a trickster is definitely a rule these people follow to get their job done.
16 CAR MUST BE EMPTY
Here's another rule that is quite interesting. All tow drivers must follow this one, as it does have ramifications, in the end. When they are trying to locate a vehicle that they must tow, they cannot tow it if there is a person or persons inside. Now, this sounds comical, and would probably make a few of you utter the word "duh" as you read these words, but it must be stated, as there are stories out there of tow drivers towing a vehicle, only to find the owner sleeping in the back seat when they reached the impound. It would be funny to find out the end of that myth that circulates the streets, but that's the interesting thing about these stories: the endings are often left out of the mix.
15 ESTIMATES MUST ALWAYS BE GIVEN
This is an interesting little piece of information, but interestingly enough, this rule only goes for tow truck drivers in Canada. In this case here, the motorist and car owner is actually a tad more protected than his or her US counterparts, as the tow driver is required to give an estimate of the towing costs before the towing process begins. And if the tow truck driver wants to be able to tow the vehicle, the vehicle owner must sign a document giving their permission. It sounds preposterous, yes, but it's actually true. Knowing this, we wonder how many motorists have actually refused towing and how many have signed on the dotted line?
14 CUSTOMERS CAN PAY A DROP CHARGE
Interestingly enough, motorists and vehicle owners can actually pay a drop charge when they see their vehicles getting towed. What does this mean exactly? Well, if a motorist or vehicle owner happens to catch a tow truck driver hooking up their vehicle to their truck, but hasn't yet hooked it up, they can go up to the driver and actually offer to pay 50 percent of the towing fee and be let off the hook. But by the same token, if the driver has already hooked up the vehicle, it's up to the driver's discretion if he or she wants to go forward with the tow or to let the person go. This, of course, is also based on rules set in Canada.
13 BE AVAILABLE TO HELP OUT WITH CITY ISSUES
Tow trucks are allowed to run the streets in terms of towing vehicles that aren't properly parked in allotted sections and they can repossess vehicles when dispatched to do so. And as we stated earlier, they can also plant trick vehicles in order to trap motorists and vehicle owners. But one rule that they cannot break is if the city and or the government officials need them for whatever reason, they cannot refuse and must comply with all city requirements, like helping in some natural disaster or incident. Interestingly enough, and unfortunately, currently in the city of Montreal, Quebec, the city is experiencing massive amounts of flooding in the area and tow trucks have been required to help out and tow vehicles that have been left in distress.
12 MAKE SURE THE CAR ISN'T A PLANT
Another rule that these men and women need to follow—and a serious one at that—is that they have to make sure that the vehicles that they are planning to repossess aren't plants in some sort of investigation being executed by the authorities. It does happen and, apparently, often enough that there has to actually be a rule implemented for these men and women to follow and remember. Imagine that! It sounds pretty outrageous but the authorities in many municipalities will do just that: plant a vehicle for a particular investigation, and if a tow driver passes by and has no idea about the investigation, we'd imagine that that could cause a pretty bad mess. So, it's up to the tow driver to stay sharp and make sure.
11 MAKE IT WORTH YOUR WHILE
It's all only worth their while if they tow as much as humanly possible. What a lot of people don't know is that these men and women that are in this particular line of work actually work on commission and take home some pretty high stakes in the overall price of the tow. No wonder they're so dedicated to getting your car, eh? Some companies have been reported as paying out a whopping 67% commission (or more) to their drivers. So, if a tow is 150 bucks or thereabouts, that's a pretty impressive commission. This is probably one of the most important rules for these men and women to remember and remembering this one will definitely help them keep their drive, so to speak.
10 DO WHAT THE POLICE SAY
This rule, probably above all the others, seems to be the most logical of them all. No one is above the law, not even tow drivers, no matter how many times it seems like they are. But it is pretty important that they do what the police say; specifically, in all of the situations they find themselves in. Let's say they are in the middle of towing someone and the police intervene—for whatever reason. They are to comply and respect what the officers say, even if they were about to drive off with the vehicle fully loaded up. So, at the end of the day, even tow truck driers answer to somebody, at least.
9 BE AN EXPERT AT SECURING THE CAR
When we put the legalities and other stuff aside for the moment, at the end of the day, these people are doing a job. That's what it comes down to and that job actually does require a certain amount of skill. Yes, there are all these rules to follow, but the skills required to do the work are also just as important. For example, these men and women have to be expert at securing the vehicles they are towing. If they don't, they could have a serious set of problems on their hands. So, an understanding of strapping, chaining, and center of gravity is of utmost importance.
8 PAPERWORK, PAPERWORK, PAPERWORK
Of course, the thrill of the job isn't really all that there is to it. Going from neighborhood to neighborhood, towing cars and arguing with people about whether it's right or wrong probably only takes up about 45 percent of the job and the other requirements they need to fulfill on a daily basis. As it turns out, there is, in fact, quite a bit of paperwork to get through from day to day, so they must definitely make their peace with that in order to do the job effectively. Getting on board with pushing a few pencils is a definite must for one and all in this profession.
7 MAKE SURE YOU TOW THE RIGHT VEHICLE
This one's a tad funny and we'd ask that you excuse our foray into the comical side of things for a brief moment, but this is actually a rule that these men and women have to follow every day—or rather, it should be considered a tip. But yes, we're having a funny time trying to picture how the scene would go, but how's this: the team is sitting around the dispatcher's desk, they're all getting their assignments and the new guy comes up to get his assignment and the dispatcher glares at him as he hands him the file, but before he lets go, he says: "Just make sure you tow the right car this time, Anderson!"
6 BE ON CALL
The towing life isn't at all easy. We've definitely got to say that, as well. If you're thinking of taking this job on as a profession—or better yet, a career—then make sure that you understand that it's the furthest thing from a cushy job. In fact, it's so all over the place, that it's difficult to have decent hours, and you can forget the nine-to-five, as they say. As it turns out, these men and women are on call and they can get pulled away from their homes at dinner time, while they're tucking their kids to bed, or watching their favorite shows on TV. So, they'd better make amends with that type of lifestyle, as it can get pretty hectic.
5 FOLLOW THE CODE OF ETHICS
At the end of the day, all workers have a code of ethics—or at least, they should. And it isn't any different for the men and women that drive a tow truck for their daily bread. Having a code of ethics just keeps everyone safe and not only the drivers themselves, but the motorists and everyone else who happens to be around when a tow is taking place. A code of ethics and the rules that are set up will help keep everything proper and will prevent situations from escalating further than they have, even if someone decides to get irate at one of these tow drivers just trying to do their job.
4 DON'T BE A BULLY
In the movies, these guys and gals are often depicted as bullies that take great pleasure in repossessing a vehicle or towing one away because it was parked in a no parking zone. And sometimes, in these same films, they even are shown laughing as they hook up the vehicle in question and drive away—but this couldn't be further from the truth, in most cases. Having the mindset to know that you can't bully people around when you work in this field is something that will go a long way during the job and most of the men and women who do this job know this rule well—or rather, they should.
3 HAVE A HEART
This doesn't mean that these people can't enjoy their job. But trying not to take too much pleasure in their work in a negative way is a lot more appropriate. But far more of these people have larger hearts than they let on and when you look at it, that's a good thing in the end. How many of you out there have been helped by a tow truck driver in a moment of distress? Many of us have and in those moments, a tow truck driver played hero to our character in distress and we were thankful for the help. So all in all, it's a pretty good idea for them to make having a heart a rule to follow as they do their work.
2 DON'T WRECK THE CAR
This is a pretty obvious rule—a rule of thumb, if you will—and a pretty important one at that. We briefly touched on this when we stated that people who practice this profession need to know how to properly secure the vehicle they're towing. And we will reiterate here, if only to extrapolate further. In staying with the same theme, though, these dudes and dames need to be careful and not only when securing the vehicle. They have to watch out—and that means the whole time they have the vehicle in their possession, as it cannot be damaged in any way at all or it could mean trouble down the line.
1 IN AUSTRALIA, A LICENSE IS REQUIRED TO TOW OFF PRIVATE PROPERTY
Of course, we felt it interesting to go ahead and add this one to the mix for good measure. In the United States and Canada, taking possession of a vehicle that's on private property is the general way of things—if a warrant is issued, of course—and in this regard, is quite similar to the rules and regulations of procedure in Australia. But Down Under, it actually goes a tad further, and tow trucks and the companies that employ them actually need specific licenses to take possession of the vehicles that are parked on private property. It's quite a bit more than a warrant, we're afraid. So, at the end of it all, these men and women sure have a lot of rules to keep in mind as they do their work.
Sources: Wikipedia, CBC, The Globe And Mail, and VanMag.