Vehicle Towing: What You Should Know

Vehicle towing is not only a stressful situation, but it can be dangerous. When you need to get your car towed due to an accident or other emergency, make sure the person doing the tow has proper credentials and insurance. This will ensure that you are protected in case of injury or damage. The blog post will go on to talk about what vehicle owners should know when they get their vehicle towed.


1. Vehicle Towing is Not a Job for Amateurs

Many towing companies use flatbed tow trucks because they hold up better under heavy loads. However, the majority of flatbed tow trucks are not rated for carrying passenger vehicles. This can cause serious damage to your vehicle and injury to you if you were in the car at the time.

When you get your car towed by a pro, make sure that person is properly trained and certified and has insurance that will cover any damages or injuries that occur during the process.

2. The Vehicle Towing Company Should be Licensed and Insured

It’s imperative to choose a company with liability insurance when you get your vehicle towed. Liability coverage pays for any damages or injuries that happen while the tow truck is in use. It also protects the towing company from damages incurred when it drops or damages your vehicle during towing.

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has a searchable database where you can find out if a particular business is properly licensed and insured.

3. Vehicle Towing Laws

Tow truck drivers must follow certain rules and regulations outlined by state law when getting your car towed:

Number On Tow Truck: A number matching the license plate on the towed vehicle should be attached to the front of the tow truck.

Tow Truck Lights: The lights on a tow truck are required to be on whenever the vehicle is moving or when it is not in motion, but is located on the shoulder of the road. If this rule is broken, you can file a complaint with your local police department about it.

Winches: Winches cannot be used to tow passenger vehicles unless they are carrying an extra heavy load that requires them. This means that if you get your car towed by a company that uses winches, there better be some hefty steel underneath.

Surface of Roadway: A clear path must be free from any obstructive elements before getting your car towed off of.


Vehicle Towing: What You Should Know


4. The Vehicle Towing Process

Here are the important things to know about the vehicle towing process:

How Your Car is Placed on the Tow Truck: A barrier known as a roll bar should be used to support your car during loading. The base of the roll bar should rest against the flatbed’s edge. A strap or rubber band with hooks can be attached to hold it in place (for additional security).  securely fastened

Tow Hooks: If possible, tow hooks should be attached before you start moving. If this isn’t possible, attach them as soon as they’re safely behind you and away from traffic.

Winch Hook Up: You don’t want to get your car towed by winch if you don’t have to because it can cause serious damage. A winch hooks up means that the car is being lifted off of the ground by the tow truck, so its rear tires are off of the ground.

Once your Car is Placed on the Flatbed: It must be strapped down before it’s towed away. The straps used should be able to withstand 5,000 pounds or more of pressure.

Call When You’re Ready for Pickup: Make sure you call when your vehicle is ready for pickup (even if you don’t see a tow operator).

5. How Vehicle Towing Costs Are Determined

It would be nice to think that there were standard laws regarding how much companies could charge for towing, but there aren’t. Some states have laws regarding this, but Michigan doesn’t. If you need to get your vehicle towed, be sure to ask about the cost before you call a company for service so you don’t have any surprises when it’s time to pay. Ask them if their rates are on a per mile or flat rate basis, or if they’re hourly rates. Make sure the price is clear so you know what to expect.

Vehicle Towing By The Hour: Some companies charge hourly rates for towing, which means that the cost could run much higher than it would have if they charged a flat rate. If you’re not sure whether or not your car will be ready by the time an hour has elapsed, ask them how long it takes to do their job before agreeing to this type of service because there may be additional costs associated with keeping their crew on site longer than expected.

Tow Truck Storage Fees: Another hidden fee could be storage fees for keeping your vehicle on their lot beyond normal hours (this is often done without any notification). Expect these charges when getting towed after business hours, especially if you’re towed on a Friday evening.

6. Vehicle Towing Laws to Know

Expect the following laws when getting your vehicle towed:

Safety Lighting Regulations: You can get your car towed at any hour of the day or night, but if it’s dark outside, lights must be attached that can be seen within 500 feet in all directions.

Tow Truck Wiring Regulation: The vehicle being towed should always have more than one wire attached for power and lighting. This means that they will need more than just one battery cable hooked up to the tow truck so they don’t run into issues with power later on down the road.

Warning Lights Must Be On: A red light must either flash or remain lit when a vehicle is being towed by winch. It must also be lit on top of the tow truck while the vehicle is being moved on a public road.

Safety Chains: If you’re going to get your car towed, make sure that a certified chain or wire rope for safety chains are used each time it’s hook up and moved from one location to another. Anytime they’re not around, make sure you have them in place before moving your car at all, whether it’s on a flatbed or not.

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