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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJuly 17 - July 23, 2019

'Tis the Season to be Wary

home fb6fbBy Randall C. Resch

OK, ready? Sing it, " 'Tis the season to be wary ... a tower's job is always scary," ... you know the rest right?
Ahhh, the holidays.

We're now in the midst of the holidays, but for most of us towers holidays are just another work day where we're on call waiting to serve the motoring public. Like all weekends, intoxicated driving is a pastime that brings DUI motorists onto the highways where our worlds, for lack of a better word, "collide."

Holiday boozing, binge drinking and general merriment are the main courses; and then, after a bellyful of Jack and turkey reaches the top-off mark, partygoers head to another event or meander home.

From about 10 p.m. until sunrise are the deadlier hours when DUI drivers often can't determine between right and wrong. Sadly enough, that's where we towers are somewhere serving the needs of others.

Intoxicated driving for the holidays is one of those realities towers must fully understand when it comes to roadside survival. It starts by knowing that DUI drivers exist and you have no control over their inabilities to navigate between the white lines or safely pass your tow truck if you're parked on the highway's shoulder.

When it comes to responding to law enforcement stops, which means you have to drive onto the highway, load the vehicle and then make your way back to your company's facility. For every mile you drive and work the highways, perhaps thousands of vehicles pass your location and any one single motorist could be that DUI. Perhaps it's an act of fate for them not to plow into your tow truck; but we can't trust our lives to fate.

Consider the Liability

If your company provides free tows to intoxicated drivers, don't forget that they'll most likely ride in your tow truck along with you, and with that comes other potential problems. Sure, some drunks are happy people; others turn aggressive and violent if they're agitated though.

While I personally won't expose my drivers to potential harm, I believe if a motorist is responsible enough to not drive and call for a tow truck, they can be equally responsible and call a taxi to pay for their ride home. I believe there's too much liability to deliver an intoxicated individual and their car home, only for them to re-energize and head back out after you've dropped them at home.

During the holiday season, it's smart to keep your awarnesses keen when you're driving and when going boots to the ground. When you're driving, a highly intoxicated motorist can't decipher between freeway on-ramps and exits. Always expect a wrong-way vehicle headed your direction, as what happened to Western Towing's Aaron Palacios in July 2017.

Let your instincts help you work fast with focus to staying away from the white line. Maintaining extra focus and awarnesses are factors in tow operator safety that require sending only varsity players to calls on the highway. Remember, you're the professional who's aware and ready to react.

Because the next two weeks are extremely dangerous, please be in control of your senses and always have an escape path. With that being said, my Christine and I wish you all continued safety throughout the holidays ... Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week's Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and, a recipient of the 2017 Dave Jones Leadership Award.
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