Towing a caravan or a trailer can be difficult – especially when you are attempting it for the first time. Controlling a heavy rig combination in different conditions, as well as mastering new driving techniques can be a real challenge. However, towing needs not to be that challenging, as there are useful tips to guide you along the process.
Before you can begin the towing process, make sure you have a comprehensive list of all the things you need. Here are important pointers to observe.
Driver Selection Program
If you are running a towing business, you need to establish a well-defined driver qualification program. This program should include written job descriptions and duties. You should also establish minimum physical attributes that are required to perform the job. These attributes include hearing, vision, health history, and substance abuse. There other additional requirements that must be met subject to Federal and State Requirements. Establish all the prerequisites a driver should possess for the job.
You need to establish an inclusive vehicle and tow equipment maintenance program. Follow all recommendations as set out by your manufacturer. You should never exceed the gross weight training as established by the manufacturer. Additionally, never exceed equipment rating for the equipment that is used to move, secure, or load the disabled vehicle.
You need to establish written company policy and convey the same to the applicant driver during the interview process. You also need to conduct a test on the equipment the driver will be operating. Establish a minimum 30 day probation period to evaluate if the driver is meeting written company standards. You should never assume that the applicant has the skills from previous work history.
Personal protective equipment
You need to supply all your drivers with appropriate personal protective equipment, that includes high visibility vests. There are three classes of vests commonly used and offers the most visibility. In addition to vests, the tow driver should have a helmet that has the same reflective abilities found in his vest. The Federal Highway Administration stipulates that all roadway, as well as emergency workers on federal highway, wear green, yellow, or orange fluorescent vests that meet all the standards set.
Safety at the scene
You need to arrive at the scene with appropriate flashing lights on. You also need to position the vehicle to act as a shield from the incoming traffic as much as possible. Make use of the passenger side of the controls and limit exposure to oncoming traffic. You should consider modifying the tow truck to include remotes and controls on both sides of the vehicle to reduce exposure of tow truck operators to oncoming traffic.
If you are purchasing new truck management, purchase equipment that includes controls for both sides of the vehicle.
The list of safe work practices is not exhaustive. The key is to establish a company safety program that is very specific to the type of towing operations the company performs. The most important elements of any program are driver selections and training routines put in place.