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Tow Truck Flipping Over Ford Explorer


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To the contrary gents, I've been teaching a similar quick clearance technique for several years especially for rotation towers on the highway as does some states like Ohio. In Tennessee, the HELP (roadside safety program) uses a similar procedure to roll-over and push to the side for quick clear. Perhaps this is a newer technique where you may not have seen it done? Because you haven't seen it doesn't make it improper. It's relatively new and few towers use it based on whether or not they're willing to accept new techniques or use the same old ones. This tow company is an OPG (official police garage) in Southern California and is working at the bequest of law enforcement. I'd venture to say this is an experienced tower who evaluated this scene. I teach a similar procedure a bit differently in my CHP rotation course in the best interest of quick clear that includes placement of 4x4's on the pavement to arrest rollaway or add a one-inch motorcycle strap to the casualty's emergency brake. If the vehicle's on its side like the video shows, whether or not the tow truck pulls it over or is winched over, the vehicle still drops to the pavement either way.  With the highway patrol or DPS in position to make a traffic break, the tower moves into position, attaches chain to the casualty, set the blocks, then simply yet slowly pulls forward to effect the drop.

 

If the vehicle were to rollaway and no blocks were placed, either or both of chains would stop it from rolling too far. While this technique is not for vehicle's sitting on their rooftops, the final drop is completed quickly and returns traffic flow in only a couple of minutes. After the drop, the wrecker repositions to tow the vehicle away. Note: Before Coronavirus discontinued all tow shows, Terry Abejuela and I were slated to teach light-duty quick clear at American Towman's Ohio Tow Show. This was one of several techniques I was ready to present. It's not for everyone, especially for new towers. This technique can be fast, safe AND effective when practiced. But, before doing it, make sure you've discussed what you intend to do with the IC or officer on-scene.  I've used this myself many times and know it works. It's simply another technique to pull out of your mental tool box under the proper conditions, but it has to be practised.  Hey Grumps ... those gas prices are Hollywood, CA.     R.

Edited by rreschran
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Randall C. Resch

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I totally get the whole "Quick clear" technique that you guys have in the big cities with the freeways and all. Having grown up in the Bronx and Queens boroughs, I have witnessed the procedures performed. Especially in the tunnels and bridges with specialized trucks that are affectionately called  "Bridge Bullies" and "Tunnel Rats". My issue is that this particular casualty vehicle is NOT on a freeway blocking rush hour traffic. It is not even blocking the boulevard it is by. It is resting nicely on the apron of the gas station with what appears to be minimal damage. In fact, the entire upright and tow could have been performed rather easily without ever blocking even one lane of the boulevard. And a "catch line" could have been used  while performing any number of traditional uprights ( if the truck is a twin line ) to lessen the risk of further damage to the casualty as opposed to just slamming it down. I have had soft rollovers that did not deploy airbags during the initial roll blow off airbags from slamming down before.  Obviously quick clear procedures can and most times do cause further damage to the casualty and in the situations that warrant the necessity of quick clear I understand how possible further damage is not too high on the priority list. Clearing the roadway and getting traffic moving before secondary accidents occur or an Operator or police officer gets hit is top priority. This situation doesnt seem to fit the criteria for a Quick clear procedure in my opinion. But on the other hand, At those fuel prices I would want to move my ass too and get it over with just so I dont run my truck to long !!! Lol 

PROFESSIONAL TOWING & RECOVERY IS NOT JUST A JOB.. IT IS A LIFESTYLE

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"placement of 4x4's on the pavement to arrest rollaway"

 

Might be Experienced, but 4 X 4's are always the sign of a trained operator.

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I agree with Grump's opinion that this particular soft roll wasn't a quick clear situation, yet there's a certain reality to suggest there are many different ways to work a rollover. In general terms, not all towers are fully trained to work rollovers nor will they take time to carefully return a vehicle to a soft landing. If this scenario was presented to ten towers, how many would have even thought of using a catch-line, or, how many more would have employed a one-lane, California Roll, dropping the casualty in-line with their tow trucks or carriers? With as many carriers responding to rollover calls as boom n' winch trucks, the lack of a second line typically eliminates the possibility of a catch-line. Unless the tower has tricks (and equipment) up their sleeves to work a forward or reverse-roll and employ a catch-line, they too will likely inflict substantial damage to the undamaged side of the vehicle. As in all recovery situations, training and experience are in the hands of competent operators.  Could he have worked it better, faster, softer, neater, nicer, perhaps, yet I believe this operator simply used one-technique of many at the level of his experience, training and assessment. To that I'll ask, "Can a stuck spin-on oil filter be removed with a screwdriver or with a stick and a wash cloth?" "How many different ways can a locked-car be opened?" While I agree this particular situation may not have warranted the use of quick clear techniques, I stand firm this technique is a valid and life-saving process when working highways and interstates. Accordingly, I'm not the person to tell him he did wrong and I wouldn't dismiss his actions as unreasonable. Good drivers are hard to find ... he just worked this rollover differently from the way others might have.         R.

Edited by rreschran
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Randall C. Resch

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I do agree there are half a dozen ways this particular roll could have been performed. And not one of them may be better or worse than the next. Could an end roll have been performed? Sure. Could a reverse roll been performed? Yup. Could it have been done with a roll back? Absolutely.  Could a catch line been used, if available? Why not. I will have to agree to disagree with this particular scenario. Maybe it is a west coast thing or whatnot. But I find myself wondering how and what would be charged for this type of rollover technique? Is it a flat rate type of thing that gets charged for any type of rollover? If a guy with a pickup truck or heck, even a mini-van and a chain showed up and did this same thing is he now a recovery operator? or is it "OK" because he used a tow truck to do it? Maybe from my "in industry view" is why I see it as a somewhat barbaric technique that had no place being used here. Or maybe i am just "old school" and feel like tow trucks have winches for a reason. I have had a couple occasions in the past where I have had to defend my actions and charges to a insurance adjuster or vehicle owner because they felt what I did was not needed or was done wrong in their eyes etc... I can see this being one of those situations where you charged $300 to perform a rollover and all you did was throw a chain on it and drive forward. Given the overall situation it just does not look professional to me and I can see how a unknowing civilian might see it as unprofessional. Again i understand quick clear and the benefits of using it in the right situations. I am in no way attacking quick clear techniques. They have their place within the industry.  If this driver worked for me, my biggest gripe with him aside from how he rolled it is the fact that he blocked up traffic when he did not need to. My first and formost thoughts when I get to a scene ( after I find my safe spot and escape route of course ) is how and what can I do to NOT impede the flow of traffic. This one is a no-brainer in my opinion.

PROFESSIONAL TOWING & RECOVERY IS NOT JUST A JOB.. IT IS A LIFESTYLE

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That had one lane upright written all over it.  Or sit in parking lot and reverse roll and not effect traffic.  The only car I have had to truck power over was a V.W. Beetle.  That aside truck powering with a winch connected is unacceptable. After re-watching a few times winch lines were not used.  Using only chains without a tightening device could lead to a loaded chain when vehicle rests, and if vehicle rests in such a way you cannot release the loaded chain, now your in a pickle.

I agree with quick clearance but I believe there is a minimum level of protocol that is mandatory with each scene.  I don't think we would ever see EMS load a stretcher without securing the patient first just because of quick clearance.  Same here, be the professional, assess the scene and use your equipment as it was intended and designed.

Edited by KY Nick
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Nick Schade

Tony's Wrecker Service

Louisville, KY

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I keep coming back to this topic and it just isn't that much of a factor for myself. Because 4 out of 5 of the rollovers I recover our on their roof.

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Done it a few times, but I really don't want our guys doing this on a regular basis. Just seems the driver isn't in control of the recovery. Then again like TowZone said, most of our are also on their roof and in a ditch at that...

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If I pulled on this scene...I would have a smile on my face...LoL This is a job where the operator can shine and still be quick. A single lane roll & set it on the grids...like you knew what you were doing.  I'm not a fan of using the truck to do "work" in this manner. I don't get all twisted by it but I don't see the control while pulling it over. I would prefer being back there watching what was happening. This job could be done without getting in the road...at least that's what it looked like to me.

 

My big issue would be not securing the car prior to the roll which has already been pointed out. About 35 years ago I was doing a rollover on a steep mountain road for the police. Set up both lines, winched it over...and when the car hit the ground, it took off down the hill in a "ark" direction (still hooked). As I jumped over the lines before they decapitated myself, it smacked in to a stone wall. I looked up...and the Officer gave me that "look"....same one I have given many times since to other operators....like "F'n moron"...¬†¬†ūüėĄ¬†

Well anyway, it was a lesson learned...won't do that again...

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These are great comment and I'd really like to see more towers get involved than the regular dozen. That's for your recent example Ed.

 

Here's one more consideration based on a comment that Grumps mentioned using the word, "apron". I had an unfortunate similar experience when my company was held responsibile for unintentional gouge damages done to a private property while conducting a roll after the initial crash at a mall parking lot. Because my driver responded at the bequest of law enforcement, the tower arrived on-scene and worked the roll in the usual manner to get the car off it's roof. Unfortunately, in the process of rolling the cara back-over, some smallish gouge marks were made and the vehicle leaked fluids. A couple of months later, I received a subpoena for the max amount of small claims court claiming damage to the asphalt was our fault. The property owner got three high-dollar (over-inflated) estimates and the settlement awarded was $5,000. The judge didn't even bat an eye when he dropped the gavel.  Accordingly, I stopped doing recoveries on private property without the written permission of the property owner. While Michael McGovern will mention that a "hold harmless" letter aren't of value, because I didn't have that kind of letter or permission from the property's owner, I had nothing to go on. It's these kind of situations that require ya' to really think about the big picture of taking on an easy recovery. Food for thought.  R. 

Randall C. Resch

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Like Ed, I too certainly learned the hard lesson of securing my casualty before setting it back on its wheels. Mine took off across the road, getting my winch line and rigging fouled up in the mangled exhaust before nose planting itself in the deep ditch on the other side of the road.. I felt like a complete Idiot... Needless to say that was one call I never wanted to make to Dad, But I was essentially screwed.

Mr. Resch brings up a very good point about working a recovery on private property. That to me is a variable where a good level of common sense and a true understanding of your surroundings comes into play. Seeing your recovery and looking to see if the possibility of property damage exists and taking the necessary steps to prevent it or contacting the property owner, explain the situation and get permission. Of course fluids and debris must be handled as usual If not, even better than they would be on public roadways. I try to approach these types of situations by looking at it as if it was my property. How would I want it handled ? I have never had to go through what Mr. Resch did with claims court and all, But i have heard horror stories similar to that one.

And Yeah?? Where is everyone else?? Seems to be the same cackle of old timers having these discussions on here.. Oh wait,... I am one of them..¬†ūü§®¬†¬†¬†

PROFESSIONAL TOWING & RECOVERY IS NOT JUST A JOB.. IT IS A LIFESTYLE

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