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What is your favorite safety item on your truck?

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A Blast from the Past: Topic Originally Created by lstyba in 2012:


Hello Board, I am looking for your opinions for another Tow Canada Article that I am writing.  Saftey Gear: Your Truck!

IN your opinion what do you think is the best safety apparatus that is on your truck?  Rotating lights or strobe bar to hidden corner strobes?  Traffic cones, pylons, signs or even things that make your life easier and safer on your body like the fold down dollie arm that brings them to waist height so your back is not to sore?

Any input would be appreciated  Thanks ...
Cya In the Ditch
Larry Styba
WM# 011088
6/7 AC


RLC4523 said:

well who doesnt like all the flashy lights on our trucks right?! Thats why i liked Tow trucks, ambulances, fire trucks, and cop cars when i was a kid cause of the pretty lights lol. I honestly would have to say the safety item I like the most about my truck is..........Me! I am the single most important item on the truck. My brain and my actions is what keeps me safe, the other items on the truck are just tools in my bag to help me to keep myself, and my customer, safe. Everything else is replaceable on and around my truck, I am not! plain and simple


Acestowing said:

To me the 2 most important and EFFECTIVE things we have are reflective vests and 3 foot orange reflective cones, the cones get traffic to move over and gets their attention. If a cone gets hit or destroyed I'm out 20 bucks, cheap saftey in my opinion.
Bryce Weber - Aces Towing
WM 091409 Level 6/7


danielswt said:

The hard hat is my favorite.

Maybe even my BERN snowboard helmet for winter use because it is insulated and very comfortable and low profile.



marktows said:

My air horn.. yup... it's saved me a ton of time from stuipid prius driving college yuppies that have no clue of anything other than their I POD>.


gunions towing said:

my roadside LED batons from AW Direct. I put them down the road and cars we flag and the Police/EMS all compliment us on how professional our scene looks. I where the reflective coat everywhere I go so I kinda forget it's safety related..lol


QueenswayTire said:

My least favourite is anything reflective that I have to wear. I am a firm believer that people drive towards what they are looking at, so I'd rather them not be looking at me. I still have vests, coats, etc., and wear them when I see fit, but not often.
Now my favourite item would be strobe lights or even the new LED light bars. So far, they seem to be the only thing that people will slow down for. So many trucks drive around with rotating amber lights on all the time that the rotating amber light doesn't get any attention any more. Strobes seem to slow people down a bit, and anything is better than nothing. But with so many tow trucks driving around with their lights on while towing a car, I'm sure this will change too. Sorry to rant, just one of my pet peeves.


Cdntowguy said:

In addition what has been said already, I find the most effective piece of equipment that will slow an oncoming motorist down when I'm working on the side of the road is a big ugly worn out 4X4 piece of lumber.

While hooking up, I put the 4X4 where a pylon would normally be placed,1-2 ft off the back corner of the car that is being towed,and slightly in the lane, if I need the space.

Drivers will run over an orange pylon, and WILL NOT slow down for beacons or drivers with reflective vests on, however they do recognise what a 3ft long piece of lumber will do to their tire or undercarraige.

They will make every possible effort to NOT hit that 4X4 including stopping dead in their lane and waiting till oncoming traffic clears.

Steve in Ottawa


annettemcd said:

As a driver on the highway, I personally hate strobes. They immediately give me a headache and I have to look away. I think that the LED lightbars are great with their brightness, but without the rapid flash of the strobes.

My drivers really like cones and use at least six of them behind the truck. My husband's rule of thumb is to walk as far as he thinks the farthest away cone needs to be and place one there and then he walks 50 and 100 feet farther away for the next two cones. He then places three perpendicular to the flow of traffic closer to the truck and extending beyond the line with the side of truck out into the traffic lane.

My husband probably thinks that his flashlight is an important tool for safety. He carried at least three in his pockets at all times. With our light traffic, he is often able to stop working and watch each vehicle approach. He waves his flashlight back and forth. Then if that does not seem to get a reaction from them, he waves it in the driver's face.

As others have said, he lives in his reflective gear and does not really think about it since he never goes out the door without putting it on. I should feel lucky that he does not sleep in it.




visual towing said:

reflective gear and lime green cones


Visual Perfection and Towing, Inc.
5194 Elmore Rd.
Memphis, TN 38134


brutus said:

I've been wearing steel-toed boots for so long now, it hurts to wear runners lol. In BC it's law to have to wear
the appropiate style and colored vis-vest, Can't get out of truck and run into the mini-mart without it on.
Lights are great but every truck, mail delivery, snowplow, sander truck, bobcat, bylaw car, city worker, and their dog.

have an amber light on top. Maybe it's time they give wreckers their own designated color light bar.
As for what my favorite item is - I'll vote for a good fitting pair of work gloves. Keep hands warm, dry, clean and if
you do get your hand "in a pinch" , they're always there for you.


smity said:

1.black and white with blue and reds on top 2. Corner strobes


unknown member said:

Large "J" hook has many uses.
People seem to move over very quickly when you motion you're gunna throw it through their windshield.
Great defence tool for those pesky PPI and Repo's
And i heard it also has it's place for towing vehicles??

Non the less..It's a multi purpose tool


lstyba said:

Great Responses Folks thank you very much, the research continues

Cya In the Ditch
Larry Styba
WM# 011088
6/7 AC


tcsc1 said:

I too think the most important safety item on the truck is me, without the training and alertness all the safety equipment in the world won't help. If you don't know how or when to use it the equipment is useless, but I do believe in anything hi-vis it scares the crap out of me when come up on a scene and can't see anybody. D


lstyba said:

Agree tcsc1

Cya In the Ditch
Larry Styba
WM# 011088
6/7 AC


brostow13 said:

I read a post on here some time ago by Brian Bell .He did an experiment in traffic one
morning while waiting for a customer with his emergency lights and as I recall was dissapointed
with the resulting cars that slowed or moved over .He then turned on his traffic advisor and
the results were dramatic .I forget the exact numbers but it was significant enough for me to
remember and file away in my l'il brain until last night when I was presented the oppurtunity
with my friends service truck to do the same as Brian ....Wow ! I can honestly say I expected a
bit of difference but nowhere near the results we got .EVERY car ,truck etc. for the time we were
on the side of the road slowed and pulled into the passing lane . In fact the difference was
so extreme my friend is ordering more and I am ordering one for our heavy .

             A big thanks to Brian Bell for taking the time to write that up.

I have always been of the opinion that the more lights the better .Well if they are so bright or so many
people can't see you then you are defeating you're purpose folks .A traffic advisor actually pointing
drivers where you want them to go might save a life .

            I hope this helps someone like it did me !



hook206 said:

I hope that this does not harm any people in any way or manner. But any way to get people and cars of any shape and size to move is to stand on the side of the road beside your truck and point a shot gun at them that will call them down. but on the other hand it will probably call the local P.D . Who cares what other people think as long as it get people to slow down and move over well done.



unknown member said:

This is a great thread. I am currently looking at replacing a light bar and adding more safety equipment like lights and reflective tape ect. I'm all about safety on the road side. Highway pick-ups can be totoally nutz at times. I have been going back and forth about a traffic advisor. I like the idea but wasn't sure drivers really get what they are trying to be told, but I guess from ready here they DO get it. And that I like. Nothings more reassuring than seeing them coming down the lane and move over. Makes it easier to keep an eye on your back, especially while working in the kill zone between the car and the truck when your croutched down hookin chains or whatever.


speedytow said:

I know it has been said a few times already and it was the first response on this thread, but in my opinion, the operator's brain is absolutely the most important safety item on any piece of equipment. Without adequately established standards, and subsequent training to those standards ie:) what a safe work zone is, who is qualified to establish such a zone, how to establish and maintain such a zone, what to do with the people and equipment in that zone, etc. we are left to arbitrarily decide with our brains what works and doesn't work for ourselves, and as you can see it varies greatly.

Accidents happen in a fraction of a second. What happens if someone hits something you put out onto the travelled portion of a roadway ( regardless of if it is a cone, a piece of lumber, a chain, or your vehicle) and there are injuries to you or someone else? Do you have the proper training and authority to interfere with traffic on a public roadway? The time to find out is NOT when you are sitting in front of a judge.

Better yet, will your insurance pay your loved ones if you are killed at the side of the road in your running shoes, Motley Crew t-shirt and shorts, swinging a J-hook at cars while you work in front of a piece of wood you threw on the road ? This is not to belittle any one but rather to inspire thought because I can assure you I have employed at least one, if not all of the tactics mentioned in this thread myself when I felt threatened by idiots on the road. Your survival instincts kick in and you use whatever means you have, but answering for them later can be almost impossible if your methods are not established !

At the risk of sounding like a broken record ....... our industry needs to establish for itself, the standards for how a tower does his/her job and to ensure that every tower is educated and competent with those standards before they go out and work in live traffic. It is the only way to even begin to adequately cover our butts out there and to have the public and government show us a little more respect while we work for them.
An apprenticeship program with mandatory certification is the key to establishing and recognizing the tower's brain as a standardized, officialy recognizeable piece of safety equipment on a tow truck!

By comparison, a traffic cone is better defined than a tower! If you take it away from the truck, you still know what it is and what it does. If someone tried to pass off an ice cream cone as a traffic cone, you would know the difference every time, wouldn't you?

Would you know the difference between the ice cream cart operator and the tow truck operator? Every time? If they weren't standing beside their vehicle? I doubt it.

Provincial apprenticeships and the Red Seal Program are where Canadian towers brains should be established ..... for everyone's safety!

I don't want to hi-jack your thread Larry. I know you were looking for in-animate objects, but the brain came up more than once, and it is important. I personally like directional arrows because they train the far off mind in the direction you want them to go long before they can see the whites of your eyes. It's flash, but with a specific message to it.



speedytow said:

Slim miser strobe from AW Direct ( Blue in color) ...legal or not its the only different color i use other than the Amber Beacons, and believe it or not people slow down for it...not sure if they think i am Law Enforcement or not but i don't care it slows them down and keeps me and my customers alive...I don't not use it unless i am on a High Risk Highway or a Dark Highway & I don't chase or push Traffic with it...Strictly Roadside...I did get an OK from the RCMP in the area and follow their rules for it,but our Company has a good working relationship with the police , so that may help too...


unknown member said:

Slim miser strobe from AW Direct ( Blue in color) ...legal or not its the only different color i use other than the Amber Beacons, and believe it or not people slow down for it...not sure if they think i am Law Enforcement or not but i don't care it slows them down and keeps me and my customers alive...I don't not use it unless i am on a High Risk Highway or a Dark Highway & I don't chase or push Traffic with it...Strictly Roadside...I did get an OK from the RCMP in the area and follow their rules for it,but our Company has a good working relationship with the police , so that may help too...

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