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WreckMaster Blog - Instructor Insight: Roadside Carrier Safety

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As a WreckMaster Instructor and veteran of the towing industry, what are some of the things that you think carrier operators need to be doing a better?

I think Carrier operators should be watching out for themselves a lot better, looking for traffic, looking for hazards. 18 out of 20 towing related injuries happen on a flatbed or roll back, so you need to make yourself the most important person at SCENE.

What is the three points rule and why is it important that operators follow it?

The three points of contact rule is at when you enter the truck you always have three points of contact one like two hands or two feet  one hand and get it out of the truck or exit the truck the same way, always maintaining three points of contact. That way if a car comes close to you you can pull yourself back in the cab.

How do you recommend an operator deals with the customer while working roadside? Does the volume of traffic impact this?

First and foremost, I think they should be taking care of the customer, getting the customer in their truck’s cabin with a seat belt on or behind the guard rail. The customer needs to come first. The amount of traffic should not matter when it comes to the customer, whether there is one car or 400 car.

Is it ever OK to cut corners on a busy road way or if you’re only traveling a short distance?

The only shortcut I feel that should be taken is on a busy roadway or interstate. You can tie down one front corner and one rear corner of the casualty until you can get off the roadway, to a rest station or some other safe location to finish tying the other two points down. That way you’re not impeding the flow of traffic and you’re not in any danger as you’re off the roadway. Remember. 18 out of 20 injuries happen in our industry on a carrier.

Why is it important to properly survey the casualty and area?

The reason it’s important to do a SCENE survey on any casually is there will always be stuff hidden. It may be stuck on a tree stump or on a guard rail, etc. Many different things could happen so what you need to do is  survey the situation. You need to calculate what it’s going to take the winch the casualty up on the deck of the carrier. You need to explain to the customer, law enforcement or anyone else on scene what you are going to do. You need to check your no’s to make sure that there are no errors. Finally, you need to execute. Do it once and do it right.

What tips would you offer a new carrier operator?

My suggestion to a new operator is get as much training before you go out on the road by yourself. Watch videos, go to the WreckMaster website and get the skills and training. Go to WreckMaster, a Level 2/3 class and get some hands-on training. I have had students say they learned more coming to a class than in 20 years experience on the road, that learn a lot of different techniques, even just on the carrier scenario alone!


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