Jump to content
  • Join the TowForce community.

    It looks like you're not logged in. Register to get started and to receive Tower Down Notices.

Do I Need to Yield to Tow Trucks With Amber (OR)


Recommended Posts

While Driving, Do I Need to Yield to Tow Trucks With Amber (Not Red or Blue) Flashers?

Just happened; the driver tailgated me and flipped me off at the next light, which he then ran.


While driving, do I need to yield to tow trucks with amber (not red or blue) flashers? Just happened; the driver tailgated me and flipped me off at the next light, which he then ran. Dude, you’re not a cop, ambulance or fire truck; fuck you too. —AAA Member, Not AA

It was surprisingly difficult to find an answer to your question. I first called Don Hamilton at the Portland office of the Oregon Department of Transportation.

“You mean the ‘move over’ law?” asked Don, referring to the law requiring freeway traffic to give a wide berth to emergency vehicles (expanded in 2018 to include tow trucks) on the shoulder. I explained that I didn’t, and he advised me to try Shelley Snow, a Salem spokesperson for the agency, with more hit points.

“Are you talking about the ‘move over’ law?” asked Snow. (The state had clearly stocked up on “move over” answers back in 2018, and they were priced to move.) After I clarified, she admitted she didn’t have an answer either, but would try to find someone who did.

As I wondered what form the final boss of this somewhat low-action quest might take, it occurred to me that any rule of the Oregon road that was news to ODOT had a major publicity problem. If a seasoned (or at least pickled) reporter couldn’t track it down, what hope was there for the average motorist?

I’ll spare you the suspense: There is no law that requires you to pull over for, or otherwise yield to, a tow truck, even one with flashing amber lights. (Though I should stress you still need to give a wide berth to emergency vehicles on the freeway shoulder.)

According to Snow, those lights serve the same purpose as the flashing amber lights that accompany a double-wide trailer being towed down the highway: They warn you there’s a large, unwieldy obstacle in the vicinity, so you should exercise caution.

In fact, tow trucks aren’t even allowed to use their flashers unless they have a car in tow, so the driver in your scenario is an asshole twice over—three times if you count the fact that he was probably on his way to a predatory tow, the bastard.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm personally not aware of ANY state that allows a wrecker or carrier to respond in emergency mode while under AMBER lights.


In the May and Septemer 2019 issues of American Towman, Brian Riker wrote a thorough article to cover lighting laws in 50-states. At the moment, I think Brian is out and about delivering another truck, so, on his behalf, here's a link he posted on TowForce in response to this topic.



Unfortunately, too many towers think they're first responders perhaps on their perception of wording used in TIM training. Until such time there is legislation and changes to current law, tow trucks will NOT be authorized to roll in a Code-3 manner, unless that tow truck is part of that agencies first responder network, i.e., Los Angeles Fire Department Heavy-Rescue, DOT, or many of the state's bridge authorities across America. The missing component for us towers is (state mandated) formal driver's training. Currently, there are NO formal, state accredited (large vehicle) tow truck training driving courses to suggest high-speed operations for tow truck response comparable to fire apperatus or EMT-Ambulance driving modules. To suggest a tow truck or carrier respond at high-speed is safe to begin with, there's nothing more incorrect ... and that's obvious based on the number of tow operator fatalities killed responding to calls.  So, for the Oregon tower abusing his lighting and safe response protocols ... just move-over to avoid a case of road-rage and let him pass. Eventually, some cop might spot his behavior and write him a cite.     R.

  • Like 1

Randall C. Resch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...
Please Sign In or Sign Up