There is typically an underappreciation for the roles tow truck operators play in keeping others safe. They put their lives on the line at crash scenes or to help stranded motorists. If you are one of the thousands of tow truck drivers in Louisiana, you will work at all hours. You will brave adverse weather conditions to be the lifeline for broken down or crashed trucks and cars.
Inconsiderate and reckless drivers of other vehicles bring about most of the dangers you face daily. However, the fact that you must be available to rush out to help others 24/7 can cause fatigue, which is a safety hazard on its own.
Typical safety concerns for tow truck drivers
If you are aware of potential risks, you can look out for them and take the following precautions:
- Be alert: Always follow carefully planned routes, and remember that you might be a victim of crime. Be vigilant when you arrive at a crash scene or a broken-down vehicle because it could be a ruse by criminals to assault and rob you.
- Support team and communication: Ensure that your support team knows your planned route and the location of the accident or breakdown, and the address to which you must tow the vehicle. Also, provide the name and contact details of the person who called you.
- Be cautious at the scene: Bear in mind that you will often be at risk as you move about a crash scene or while you load a vehicle with mechanical problems. Fatalities when distracted or unobservant motorists strike tow truck drivers are all too common.
- Drowsiness: Your job requires alertness, and to remain sharp, it is crucial to follow a healthy diet. Medication, drugs and alcohol can cause drowsiness, and distractions can prevent you from keeping your eyes on the road.
- Health and fitness: Your job will demand strength and agility. If you engage in regular exercise, you can maintain the necessary fitness level; however, be careful of overexertion.
- Be visible: As mandated by the American National Standards Institute, you should wear a fluorescent yellow, orange or green safety vest. Make sure your boots offer sufficient traction and wear safety gloves to protect your hands, a helmet, and appropriate clothing in inclement weather.
- Drive defensively: Your job will require you to drive defensively and anticipate potential problems on the road. The nature of your vehicle might require extra vigilance when it comes to hazards in your blind spots.
The list of possible injuries is almost endless, but the most common ones include musculoskeletal injuries. You can prevent them by learning safe lifting techniques to protect your back and shoulders. Also, keep in mind that jumping down from the cab of your tow truck could lead to ankle, knee and hip injuries. It is also a good idea to be particularly aware of circumstances that could lead to struck-by or caught-in-or-between injuries.
How will you recover financial damages?
Although the Louisiana workers’ compensation insurance system covers all work-related injuries, your injuries might involve a third party, in which case you could recover more than the usual benefits for medical expenses and lost wages. It is always a good idea to secure the support and guidance of an attorney with experience in both workers’ compensation and personal injury fields of the law.