CAA wants tow trucks protected by right-of-way laws

The CAA says providing roadside assistance can be very dangerous for tow truck drivers, especially in the winter. (CAA)

The CAA says providing roadside assistance can be very dangerous for tow truck drivers, especially in the winter.

Canadian Automobile Association wants the three Maritime provinces to include tow trucks in emergency vehicle right-of-way laws.

‘We get a lot of close calls’

Including tow trucks in the legislation means that drivers of other vehicles could be fined for not slowing down, not passing with caution or not pulling over when a tow truck is providing assistance on the side of a road, explained CAA Atlantic spokesman Gary Howard.

“We get a lot of close calls on a daily basis and that becomes even more relevant in the winter when there’s less space on the side of the road,” he said.

“Working on the side of the road can be very dangerous for any emergency responder. Half of the calls that we’re doing are on the side of the road, so we feel it’s important for all tow truck drivers to have this included in the legislation.”

P.E.I.’s Department of Transportation said it is looking into the request.

Newfoundland already offers this protection to tow truck drivers, Howard said. He added that Ontario has recently included tow truck drivers into its legislation.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-caa-tow-trucks-1.3862102

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Thanksgiving travel means plenty business for tow trucks

GRAND ISLAND, Neb.– Thanksgiving traffic can be a busy not only on the highways and interstates, but also for tow trucks.

“You never know what’s going to happen. I mean sometimes it’s a little bit slower, steady or swamped,” said Debra Ortega, tow truck driver at Island Towing.

When the calls start coming, it’s because a car broke down, popped a tire or ran out of gas.

“They go by their gas gauge when it says they have so many miles left, they don’t. They need to get gas before the lights come on,” said Ortega.

As for Thanksgiving travelers, once the worst case scenario happens, they never forget.

“When I was little, my mom had a really old car and it broke down. We ended up having to drive back to my grandparents, get it repaired and then drive home,” said Kristin Sandstede.

GRAND ISLAND, Neb.– Thanksgiving traffic can be a busy not only on the highways and interstates, but also for tow trucks.

“You never know what’s going to happen. I mean sometimes it’s a little bit slower, steady or swamped,” said Debra Ortega, tow truck driver at Island Towing.

When the calls start coming, it’s because a car broke down, popped a tire or ran out of gas.

“They go by their gas gauge when it says they have so many miles left, they don’t. They need to get gas before the lights come on,” said Ortega.

As for Thanksgiving travelers, once the worst case scenario happens, they never forget.

“When I was little, my mom had a really old car and it broke down. We ended up having to drive back to my grandparents, get it repaired and then drive home,” said Kristin Sandstede.

Sandstede and her family are traveling from Omaha to Colorado for Thanksgiving. She said she makes sure her tires have enough tread, the oil is changed, and that her car is even washed before she hits the road.

“I don’t know. My parents always said a clean car is always more visible on the road,” said Sandstede.

If something bad does happen, Sandstede said she even knows who to call.

“I always have a list of contacts and a plan of who I would call, who’s closest, kind of knowing where you’re at and how far you are from your destination,” said Sandstede.

In case all else fails and there aren’t any mechanic shops open, tow truck driver Matthew Ortega said some drivers have even spent the extra money to have their car and them towed to where they need to be on thanksgiving.

“Most people don’t have a lot of vacation time and when they finally have vacation and they break down, they want to get where they want to go,” said Ortega.

With the winter weather beginning to set in, drivers should also have an emergency pack in their car at all times. Some items that are recommended are jumper cables, a flash light, as well as snacks and water.

Sandstede and her family are traveling from Omaha to Colorado for Thanksgiving. She said she makes sure her tires have enough tread, the oil is changed, and that her car is even washed before she hits the road.

“I don’t know. My parents always said a clean car is always more visible on the road,” said Sandstede.

If something bad does happen, Sandstede said she even knows who to call.

“I always have a list of contacts and a plan of who I would call, who’s closest, kind of knowing where you’re at and how far you are from your destination,” said Sandstede.

In case all else fails and there aren’t any mechanic shops open, tow truck driver Matthew Ortega said some drivers have even spent the extra money to have their car and them towed to where they need to be on thanksgiving.

“Most people don’t have a lot of vacation time and when they finally have vacation and they break down, they want to get where they want to go,” said Ortega.

With the winter weather beginning to set in, drivers should also have an emergency pack in their car at all times. Some items that are recommended are jumper cables, a flash light, as well as snacks and water.

Find original: http://www.nbcneb.com/content/news/Thanksgiving-travel-means-plenty-business-for-tow-trucks-402811696.html

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In train vs. tow truck, the train wins

According to Capt. Mark Pierce of the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office in Wichita, Kansas, an initial four-car crash occurred nearby, which resulted in three people being transported to the hospital for minor injuries. As a tow truck was arriving to secure one of the vehicles in that crash, a passing train clipped the bed of the truck, sending a car flying. No injuries were reported from the second crash.

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Courtesy of Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office

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Been Towed in Hillsborough?

Hillsborough’s Public Transportation Commission can help consumers seek full or partial refunds if they have been wrongfully towed.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY – You went shopping only to find your car had been towed while you were away.

What should you do?

If you think you’ve been wrongfully towed in Hillsborough County, the Public Transportation Commission says it can help. The PTC regulates for-hire transportation, which includes towing companies, and often assists drivers in Hillsborough County by investigating tow complaints.

The PTC asks that citizens who feel they were wrongfully towed call the PTC or file a complaint online as soon as possible. The PTC will investigate the situation to ensure that the tow truck driver followed the proper policies and rules and that it was a valid tow.

In fact, in some instances, the PTC has been able to get full or partial refunds for drivers. So far this year, the PTC has helped more than 70 percent of citizens who sought their help with getting a refund.

To avoid getting towed, the PTC offers this advice:

• Don’t park in a business’ lot if you are not patronizing that business.
• If you parked in a staffed lot, remember to grab the receipt.
• If you parked in a lot with an honor box, make sure you videotape or take a photo of yourself paying, so you have proof.
• Don’t block anyone’s driveway or business entrance when parking.

While these tips are helpful in trying to avoid a potential tow situation, the PTC also offers tips to help you if your car has been towed.

If your car has been towed:

• If you suspect that the tow was not lawful, call the PTC to report it before you get your car back.
• Take pictures of the area around your car. Take notice of any signs indicating that your car was illegally parked. If signs were not posted at every entrance, it was not a valid tow. All signs should list the tow company with a contact phone number.
• Tow truck drivers are required to have proof of the violation. If the driver did not take pictures of your violation, you may be entitled to a partial or full refund.
• Be sure to pick up your vehicle between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Otherwise, you will be charged a gate fee of $50 before obtaining your car.

The Hillsborough County Public Transportation is an independent Special District that regulates vehicles for-hire, which includes taxicabs, limousines, vans, basic life support ambulances and wrecker services that support government agencies. The PTC also helps consumers who have complaints with these types of services.

Read more: http://www.tbreporter.com/local-news/hillsborough/towed-hillsborough/

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Ireland’s confusing towing rules explained

Popular: Skoda Ireland says 22 per cent of its new cars in 2015 were ordered with factory-fitted towing systemsPopular: Skoda Ireland says 22 per cent of its new cars in 2015 were ordered with factory-fitted towing systems

It’s common on Irish roads to see a car towing a trailer while clipping along at the 120km/h speed limit, despite the fact that the legal speed limit for towing a trailer is just 80km/h.

Speed is just one of the regulations concerning trailer use that are frequently flaunted. The laws and licensing for trailer use are complicated and at times confusing. The reality is that many drivers are towing trailers without the proper licence, despite the risk of incurring penalty points and potentially voiding their insurance cover. With trailer use, weight is the key.

What can I tow on my car licence? On a standard B car licence you can tow a trailer that has a maximum authorised mass (Mam) of 750kg; this includes the weight of both the trailer and its load. (A trailer’s technical specifications are stamped on a metal plate attached to it.) You can also tow a trailer and load weighing more than 750kg as long as the combined weight of the vehicle and loaded trailer does not exceed 3,500kg. A “type 01”, “unbraked” trailer does not need a braking mechanism. This trailer is likely to be small – when it is empty you could manhandle it with little effort – with, usually, just one axle.

Can I tow a horsebox on a car licence? According to the Road Safety Authority, “As a general rule a category B licence does not entitle the holder to tow a horsebox or a livestock trailer, because the combined Mam would exceed 3,500kg.” But this is not always the case. Again, as long as the total weight of the car, trailer and load carried does not exceed 3,500kg you can drive it on a B licence. For example, a Skoda Octavia family estate towing a “type 02” trailer – one with a Mam of more than 750kg – with two bulls weighs in at 3,085kg combined, but the same trailer and livestock towed by a Toyota Land Cruiser SUV weighs in at 4,440kg, well over the 3,500kg B-licence limit.

Drivers of large SUVs on a B licence need to take care, as their heavier vehicles can often push the total weight above the 3,500kg limit, then requiring a category BE (car and trailer) licence.

This seems inherently silly, as a large SUV would generally have more power than a car, to make towing easier, but that’s the way the rules apply.

Of course, before you attach a hitch to a Ford Ka it’s worth noting the towing vehicle must be certified to tow the weight of the trailer and load.

What if the vehicle, trailer and load together weigh more than 3,500kg and I don’t have a BE licence? To gain a category BE on your car licence you must have a full B licence. You are required to get a learner permit and take a practical driving test. You must sit a theory test in category BW (if you haven’t already to get your B licence) to gain a learner permit. You must display an L-plate on the trailer and when practising with it must be accompanied by a driver with a full BE licence. Lessons are not mandatory for a BE test, but the RSA recommends them. During the test, drivers are given the option of reversing to their left or right around a corner. Can I use any trailer for my BE test? No, it must be a permanent boxed trailer, such as a horsebox, at least as wide and as high as the vehicle towing it and at least 2.4 metres long. The trailer must be presented with 30 four-inch cement blocks as a load.

What does a BE licence allow me to tow? With BE, the trailer and load can weigh up to 3,500kg and your vehicle can weigh up to the same maximum of 3.5 tonnes, bringing the combined weight to 7,000kg. A BE-licence holder can tow a car, whereas a B-licence holder cannot.

Can I buy a new trailer from anyone? Since late October 2012 the days of buying a trailer built by a local lad who is good with his hands are gone. All new trailers for sale must have “European Community whole vehicle type approval”. The National Standards Authority of Ireland is responsible for testing and issuing national approvals for trailers made in Ireland. The law is unclear on older trailers and their use, but ultimately the driver is responsible for the safety of his or her trailer and load.

An example of the scale of the towing market in Ireland is evident by orders for cars fitted with hitches. Skoda Ireland says that last year 22 per cent of the new cars it sold were ordered with factory-fitted towing systems.

The benefit of a factory-fitted system is that it’s equipped with compatible electrics connections, while the car’s stability control and other driving aids automatically adapt to having a trailer attached.

The car’s alarm also recognises that a trailer is attached and monitors it; light bulbs in the trailer are monitored, too; stop/start is switched off; and the ABS adjusts for the trailer. Factory tow hitches aren’t cheap but are worth it. Skoda’s start at €499 and rise to €899.

We were invited to put our towing skills to the test at a novel event. We had a Skoda Octavia Combi (from €32,710) to which we hitched a general-purpose twin-axle trailer.

The first challenge was to collect and load a round bale of straw and then drive on a mix of roads. Securing the load, in this case with ratchet straps, is the responsibility of the driver. It is an offence to have an unsecured load. The motorway section of the route was incredibly dull, as we stuck to the 80km/h car-and-trailer speed limit.

At times we felt a little anxious, as cars and buses would appear rapidly behind us and then overtake. Our trailer was braked, so it had internal brakes that were applied whenever the car slowed down. The trailer was new, so it didn’t tug or jerk at all – something older or poorly serviced trailers can do.

At the end of the trip a car park was coned out and a number of reversing tasks were set for us by John Kearney, an instructor with Hynes Quinn driving school.

“Professional training can make the difference between passing and failing your test. More often than not people tend to oversteer; with professional training you can get the best advice to get the trailer going where you want it to go,” he said.

We managed quite well, but reversing with a trailer is a skill you really only master with practice.

Reversing a trailer is counterintuitive, but once you get a feel for it your confidence grows. With a growing number of cars fitted with hitches taking to our roads, it’s a skill that more motorists should formally learn rather than hope to pick up along the way.

Read more: http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/motors/ireland-s-confusing-towing-rules-explained-1.2633473

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2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Prototypes Spied Testing Towing Capacity

ne of the vehicles that occupy a position in the top three of our spyshots section this year has to be the next-gen Mercedes-Benz G-Class. The W464 prototypes seem to be everywhere these days and we’re back with another piece of spy footage showing the offroader.

The video, which you can find at the bottom of the page, reveals a pair of G Wagons performing towing tests – both vehicles spied here were consciously handling their trailer duties.

The towing capacity of the next G is obviously an important detail and while we’re talking weight, we’ll remind you the Mercedes-Benz is expected to go on a serious diet. The new platform should allow the rugged terrain machine to become up to 400 kilos (880 lbs) lighter, all while growing in width, which will seriously boost cabin space.

Speaking of the interior, we’ve already shown you various bits of the dashboard, such as the instrument cluster or the rounded air vents – forget the digital craze taking over the car world, the Gelandewagen will stay true to its roots, maintaining analog dials.

Infotainment fans shouldn’t fret, though, as the vehicle will pack the large 12.3-inch central display seen on the S-Class and E-Class, all without the add-on positioning of the current G-Class. In case you missed the leaked dashboard, you can find it here.

While the wild side of the rumor mill expects the G-Class to receive the 48V electric system that will allow the upcoming S-Class facelift to offer mild hybrid assistance, the rugged focus of the model could mean engineers will skip this feature for the once-military offroader, but it’s still too early to tell.

And to end this story on a high horse(power) note, we’ll mention that the automaker’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, in multiple stages of tune, will serve an important part of the new G-Class line-up, namely the G550/G500 and G63. So we”re not exactly dealing with a gentle giant here.

Read more: http://www.autoevolution.com/news/2018-mercedes-benz-g-class-prototypes-spied-testing-towing-capacity-111337.html#ixzz4Kj3d5tGz

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Proper preparation, safety is must when towing a trailer

Proper loading and size of your tow vehicle is critical to staying safe while traveling no matter the weather you may come across during your journeys.  Russ Tice, For the Press DispatchProper loading and size of your tow vehicle is critical to staying safe while traveling no matter the weather you may come across during your journeys. Russ Tice, For the Press Dispatch

Happy Camping to you! Russ and Lori would like to answer some email questions we have received with regard to tow vehicles and trailer weights or lengths. Most questions applied to the towing of a travel trailer, yet the question of towing boats or vehicles behind a motorhome also was of concern to some.
The dynamics of trailer towing have not changed much over the years but the dynamics of tow-vehicles and travel trailers has over the past several years. Tow vehicles of today are computer controlled wonders of horsepower and gear selection with automatic transmissions. With that in mind, proper loading and size of the tow vehicle is critical to staying safe.
An overloaded trailer or towing with a vehicle that has exceeded its tow or weight ratings is extremely dangerous. It is not just the stated weight of the vehicle and trailer. Those figures are generally for an ‘unloaded vehicle’. This includes the weight of passengers, water, propane, holding tanks, and all gear stored aboard. For example; four adults in the vehicle can easily weigh a combined 600 pounds or more. 50 gallons of water in the rig is another 400 pounds. You are already at 1000 pounds of extra weight and we have not put an ounce of gear, food, or supplies in the rig yet. When we add up the combined weight of everything you are taking with you, it is not unusual to find that we have 500 or more pounds to think about. A few cases of water or soda give you an idea of how weight adds up. Russ and Lori want you to stay safe.
There is an expert in the High Desert with regard to tow vehicles, travel trailers, motorhomes, you name it. Timm over at I-15 RV in Hesperia has been around as long as Russ and Lori. He has a history and knowledge to assist you with any RV questions. I spoke with him and he is more than happy for you to visit or call. His expertise is what has Russ and Lori set-up nicely with a great travel trailer-tow vehicle combo.
We tow what is in length a 34 foot Vibe travel trailer. Interestingly enough, towing is quite nice with our RAM half-ton truck. The RAM has a Hemi engine and 3.92 differential. That gives our truck about a 10,500 pound tow rating. The Vibe Extreme Lite trailer is about 6,700 pounds unloaded. We tow with only 5 gallons of water in the trailer tank. Even then, I am looking at a good 700 pounds more when we consider our two little generators, full RV propane tanks, gas can, bottled water, food, clothes, firewood, etc. Put Lori and Russ in the truck cab and there is another 300 pounds. Russ and Lori agree on the 300 pounds yet are still in discussion about that weight distribution. Our pre-load 6,700 pounds is now about 7,700 pounds.
Always try to stay between 70 percent and no more than 80 percent of your vehicle’s tow ratings. Three terms you need to know are GVWR, RGAWR, and GCWR. GVWR is the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. This is the weight that the vehicle should never ever exceed. This rating is the ‘most’ that your vehicle should ever weigh. Again, give yourself a margin. Never max-out a vehicle. You would never do that to a horse, right? Treat your vehicle like a good person treats a horse and it will give you many years of enjoyment.
RGAWR is the Rear Gross Axle Weight Rating. This is the maximum weight that the tow vehicle’s rear axle should carry. This is where hitch weight of the trailer can make a difference.
GCWR is the Gross Combination Weight Rating. This is the combined gross tow vehicle weight and gross trailer weight that should never be exceeded.
One more deal here is the hitch rating on your tow vehicle. The hitch rating is the absolute most weight that the hitch can support. Stay within a safe margin. The vehicle tow receiver may have a different rating number than the hitch, depending on manufacture or different ratings. Always go with the lower number.
You can search some online weight calculators for RV and travel trailer use. We use this for comparison only and do not rely on these numbers. Only the actual ratings for your particular rig matter.
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Proper preparation, safety is must when towing a trailer is republished from dublin.apextowing.ie