Many people mistakenly think of tow truck drivers as the bad guys that take away illegally parked or repossessed cars. Some know them as helpers when your car breaks down or a flat tire needs to be changed. An even smaller percentage probably don’t realize just how dangerous the world of tow truck driving can be.

In a recent U.S. study, occupational injuries and deaths among first responders, including tow truck drivers, was more than twice the national average. Each year 60 to 80 tow operators are killed in North America. Drivers put themselves in danger every day. Trying to do your job on a narrow shoulder of a roadway with cars whizzing by can be a harrowing experience.

Break downs can happen anywhere but when they happen on a busy highway or major thoroughfare, tow truck drivers need to be able to get access and do their job but the shoulder is much narrower than a regular lane, if there is a shoulder to begin with. A number of jurisdictions, including Alberta, have Move Over Laws to help first responders. The laws require drivers approaching an accident to change lanes and reduce speed. The problem is many drivers don’t know about it or forget and race through.

Whether a law is in place or not, it should just be a common sense move that when you see those flashing lights or cones on the road slow down. Give the workers plenty of room to move by switching lanes and that way everyone will get home safely every night.