MUSKEGON, Mich. – Eagle Towing dash cameras catch the daily danger of wrecker drivers on the job. Andrew Heykoop, an operations manager with Eagle Towing, caught a close call on camera last season when he ran into a ditch to dodge oncoming trucks.
“It’s always an issue,” “I was struck last year four times, and one time I had to dive out of the way," said Heykoop. "We lost a driver back 20 years ago. It’s always a risk.”
Drivers train and take precautions, such as wearing reflective clothing and setting their lights to avoid blinding oncoming traffic. Yet sometimes, Heykoop said, their safety is out of their hands.
“Slow down and move over to any emergency workers on the side of the highway, including tow trucks,” said Heykoop. “We’re three times more likely to be killed in an auto accident due to people failing to move over.”
He said that nationwide every week two to three wrecker drivers are killed while working, something he believes can be prevented if drivers slowed down and moved over.
Despite the competition between companies, Heykoop said towing can be a tight-knit business. “We have brothers and sisters of the towing, and we’re all related,” said Heykoop. “We don’t have to know each other, but if something happens to one of us, it hits all of us.”
Heykoop said another important reminder for drivers is to always have an emergency kit on hand in every vehicle. He said drivers should always have things accessible in their cars while they wait for help, such as a jacket, blankets, and a first aid kit.