When a vehicle is secured for towing, the point at which it is secured begins to work like a hinge. When the vehicle in the front turns while reversing, the hinge or pivot point reacts by swinging the opposite direction. The driver must compensate for this by turning their wheel the opposite direction they want the towed load to go.
As the diagram demonstrates, if you want the load to go right, you must turn the wheel to the left; if you want the load to go left, you must turn the load to the right.
Every load will react differently when backing up. It is important for an operator to take their time when backing up, as rushing can lead to damage or a dangerous situation. WreckMaster recommends occasionally practicing reversing with a load in your company’s lot or storage yard to keep your skills as sharp as possible.
Whenever a casualty is being towed, it will impact the wrecker’s turning radius to some degree. The amount that the turning radius can be affected will be unique to both the towing vehicle and the casualty being towed. However, there are some general best practices to follow when turning with a load.
- When approaching a turn, significantly reduce speed.
- Take the turn slowly.
- Keep a consistent speed until both the wrecker and the casualty have made the turn.
- Take a wider cut at the turn so the casualty can clear the sidewalk or anything else that may impede the turn.
Operators should also take care when changing lanes. Be sure to enter lanes slowly and be careful not to jerk the wheel.
WreckMaster recommends that an operator familiarizes themselves with he wrecker they will be operating and how it reacts under load by practicing in their company lot.