Towing The Line

4 min read

Have you ever wondered about the life of a tow truck driver? Highway learns from Derek Wong that the workday of an AA Singapore tow truck driver is never dull.

HOW DID YOU BECOME A TOW TRUCK DRIVER?
I have always been interested in the automotive industry, and previously held related jobs, such as driving a lorry and cargo truck, and even operating a mobile crane.

WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR CONCERNS WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED OUT AS A TOW TRUCK DRIVER?
My biggest concern was the safety risks of the job, as tow truck drivers often have to stop by the side of busy roads to attend to vehicles that have broken down. It puts us in a vulnerable position, susceptible to traffic accidents. It’s a good thing that we have Standard Operating Procedures in place for us to follow, and help us manage the potential hazards at the roadside.

Upon arrival, I will position the tow truck to shield the broken-down vehicle before assessing the situation. Other safety measures include using cones and warning triangles to inform oncoming motorists of the breakdown ahead. It’s important for us to be alert to traffic approaching from the rear while performing the job to ensure that we and our members are safe.

We are also constantly exposed to adverse weather, and continue to work regardless of rain or shine — unless there’s a heavy thunderstorm, which makes it unsafe for us to proceed with the tow. In addition, we have to deal with distressed members who do not know what to do and calmly reassure them that we are there to help.

WE’RE CURIOUS ABOUT THE DAILY LIFE OF A TOW TRUCK DRIVER. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU NEED TO PREPARE BEFORE HEADING OUT FOR A CASE?
Usually, we will do our standard checks to ensure that the tow truck is road-ready, and prepare the necessary documents and tools needed before attending to a case.

IS PUMPING FUEL FOR YOUR TOW TRUCK DIFFERENT FROM A NORMAL CAR?
No, the way I refuel the vehicle is the same as for other cars. However, we use diesel instead of petrol. Just as for cars, we also need to be careful not to use mobile phones during the refuelling and to watch out for any diesel spill while the tank is being filled.

HAS YOUR TRUCK EVER RUN OUT OF DIESEL ON THE JOB?
Never! It will be very embarrassing if the tow truck has to be recovered because of a lack of diesel. That is why I perform checks before the start of my shift to ensure that the tow truck has sufficient diesel for the day ahead.

HAS YOUR TOW TRUCK EVER BROKEN DOWN WHILE ON THE WAY TO A CASE?
Yes, it happened to me once. Tow trucks are just like cars and they do occasionally break down. I had to call for a recovery truck to tow the truck back to the workshop for repair. Unfortunately, I could not attend to the case in time and our operations team swiftly reassigned the job to a colleague. We are thankful to have members who are patient and understanding of such unforeseen circumstances.

WHAT IS ONE OF THE MOST COMMON PROBLEMS YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED FOR VEHICLES THAT NEEDED TO BE TOWED?
Most of the time, we find that the car has overheated, which is not uncommon, given the hot climate we live in. To be safe and avoid damage to the engine, we will usually tow these cars to a workshop or service centre for further checks.

WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING PART ABOUT YOUR JOB?
The most rewarding thing about my job comes from seeing the happy and relieved smiles of our members when we arrive at their location and help them solve their problems as quickly and efficiently as we can — which is what AA is well known for.

THE MOST REWARDING THING ABOUT MY JOB COMES FROM SEEING THE HAPPY AND RELIEVED SMILES OF OUR MEMBERS WHEN WE ARRIVE AT THEIR LOCATION AND HELP THEM SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS AS QUICKLY AND EFFICIENTLY AS WE CAN — WHICH IS WHAT AA IS WELL KNOWN FOR.

Need towing services? Call our 24-hour hotline at 1800-NEED-TOW (1800-6333-869).
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