‘Know your towing rights’ - Automobile Association

2018-07-26 06:01

BEING stuck on the side of the road is an unpleasant and sometimes scary situation for anyone.

This can be even worse if you are stuck because of a crash. The Automobile Association (AA) advised all motorists to be aware of their rights, and in control of events, in such a situation.

“We hear too often of motorists who are involved in crashes and they have their vehicles towed away from the scene without their permission, or where their vehicles are taken and then towed and stored at excessive daily rates.

“There is no need for this to happen. Motorists have rights and they must enforce these if they are able to,” noted the AA.

The association said it was important to note that not all tow-truck operators were unscrupulous and that there were more professional, ethical operators than those who weren’t.

There are accredited service providers who adhere to strict rules and ethics. It was important to recognise that tow trucks provide a valuable service to motorists who are stranded on the side of the road due to mechanical breakdowns or as a result of crashes.

“Towing can be costly. If you are not in a financial position to pay a large once-off fee for towing, we would advise vehicle owners to explore options which cover these costs,” said the AA.

Among the tips the AA gave to motorists in relation to towing services are:

. If you are involved in an incident, and are able to do so, contact your insurer first; don’t let someone else do so on your behalf.

. It is your right to choose a tow-truck driver, not anyone else’s.

This only applies if you are able to contact them. If you are incapacitated, police or emergency personnel on the scene will make a decision on who should tow your vehicle.

. Always check and read any documentation carefully before signing anything.

. If you are insured, contact your insurance provider for advice.

. If your insurance includes cover for towing, contact the emergency number provided with your cover.

. Get all the relevant information from the tow-truck operator before allowing him to move your vehicle.

This should include their name, company name, company registration or association registration number, contact number and physical address, and the registration number of the vehicle. If possible, take a photograph of your vehicle with the tow-truck before it leaves.

. Establish upfront, and in writing if possible, how much the service is going to cost, and how much any storage costs will be, especially if you do not have any cover.

. Remove all valuables from your vehicle before it is towed.

. Contact the AA for assistance, if you are member.

“It is important for motorists to understand they are in charge of the vehicles, and that they do not have to be intimidated into doing anything they don’t want to do.

“Being covered through insurance is the best option, but even without it, no-one has the right to take your vehicle without your consent,” advised the AA.

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