Are you stuck on the side of the road waiting for the tow truck driver from your roadside assistance service company to arrive? While a car breakdown can be stressful, lead to an unpleasant day, cause feelings of helplessness, and be a financial burden, it is more common to need roadside assistance than you might think. In fact, most people will need a tow at least once in their lifetimes. But do you tip tow truck drivers?
Your tow truck service person can take care of a variety of tow truck service scenarios including changing a flat tire or tire blowout, towing your car after a vehicle breakdown, fixing a dead battery with a battery jumpstart, winching your car out of a ditch, and lockout assistance to get you back into your car. Other small services include bringing you enough gas to get to the next station to compensate for a malfunctioning gas gauge, getting you going again with a driveway battery rescue, and giving you a ride to the nearest repair shop.
A tow truck driver is a welcome sight to a stranded motorist, but what do after they’ve fixed your car problems? Do you need to leave a tip on top of the cost of the service?
Answered: Do You Tip Tow Truck Drivers?
No, the general consensus is that you don’t need to tip tow truck drivers, although your tips are always appreciated. Tipping is an American institution, and when using a service, such as a tow truck, that you’re not familiar with can lead to tipping confusion.
While the initial cost of the tow or yearly membership fee is all that’s required to ensure towing services, tips are entirely up to you.
If you do want to leave a tip for an extra helpful tow truck driver that helped you in bad weather, got you on the way again in a short time, winched you out of a winter ditch scenario in a snowstorm, or just got you out of a jam, feel free to leave a tip.
Tow truck drivers are professionals who own their own truck or work for a towing company. Truck owners are small business owners that get paid per tow using their own tow trucks. Those that work for a company are paid on an hourly basis. In either case, your tips for exceptional service make a difference but are never required.
How Much Should I Tip The Tow Truck Driver?
As mentioned previously, you don’t have to tip tow truck drivers since it’s not a social norm. While not required, your tips are always appreciated.
You might feel like leaving them a little cash if they rescued you late at night, in the middle of nowhere, or in terrible weather. You’re grateful for the help, and they’ll be thankful for your tip.
What’s a good tip for a tow truck driver?
There’s no set standard, but a general guideline is a good tip is $5 for changing your tire, bringing you top-up gas, jumpstarting your battery, and attending to a lockout or $10 for towing your vehicle.
You can leave more for labor-intensive that took a greater amount of work, as an act of kindness, or to reward a driver with a winning personality.
How should I leave a tip?
Wait until the tow truck driver is done and then give them a tip in cash. Don’t tip before since your tip is to reward the service that you received.
Frequently Asked Tow Truck Driver Questions
People often have specific questions about tow truck drivers. Here are some of the most common questions people ask.
Do you give tow truck drivers your keys?
Yes, you should give your tow truck driver your car keys. If you don’t leave your keys, your vehicle might not be able to be towed. That could needlessly prolong a bad day for you.
Why not? The driver needs to maneuver the car if necessary, have the steering column locked in a straight forward position, and then put the vehicle in neutral for the tow. If you don’t leave the keys, the driver might need to break into your vehicle to adjust the steering, put it into neutral, and release the parking brake.
Keys also serve as proof of ownership and prevents tow truck companies from unknowingly aiding in auto thefts! Some roadside assistance companies, such as AAA, will not tow a vehicle if you can’t provide the keys.
If you won’t be with your vehicle when the tow truck arrives, leave the key in a hidden location. After hiding the key, make sure to tell the tow truck driver where it is. Typical hiding places are on top of one of the tires or at the base of a nearby sign. Keep it simple!
How do tow truck drivers unlock cars?
If you’ve lost your car keys or had them stolen, tow truck drivers help you out. If you’re in need of lockout service, they can help you. While it might seem that unlocking your car requires exceptional skill, that’s not the case. The truth is that almost anyone can “jimmy” a car with practice and the right tools.
How do they do unlock your car without the keys? While it depends on the kind of situation and type of car, they use a lockout tool kit. This lockout kit includes a pry wedge, air wedge, various plastic wedges, a slim jim, a weather seal separator tool, Sully strips, and a long reach tool. Broadly, the wedge tools allow the lockout specialist to insert the Sully strip or long reach tool, which is used to physically unlock the car.
Typically, a tow truck driver will select the appropriate wedge for your car, insert it, and then use the Sully strip or a long reach tool to unlock the door. The driver might need to insert a tool inside the door panel, obtain a replacement key, or break the window in rare cases.
How long does it take for a tow truck to come?
Waiting on a tow truck can be a frustrating experience. The average tow truck response time is one hour nationally. This can, however, vary by location, time of day, weather conditions, and who your roadside assistance company is. The range of response times is from 35 minutes to more than 3 hours in rare cases.
AAA has the fastest response time of 35 minutes on average, while others clock in nearer to the one-hour mark. If you’re in a sparsely populated area or the weather is bad, plan on waiting longer. You could wait up to three hours in challenging weather conditions as tow trucks help the next stranded motorists.
If you’ve been waiting for more than an hour, find out why. Call your roadside service representative or towing company representative to find out why the tow truck hasn’t arrived yet.
How much do tow truck drivers get paid?
Tow truck drivers are road service professionals that work in hazardous conditions in all types of weather. How much money do they make?
The average tow truck driver in the United States makes $16.68 per hour. This average varies based on location and whether the driver has a special commercial driver’s license (CDL). Those with jobs requiring a CDL-A license can expect to earn 45.87% more!
Other tow truck drivers own their own vehicles are get paid per tow. That means that what you pay them is part of their overall compensation since they’re not paid per hour.
How often do tow truck drivers die?
Being a tow truck driver is a hazardous occupation, with a tow truck driver dying from work-related incidents every six days in the United States. It’s a sad fact that other drivers don’t move out of the way for tow trucks helping motorists in distress. This is despite laws and common sense saying that they should.
In fact, being a tow truck driver is one of the most dangerous occupations, with a work-related death rate that’s more than 14 times greater than the average profession. This is despite drivers taking their own safety seriously, while others zoom on by inches away.