So you were involved in a car crash and your car needs to be towed away.

You have rights, so don’t just sign any documents.

According to a statement by the Automobile Association (AA), over the last few months there have been several alarming stories of motorists who have had bad experiences with towing services and tow truck drivers.

In some instances, the drivers’ cars were towed away without their permission and in other unfortunate cases, the tow truck drivers allegedly acted in an unprofessional manner which resulted in the motorists having to pay excessive fees for their cars to be towed.

While these stories might leave some motorists feeling apprehensive, especially when looking at quotations towing services offer, it’s important for drivers to remember that not all tow truck drivers are unscrupulous. There are accredited service providers who adhere to strict rules and ethics.

Tow truck drivers offer a valuable service and if you are in an accident or break down on the side of the road, they are there to help you. However, it is important for motorists to know their rights so they are not pressured into signing an agreement which they are not comfortable with.

Before embarking on any journey, it is always important to be prepared. One of the first questions to ask yourself is: “Will there be towing services near me?”

Next, it is important to know your rights when it comes to dealing with tow truck drivers.

Helpful tips. Always carefully check any documentation before signing.

. It is your right to choose a tow truck driver who is a member of the South African Towing and Recovery Association (Satra) or United Towing Association of South Africa (Utasa).

. If you are insured, contact your insurance provider for advice or any other information you may require.

. If your insurance includes cover for towing, call the emergency assistance number.

. Make sure your car is taken to a repair workshop which your insurance has approved.

. Make sure you get all the relevant details from the tow truck driver (his name, the name, contact number and physical address of the company he works for, as well as the tow truck’s registration number).

. Establish exactly how much it will cost to tow your car before agreeing to anything.

. Remove all valuables from your car before it is towed away.

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