It can be a relief if anyone stops to help when you break down on the side of the road, but not everyone that offers aid has your best interest at heart. It's best to be cautious and only use a verified vehicle towing service in the event of a breakdown.
1. Keep Tow Service Numbers on Hand
Be proactive and program a few tow service phone numbers into your phone so you have them on hand in the event you ever need emergency vehicle towing. Have numbers not just for your own town, but for any cities or states you frequently travel to. This way you can find a trusted towing company no matter where you happen to be in the event of a breakdown.
2. Contact Your Insurance Company
If you don't have a tow number already, then contact your insurance or roadside service company before you contact a tow company. Many policies include towing reimbursement as part of your coverage, and the insurance agent may have trusted tow companies that they recommend. Even if you don't have tow coverage, the insurance agent may be able to give you a list of their preferred providers. This can help you choose a tow service that you can trust.
3. Never Use a "Drive Up" Service
Never allow someone that just stops for you to tow your vehicle, even if their vehicle seems capable of pulling your car. It's best to be cautious if it isn't someone you know or an actual towing service. Even if the person that stops means well, they may damage your car worse if they are not an actual tow provider. Play it safe and only use a tow service that you have personally called and booked a tow with.
4. Ask the Dispatcher for Driver Information
When booking your tow, ask the dispatcher for information so that you can identify the driver. This is especially true if you are using a roadside service since these services often contract with several different local towing companies. The dispatcher should be able to give you the name of the driver and key identifying information, such as their license plate number, ID badge number, or vehicle description.
5. Verify Your Driver's Credentials
When the driver arrives don't just assume it is the tow truck you ordered. Check the credentials that were provided to you by the dispatcher. If they don't match up, call back the dispatcher to verify that this is really the truck they sent. Chances are that it will be and that there was just a change in the available driver, but it is always safest to check first.
Contact a vehicle towing service immediately if you need assistance.