When it goes wrong on the road, you'll hear the vehicle cross the rumble strips, and then the hazard triangles "click" to the ground. The next moment is all about survival.
Roadside tire service technicians face serious dangers each time they go out on a call, but good strategy, vehicle positioning and visibility can make all the difference.
"This is a high-risk situation," said Kevin Rohlwing, Tire Industry Association (TIA) senior vice president of training. "When it all goes bad, you'll be thankful you took the time to do it safely."
Last year in Colleton County, S.C., a pickup truck pulling a trailer hit a Colony Tire service truck at full speed on Interstate 95. The technician had just crawled out from under the disabled semi when, according to news reports, it is believed the driver of the truck fell asleep at the wheel, causing a collision.
The driver of the pickup died in the crash, and his daughter survived in critical condition.
"(The technician) heard the rumble strips, he heard that sound … and he had plenty of space to escape," Rohlwing said. "He jumped to the right, the accident hit, and all of the damage was contained to one area. It is unfortunate that the driver passed away. … But the technician walked away without a scratch."
He said the technician did everything right when everything went wrong.