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Towing is a weighty issue that involves the law, ethics, and emotions. These factors can quickly make towing a complex issue-just browse the Towing Law forum at The issue is often stated as a negative one, but it can also be positive.

Negative Towing:

My first experience with towing was negative. A high school friend was visiting me in college and we paid no attention to where he could park in my apartment's parking lot. We were unaware that his car could be towed from the lot. We soon learned otherwise later in the day when his car was nowhere to be found in the parking lot.

"How could the car be towed?" we asked. There was no sign warning that "unauthorized vehicles will be towed at owner's expense". Except there was. It was small, on only one side of the parking lot, and its sides were folded in on itself. It was hardly the warning you'd expect before a company you know nothing about hauls off your vehicle and demands $100 for its return.

But at least the vehicle wasn't damaged, and nothing was stolen from the vehicle—just a couple of the illegal tow practices that 1800TowHelp documents among common complaints.

Positive Towing:

Fortunately my second experience was more positive. One Thanksgiving eve my girlfriend's car blew a tire on the interstate in the middle of Iowa on our way to her home in Nebraska. Of the hundreds of cars that passed us, two stopped. One was a concerned driver. The other was the tow truck driver we called through her auto insurance. Although it ended up that we didn't need to be towed, he changed our tire for us as traffic sped just feet away from him.

After the tire was changed, we attempted to drive away. But we soon discovered the car's battery was dead. Once again, our tow truck stranger helped us out and put us on our way.


If you've ever been on the wrong side of a towing experience, it's easy to forget that towing services can be positive. But because so many experiences are negative, drivers should always be alert to any predatory practices and take steps to stop them.

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