Winter driving advice from Festus towing company

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FESTUS, Mo. – Working on the side of the road can be a dangerous job, but that doesn’t stop Chad Smith—a tow truck operator at Pippin Towing—from loving what he does.

“There’s some kind of joy in helping people,” Smith said. “That’s why we’re out doing what we do.”   

The company’s tow truck operators have been busy assisting stranded drivers during the last round of winter weather. Safety is considered a priority for the family-owned business in Festus.  

“We preach it all the time,” said Smith. Smith even goes by the nickname ‘Preacher.’  

Rachel Pippin, the company’s owner, said safety is on her mind every day.

“I worry about my drivers a lot,” Pippin said.  

One of the biggest mistakes a driver can make in winter weather is attempting to pass slower cars when only one lane of the highway has been plowed, according to Smith.

“That’s where you’re going to lose control of a vehicle,” he said.  

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Smith adds that winter weather can also limit the ability of drivers to move over for emergency vehicles.  

“Take your time,” he said. “Just know that there’s a father or a mother that’s on that side of the road trying to help somebody.” 

Smith mentioned that the recent death of Wade Bivins, a tow truck driver and volunteer firefighter, is still fresh in the minds of other local tow truck operators. 

“Get home safely,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing.”  

Pippin recommends storing the phone number of a tow truck company in your vehicle before winter weather hits. She said stranded drivers involved in emergency situations will be given priority.   

“We will get to everybody as soon as possible,” she said.  

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