Spring snow helps Rockford towing company catch up on mild winter business | News

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Those at Haas Towing expect to work late into the night recovering vehicles in ditches or stuck in snow.

ROCKFORD, Ill. — It would take hours before Dirk Matthews could arrive to the Haas Towing office on Friday morning.

"I didn't even make it to the shop," says Matthews – a tow truck driver at Haas. "I had a call before I even left the house."

The driver's shift typically runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Due to a sweep of spring snow, however, business increased by nearly 600% compared to yesterday.

"When you're used to a low call volume, and then all of a sudden, you're like, bam, it just gets your adrenaline running," says Ashley Noto – a dispatcher with Haas.

On Thursday, Noto described receiving about 8 calls. By noon on Friday, Haas' dispatcher heard 24 requests for tows.

Matthews believes the string of spring-like weather threw off driving patterns as well: "I think some people got a little too comfortable with the good weather we've had lately... I just pulled out of somebody's front yard that was sitting up on a boulder."

The hectic day also brought the tow company up to speed following a milder winter.

"We are commission-based outfit for our company, so that's another thing we have to keep in mind is when it's busy like this," says Tanner Sandall – a driver for Haas Towing. "Most of us drivers love it when it snows... It means extra money on our check."

Tow truck drivers at Haas say they're grateful for the commissions they'll receive from Friday's wave of winter weather.

Nevertheless, its safety that guides each driver when responding to accidents, breakdowns or "winches." Matthews explained his concern for motorists as his priority – whether the driver in need or those who may be at risk if a vehicle is in harm's way.

Approaching someone after their situation also rests on drivers – especially as those at Haas recognize most won't call for a tow if they're in perfect shape.

"When I first started... I'd get out of my truck, and I'd be like, 'Hey, how you doing today?'" says Matthews. "Then I'd be like, I know how they're doing. They're not doing that great right now."

A consideration for personal safety also surrounds those dispatched to ditches or vehicle troubles; Sandall says remaining calm is the key to an efficient rescue.

"I don't want to be that person to where I call the customer, and they're expecting me," says Sandall. "Then I have to call them back and tell them that I won't be able to perform their tow or their winch out or their lockout or jumpstart due to me getting in an accident."

Matthews echoed Sandall's sentiment and emphasized the priority of a customer in need.

"You just got to deal with what you have in hand," says the Haas driver. "Don't worry about what's coming... Because when you get worried about something in the future, you're going to make mistakes."

With several years of towing services between the drivers, both express gratitude for their involvement with Haas.

"I love it. You get paid to help people and show up, and it's a good feeling at the end of the day," says Matthews.

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