HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-Clogged highways in Birmingham and Atlanta are finally thawing out, but an epic mess remains behind for tow truck drivers to clean up.
Thousands of abandoned vehicles are still littering major roads and interstates in both cities, so how do officials clear it all up with many owners yet to claim their cars? Huntsville tow truck operator W.D. Strong says there simply isn’t an easy option available.
“You work from the outside in,” said Strong, the head owner of Reliable Towing. “You move over the ones you need to move to get to where you got to go to.”
Strong said tow operators from across the Southeast are pouring into both Birmingham and Atlanta, where many major roads are still in a state of virtual paralysis. The massive job of unclogging the roads is still in the early stages, with many motorists who were spooked by the snowfall and subsequent traffic nightmare yet to return to their vehicles. Authorities started authorizing mandatory towing in both cities Thursday morning, forcing competitors to cooperate.
“Most of the time when we’re out there like that the majority of the tow companies work together,” said Strong. “It’s one of those deals where we just put our heads together and go in and decide which one gets which.”
Strong said Reliable Towing has agreed to cover another competitor’s calls in Huntsville for the next few days while that company helps with relief efforts in Birmingham.
AAA of Alabama reports that price gouging has been relatively sparse in both cities, but still advised motorists who were wary of price gouging to gather a list of quotes from multiple tow companies.
“We would be at our normal prices, whether it’s dry or wet, as long as we can get there safely,” said Strong. “Whatever price I would feel fair with that’s what I should charge you, but not gouge you because you’re caught up in a situation like that.”