Program that all Houston-area drivers need to know about will keep you safe

Free towing expands; do you have the app?

The Tow and Go Program, in action. (Photos provided by Tow and Go)

Have you ever been driving along, enjoying your day, and had something unexpected happen to your vehicle?

Maybe you ran out of gas. Perhaps you got a flat tire, or your car overheated.

Safe to say, no one wants something like that to occur. It can put a real damper on your day, plus, would you know who to call or what to do in the immediate aftermath? Especially if you’re on the freeway, you don’t want to hold up traffic or block a lane, preventing other drivers and motorists from getting through.

Traffic congestion is something we’re all used to by now, but no one wants to contribute to the problem or worsen a situation at an already-bad time.

And that’s why the officials with the Houston-Galveston Area Council, who are behind the Gulf Coast Regional Tow and Go Program, want to spread the word: Tow and Go has expanded. They’ll take stranded motorists who are on camera-monitored freeways in the Greater Houston area and tow them to a safe area, one mile from the nearest exit -- at no cost.

The Tow and Go service area includes all camera monitored freeways in Harris County, Bellaire, Jersey Village, La Porte and Humble.

Here’s how it works:

Easy peasy! (Photo from Tow and Go's website, used with permission from Tow and Go officials)

As the graphic above shows, if your vehicle breaks down on a freeway in the Tow and Go service area, you’ll:

  • Call 713-881-3333.
  • Turn on your flashing hazard lights and stay inside your car, with seat belts buckled.
  • Tow and Go will take you and your vehicle off the freeway to a safe location within one mile of the breakdown. If the problem is a flat tire and you have the necessary equipment, along with a working spare, the Tow and Go operator will change your tire at no cost.
  • If you want your vehicle towed beyond the no-cost drop location, you may arrange for the Tow and Go operator, or another towing service, to move your vehicle, but you are responsible for related charges.

The chance of a secondary crash increases by nearly 3% every minute a breakdown or other hazardous incident remains on the freeway, according to the Tow and Go Program.

“The Gulf Coast Regional Tow and Go Program is an important solution to the urgent need for quick clearance of freeway breakdowns, at no cost to motorists,” leaders said.

It also reduces the chance of dangerous secondary incidents, saving lives.

Calling Tow and Go is easy. You’re encouraged to download the Houston TranStar app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Just click on the tow truck at the top of the app to call the Tow and Go dispatcher.

Tow and Go did 17,049 no-cost tows from Jan. 1 through July 30, 2020. The average clearance time was 16 minutes.

Learn more about Tow and Go here.