Where I come from tow trucks and rollbacks are all different colors, yellow, blue, red, white, green, etc., with white being the most prevalent color, but not the dominant color.  In California, hands down, yellow is the most predominant color, with white a distant second.

How come?

My first thought was visibility.  Possibly.  Likely even.  But then, tragically, I started to drift down that familiar rabbit hole of thought.

Question; What is the most prevalent color for a taxi (in the US, not London)?  Yellow, of course.  Perhaps the thinking is, if cars that give people a ride are yellow, why not make trucks that give cars a ride yellow too?  I watch Top Gear and the Grand Tour and I can’t say as I recall tow trucks in London being predominantly black, so that logic might not carry through to non US locals.

After talking with the AAA driver she didn’t know either.  Yes I said the driver was a she and she was also stupendously competent and professional.  But she did make a comment that stood out to me about how other companies that AAA subcontracts copy the yellow color of AAA vehicles for the purpose of continuity.  IE, if someone calls AAA they’re expecting a yellow vehicle.  There are occasions when AAA is overwhelmed and is forced to send out tow truck from a subcontractor.  And those other companies want to make the customer feel comfortable by having a truck with the expected color show up.

OK, that explains why there are so many yellow tow trucks and roll backs.  Basically they’re copy cats of the AAA vehicles.

But that still leaves a refined version of the original question unanswered: Why are AAA tow trucks and rollbacks yellow (in CA)?

Perhaps way back when AAA was shopping around for vehicles they got offered a super deal on yellow trucks and it just kind of snow balled from there…?

Categories: Thoughts