New show highlights the danger of working on Highway 401

By Chris Gerics

Sarnia, Ontario — April 6, 2016 — With the popularity of television shows such as Highway Thru Hell and Lizard Lick Towing, a new towing program has emerged with Heavy Rescue: 401, a reality show focused on Preferred Towing in Sarnia.

The show will feature the difficult trials that tow operators encounter. The focus will be intense and allow viewers a glimpse into the difficulties faced by towing companies. Unlike Lizard Lick Towing, which focuses on the repossession of vehicles, the show follows its predecessor Highway Thru Hell in showcasing highway rescue and the dangers that relate to working on the highway.

Gary Vandenheuvel, owner of Preferred Towing and subject of the show, believes that the highway presents numerous challenges including cleanup, and highway shutdown which can cause a lot gridlock and frustration with drivers.

“The big thing we have here is the volume of traffic,” he says. “It’s one of the busiest border crossings and it’s a big problem when that highway shuts down.”

Beginning in January, cameras were filming the towing company seven days a week for three months and although initially bothersome, the cameras reportedly became part of the day-to- day operations.

The business, which started 24 years ago with just a single one-ton truck, has since grown to a fleet of 15 trucks, including a massive 65-ton rotator capable of lifting over 130,000 lbs. and used to clear car wrecks and haul massive vessels from Sarnia’s fabricating shops.

The show will be produced by Great Pacific Television for the Discovery Channel. It was a time-consuming project, but Vandenheuvel believes this is an excellent opportunity for the business and the towing industry in general.

“It’s really neat to be able to show the professional side of our industry. It brings Sarnia into the picture, and I am excited about that,” he says.

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