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Transportation Management Office - How does HELP Work?


TDOT Highway Incident Response UnitHELP trucks patrol the most heavily traveled freeways in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville seven days a week. (When requested by law enforcement agencies the HELP trucks may also work on weekends and late at night during special events that create high traffic volumes.)

The HELP trucks operate on assigned routes which are restricted to the core areas of each city, so that the operators can respond quickly to incidents that have the most impact on the total freeway system. The routes sometimes vary by time of day, and the HELP trucks are sometimes sent off of their regular routes to help with traffic control at major incident scenes. But, we try to maintain patrols on the assigned routes as much as possible. For maps showing the normal routes and hours of operation, click here: HELP Routes

The "lime-yellow" trucks are equipped with a variety of tools, emergency medical equipment, traffic cones, traffic control signs, absorbent material, emergency and work lights, and other equipment to assist with incident management. The trucks also carry gasoline, diesel fuel, and water. The directional "arrow boards" on top of the trucks can be raised from inside the truck. The HELP operators carry two-way radios and cell phones. 

All of the HELP operators are specially trained to deal with the different kinds of emergencies that occur on our roadways, and the HELP trucks are official emergency vehicles. You should always yield to a HELP truck just as to other emergency vehicles. Also, you should be aware that the HELP trucks make frequent stops. Be especially careful to keep a safe following distance.

The HELP services are provided without charge, and the HELP operators do not accept tips. The operators give postage-paid "comment cards" to each motorist who receives assistance, and we encourage motorists to fill out and mail the card as soon as possible after the incident.