Your friend on the freeways
Orange County freeways can be stressful in the best of times, but add traffic and a mechanical problem and you could be in dire need of assistance–and a friendly face. Which is where the Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) steps in. We’re a special team of tow trucks that travel Orange County’s freeways during peak commuting hours to help motorists with disabled vehicles. Our job is to keep the freeways moving and reduce congestion by quickly removing disabled vehicles.
Best of all, FSP services are free to motorists. From a jump start to a gallon of gas, or simply changing a flat tire, our trucks and drivers help people get back on the road. They'll even help take vehicles to a safe location off the freeway without charge.
The FSP program began in 1992 in cooperation with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the California Highway Patrol (CHP). The Orange County Transportation Authority manages the program and the CHP provides dispatch, oversees operation of the contracted tow companies, and provides field services whenever law enforcement is required.
FSP hours of operation
Monday through Friday:
6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (major congested interchanges and adjacent freeways)
Saturday and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. South I-5 only
The FSP does not operate on major holidays.
FSP Service Area
Our FSP drivers are trained to keep motorists safe; however, it is always good to know what to do while waiting for the FSP to arrive. Here are some safety basics:
- If you can, move your vehicle onto the shoulder out of traffic lanes.
- Call the police immediately via cell phone or call box if your vehicle was involved in a traffic accident. Call boxes are located one mile apart.
- Use your cell phone to call 511 or a call box if your vehicle has broken down.
- If it is an emergency, call 911. If you don’t have a cell phone, display a sign stating “Call Police” and wait for help.
- Stay inside your vehicle with your seat belt on until help arrives. If you must exit the vehicle, stay as far away from the roadway as possible.
- Use added caution in bad weather since a passing motorist could lose control.
"I cannot thank your service enough! On Friday I was stranded on the side of the freeway with a very small shoulder area. It was dangerous and I was helpless. I had run out of gas. I called the police because my car was blocking rush hour traffic. They notified FSP and a very calm and friendly FSP Operator arrived to help me in less than 7 min.! He gave me a little gas and got me on the road safely and quickly. I was so incredibly grateful! Thank you so much for this service, and thank you for saving the day for me."
"We had been helped by the Freeway Service Patrol when we carelessly ran out of gas while we were driving 55 north and we want to say thanks to your whole unit. We are foreigners having holidays here in Irvine. We didn't know the service existed until Melvin came to our rescue when our car came to complete stop around 5pm. I write this letter simply to show our gratitude as we are flying back to our country this evening."
From Taipei, Taiwan
"My car broke down on the way to work this morning on the 405 Northand was able to coast it over to a center median on the Fairview/Harbor offramp. Had just called AAA when the Freeway Service Vehicle pulled up. The driver took good care of me and was concerned about the safety of where I was stranded. His main concern was to get my vehicle out of harms way and he did a great job and was very professional and friendly. I wish to recognize him for an outstanding job - I really appreciated the assistance!"
"I got a flat tire this evening on the 22 west. I was able to get to the shoulder and in a minute or less I see freeway service patrol appeared out of nowhere. He offered to put the spare on my car. He was very safety conscious . He got the tire changed in minutes and I was back on the road in minutes I would like thank you for the great service "
"I wanted to thank FSP for changing my tire today in San Clemente. It was so awesome and helpful to have FSP appear as my car had a blown back tire and I was off on the side of the road.
Truly, FSP was an angel and got me going again quickly.
What a great service that you have. "
"On the way into work today, I had the misfortune of experiencing a flat tire on the northbound I5 freeway near the 73 freeway. As I pulled to the right side of the freeway and parked my vehicle, I noticed a Freeway Service Patrol operator parked on the southbound side of the roadway. A few moments later, I noticed that the tow operator left. I called my dispatch and asked for one of our contract tow vendors to be dispatched to my location to assist me with changing my tire. However, a few minutes later the FSP Operator stopped by my location to assist me. In talking with the operator, he told me that he had noticed me pull to the right side of the freeway and thought that I may need assistance. He took the initiative to self-dispatch himself to my location to assist me. As we all know, broken down on the freeway can be a very dangerous place to be. I was very thankful for the FSP service today and appreciated the high level of care that FSP provided me."
Frequently asked questions
Because there are always questions, here are some answers to the basic questions we hear the most.
- What services can the Orange County FSP provide?
If your vehicle stops running, the FSP can help by:
- Offering you a gallon of gas if you ran out
- Jump start your dead battery
- Refill your radiator and make minor hose repairs
- Change a flat tire
- What if the FSP can’t get my vehicle running?
It will be towed from the freeway free of charge to a pre-designated on-street location.
- If my vehicle is towed to one of these locations, will the FSP help me get to a phone?
Yes. The FSP will take you to the nearest phone so you can notify a friend, relative or auto club.
- How will I recognize the FSP?
All FSP tow trucks are white with the FSP logo on the doors. Drivers wear blue uniforms and bright yellow-green safety vests with the FSP logo.
- Are Orange County FSP drivers certified?
Yes. Drivers receive their certification only after completing a CHP training program.
- Can the FSP tow me to a private repair facility?
No. FSP only tows vehicles to locations identified by the CHP. The FSP is not permitted to recommend other tow companies or repair facilities.
- Which freeways do the Orange County FSP patrol?
Check the map for FSP coverage.
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