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.
Last Thursday, I got a flat tire on the 5/405 interchange. Upon pulling over, I called AAA for assistance, where I was quoted 30 minutes and was explained that I would be towed off the freeway, where my tire would be changed and sent on my way.
No more than five minutes later a tow truck arrived and presented himself by providing his business card and information pamphlet on OCTA’s Freeway Service Patrol. The tow operator promptly changed my tire on site, and within several minutes I was back on the road. The tow operator was courteous, friendly and efficient. I left feeling very satisfied, knowing that my tax dollars were being spent effectively.
If you could pass this information off to the tow operator’s supervisor, I would greatly appreciate it. Kudos are definitely due.
In addition, I feel the Freeway Service Patrol program as a whole is a very valuable tool for motorists both receiving the service and to those in the vicinity of the downed vehicle.
I was driving with my wife on the 91 East Freeway when our car became very hot and had to pull over to the side of the road. The traffic was intense and it was very hot. We did not have any water in the car and we could not get out of the freeway because the traffic was bumper to bumper and the freeway exit was far from where we were.
We waited one hour when we saw this white truck behind us and a man coming out of the truck asking us if we needed any help. We told him that the engine of our car had become extremely hot and had no water. The tow operator told us that he had plenty of water and offered us help. He was like an angel that came to our rescue. He was very nice and friendly and told us about the wonderful service that you guys offer. We have been living in Southern California since 1967 and never knew about this great service.
We would like to thank you and the operator for the excellent service he provided.
Customer said she was driving around 9:30 am on Thurs, April 16th on the 73 when her car stopped on the freeway. Caller stated she doesn’t know what is wrong with her car, but wanted to call in and give the tow operator a compliment for assisting her. Customer stated that the tow operator was able to tow her car to a safe location, and was very nice while doing it. Customer stated she was very scared when her car stopped because she had no idea what was wrong with the car or how to fix it. Customer stated the tow operator arrived and was able to assist her right away. Customer is very thankful.
Caller stated that she wanted to commend the tow operator who assisted her on Friday, April 24th. Caller mentioned that she was driving along the 91 Westbound approximately around 11:30 am when her vehicle got a flat tire. Caller mentioned that immediately, a Freeway Service Patrol service approached her and helped her change her tire. Caller stated that she was extremely grateful for this service.
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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