Superman in a Truck

By Jody Conrad | Special to the Press Gazette

If you own a vehicle, chances are good that you’ve at least once experienced that sickening feeling that comes when your vehicle conks out on the interstate.

The good news for Florida travelers is that we have supermen who travel the highways looking for folks who need help. These supermen, or maybe women, are known as Road Rangers.

Road Ranger Guy Boykin helps a motorist who was having engine problems recently.

Guy Boykin is one of our local supermen in a truck. He knows what it is like to be seen as a knight in shining armor, because in his 13 months working with the program, he has been that road-side knight multiple times.

“It’s humbling to be referred to as that ‘angel I’ve been praying for,’” Boykin said. “On any given day, I hear this multiple times, and it always humbles me.”

So what is the Road Ranger program? 

This FDOT Road Ranger truck has a digital sign that tell oncoming traffic to switch lanes because of a road closure.

In 2000, many state highway departments, including the Florida Department of Transportation here in Florida, launched a program to help stranded motorists. Sponsored by State Farm Insurance, the Road Ranger Service Patrol program patrols Florida interstates, the turnpike, and heavily congested urban areas, and provide free assistance, with reducing delays and improving highway safety as the goals.

In addition to removing dangerous debris from roadways and assisting first responders by directing traffic around accident sites, the Road Rangers offer a wide range of help to individual stranded motorists. Rangers can change flat tires, jump start dead batteries, provide two free local calls for motorists without cell phones, provide emergency gas, diesel, and water, and make minor engine repairs. 

They will also clear disabled vehicles from travel lanes.

Boykin said that on an average day, flat tires and running out of gas incidents happen regularly, but he and others have also “zip tied car parts back on for folks who lose parts like fenders and exhaust pipes.”

An FDPT Road Ranger truck alerts other motorists of hazards in the roadway.

He goes on to explain that “when a vehicle needs more than what we can do along the interstate, we help the motorist move his vehicle to a safe place, and contact a tow truck.”

“What I love most about this job,” Boykin said, “is the blessing that I get when helping people when they’re at their most in need.”

If you’re on the highway and need assistance, call *347 (FHP) on your cell phone. A Road Ranger, aka superman, will respond within 15 to 30 minutes.