WEST LOS ANGELES (KABC) --Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the way many people get around these days, by using an app to go somewhere.
Now, a new app called Honk applies the same principle for people who need a tow truck.
"You can download the free app for either Android or iPhone, and then help is just a tap away," said Corey Brundage, the founder and CEO of West Los Angeles-based Honk.
When you find yourself with a dead battery, a flat tire or anything else requiring roadside assistance, you click on an icon within the Honk app for the service. Honk figures out where you are, and more importantly, how close a tow truck is.
You're immediately given a price, plus any mileage charges if an actual tow is involved. There are no monthly or yearly fees, which appeals to many drivers these days, particularly younger ones.
"Even if I'm paying $50 or $100 per year, if I only use it every four years for example, I've paid up to $400 for one tire change," said Honk's Corey Brundage, comparing traditional roadside assistance with membership fees to the Honk service, adding, "You get to see our price in advance, and those prices start at about $49 nationwide."
Honk is available online too at www.honkforhelp.com. And if you really like to go old-school, you can also call them on the phone.
But using the app is the real simplicity of the Honk system. The tow trucks respond via the app as well.
"When a call comes in, we get a 'Honk,' and we can respond quickly as to whether we can accept the call," said Eric Haber, owner of Metro City Tow Service of Beverly Hills, which is one of Honk's local towing partners.
It works almost exactly like Uber or Lyft.
Of course, roadside assistance apps aren't really new. AAA, for example, has had an app to use their member services for quite a while. And while Honk's main appeal is to people who don't have an auto club membership, they also hear from drivers who use the Honk app as a supplement to AAA.
Getting help when you have car problems has evolved over the years. Hoping someone came by while you were stranded gave way to those roadside call boxes in the 1960s. Then when cellular phones came along, stranded drivers could call AAA on their phones without leaving the safety of their cars.
Now, a no-strings, pay-as-you-use-it service is the latest way to summon a tow truck when you need it.