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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER AUTOMOBILE, AND WHAT DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND BEFORE TOWING?
Do not get in a knot with a towrope– follow these guidelines
TOWING another car behind yours might seem like an easy operation, but it isn’t– if you have actually never ever towed another car, you’ll discover that it’s really rather tricky. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses a few of the more tough aspects of towing.
When is it OK to tow another automobile?
The most proper time to tow another car is when it has broken down and is either causing an obstruction or remains in an unsafe place and needs to be pulled to a more secure spot. Towing another cars and truck has inherent risks and you truly need to keep that journey to an outright minimum distance.
I have actually bought an ancient classic automobile that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Roadway Alert). Can I tow it to my garage where I prepare to restore it?
In a word, no. The law is quite clear here– if the car being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s treated the same as any other roadworthy vehicle, suggesting that it should be guaranteed and taxed with a legitimate MOT. In this circumstances, you’re going to need a trailer. Or a larger budget for a road-legal classic.
What sort of tow rope should I have?
It might be appealing to root around in the back of your garage for any old little rope, but don’t do it. The repercussions of having a rope breeze while towing another cars and truck range from the comical to the terrible, so do the ideal thing and buy yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be an useful thing to have in your boot anyhow, and automotive aftermarket outlets bring a vast array of tow ropes– a heavy-duty example ranked for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards must cover practically any towing scenario.
The length of time should my tow rope be?
Legally, there’s no minimum length, however sound judgment determines that you leave enough range between the two vehicles so that the one behind has lots of time to react to turns and brakes.
There is, though, a maximum allowed length of 4.5 metres, and if you’re using a rope that’s longer than 1.5 metres the law states you need to connect a flapping bit of coloured fabric to the middle so other chauffeurs identify the rope. Because while you might think that a number of metres does not represent an exploitable space in traffic, experience teaches that lots of motorists do. Especially in London. And especially on the North Circular.
Do I require a sign of any kind?
Yes you do. When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they generally include an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hold on the back of the vehicle being towed (obviously). The police will not be very happy if you don’t have one of those.
Does the ignition of the automobile being pulled requirement to be on?
Absolutely. If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow cars and truck going in one instructions and the cars and truck being pulled entering another at the very first corner. And that’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the cars and truck being hauled need to work?
Driving asked the cops about this and the answer was an unquestionable yes, especially if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daytime, forget utilizing hand signals instead of signs– does anyone even remember what the hand signal for a left turn is? According to the Highway Code, it’s a counter-clockwise rotation of your right arm, which could lead to all sorts of misconceptions …
Can I tow a car with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission automobile are in contact with the roadway when the car is under tow– and the engine isn’t running– there is a possibility of damage to the transmission. It is essential that you consult your owners’ manual as it will consist of a section that addresses towing, with some makers enforcing a distance and speed limit for automatic transmission cars. And just as with manual transmission cars and trucks, make certain that the transmission is in neutral.
How should the automobile doing the towing be driven?
Keep your speed as low as safely possible, and pull away as gently as you can, modulating the clutch to prevent “taking” the rope. That’ll avoid an actually unpleasant jerking action in the automobile being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that event.
Brake lightly in advance to activate brake lights so the towed automobile has plenty of notification that braking is impending. And likewise, indicate well beforehand so your partner behind has lots of notice.
Watch on your temperature gauge as your engine will be under a greater load than normal, so overheating is a possible problem. And since there’s lot more going on than during your normal journeys, it’s wise to have someone else in the tow car to keep a closer eye on what’s occurring behind.
Avoid any remarkable manoeuvres, sudden braking or acceleration– keep in mind, if the towed cars and truck doesn’t have a running engine, it likewise will not have power assisted steering or brakes. Which might lead to two dead automobiles instead of one.
When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they generally come with an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the cars and truck being towed (obviously). If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow automobile going in one direction and the vehicle being pulled going in another at the first corner. According to the Highway Code, it’s a counter-clockwise rotation of your right arm, which could lead to all sorts of misunderstandings …
Can I tow a car with an automatic vehicle?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission automobile are in contact with the roadway when the automobile is under tow– and the engine isn’t running– there is a possibility of damage to the transmission. That’ll avoid an actually undesirable jerking action in the automobile being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that event.
How should the car being towed be driven?
Even more thoroughly than the tow cars and truck– this is perhaps the tougher end of the operation. To begin with, the towed vehicle might not have engine power, which implies power assisted brakes and steering will require much greater physical effort to run. Remember to make sure the vehicle remains in neutral, too.
Keep a watchful eye out for brake lights and signs on the tow vehicle, and be ready to collaborate your steering and braking actions. It’s also an excellent idea to keep tension in the towrope as much as possible by braking very gently while being hauled. This will prevent “snatching” and will keep the rope from dragging along the roadway, which will shorten its life considerably.
If your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to steer the towed automobile, that’s a no– the law states that motorist needs to be fully certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed driver has a problem?
It’s a good idea to agree a few easy hand signals so that the towed chauffeur can quickly communicate messages like “slow down”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a total ****”. It must be stated, that last one’s a relatively apparent hand signal.
Towing is coupling two or more objects together so that they may be pulled by a designated power source or sources. The towing source may be a motorized land vehicle, vessel, animal, or human, and the load being anything that can be pulled. These may be joined by a chain, rope, bar, hitch, three-point, fifth wheel, coupling, drawbar, integrated platform, or other means of keeping the objects together while in motion.
Towing may be as simple as a tractor pulling a tree stump. The most familiar form is the transport of disabled or otherwise indisposed vehicles by a tow truck or “wrecker.” Other familiar forms are the tractor-trailer combination, and cargo or leisure vehicles coupled via ball or pintle and gudgeon trailer hitches to smaller trucks and cars. In the opposite extreme are extremely heavy duty tank recovery vehicles, and enormous ballast tractors involved in heavy hauling towing loads stretching into the millions of pounds.
Necessarily, government and industry standards have been developed for carriers, lighting, and coupling to ensure safety and interoperability of towing equipment.
Historically, barges were hauled along rivers or canals using tow ropes drawn by men or draught animals walking along towpaths on the banks. Later came chain boats. Today, tug boats are used to maneuver larger vessels and barges. Over thousands of years the maritime industry has refined towing to a science.
Aircraft can tow other aircraft as well. Troop and cargo-carrying gliders are towed behind powered aircraft, which remains a popular means of getting modern leisure gliders aloft.