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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER VEHICLE, AND WHAT DO I REQUIRED TO KNOW BEFORE TOWING?
Don’t get in a knot with a towrope– follow these guidelines
TOWING another car behind yours may seem like an easy operation, however it isn’t– if you’ve never hauled another automobile, you’ll find that it’s actually rather tricky. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses some of the more tough aspects of towing.
When is it OK to tow another car?
The most proper time to tow another automobile is when it has broken down and is either causing an obstruction or remains in a dangerous place and requires to be hauled to a safer spot. Towing another vehicle has inherent risks and you really ought to keep that journey to an absolute minimum range.
I have actually purchased an ancient vintage car that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Roadway Alert). Can I tow it to my garage where I prepare to restore it?
The law is quite clear here– if the cars and truck being rope-towed has its four wheels on the ground, it’s dealt with the exact same as any other roadworthy car, suggesting that it needs to be insured and taxed with a legitimate MOT. In this instance, you’re going to need a trailer.
What sort of tow rope should I have?
It might be tempting to root around in the back of your garage for any old little bit of rope, but don’t do it. The consequences of having a rope breeze while towing another cars and truck variety from the humorous to the awful, so do the right thing and purchase yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be a helpful thing to have in your boot anyway, and automobile aftermarket outlets carry a large range of tow ropes– a sturdy example rated for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards must cover practically any towing scenario.
For how long should my tow rope be?
Legally, there’s no minimum length, however good sense dictates that you leave enough range between the two vehicles so that the one behind has a lot of time to react to brakes and turns.
There is, though, an optimum allowable length of 4.5 metres, and if you’re utilizing a rope that’s longer than 1.5 metres the law says you require to connect a flapping bit of coloured cloth to the middle so other motorists find the rope. Due to the fact that while you may believe that a couple of metres does not represent an exploitable space in traffic, experience teaches that many drivers do.
Do I require a sign of any kind?
Yes you do. When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they typically feature an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hold on the back of the vehicle being towed (obviously). The cops won’t be very delighted if you don’t have among those.
Does the ignition of the cars and truck being hauled requirement to be on?
Absolutely. If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow car entering one direction and the vehicle being pulled going in another at the very first corner. Which’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the cars and truck being towed need to work?
Driving asked the cops about this and the answer was an indisputable yes, especially if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daytime, forget using 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 misunderstandings …
Can I tow an automobile with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission car are in contact with the road when the automobile is under tow– and the engine isn’t running– there is a possibility of damage to the transmission. It is important that you consult your owners’ handbook as it will include a section that addresses towing, with some producers enforcing a distance and speed limit for automatic transmission automobiles. And just as with manual transmission vehicles, ensure that the transmission is in neutral.
How should the cars and truck doing the towing be driven?
Carefully. Very thoroughly. Keep your speed as low as safely possible, and retreat as carefully as you can, modulating the clutch to avoid “nabbing” the rope. That’ll prevent a truly undesirable jerking action in the vehicle being towed, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that celebration.
Brake lightly in advance to trigger brake lights so the towed vehicle has plenty of notification that braking is imminent. And similarly, suggest well ahead of time so your partner behind has lots of notice.
Watch on your temperature gauge as your engine will be under a greater load than usual, so overheating is a possible problem. And because there’s lot more going on than throughout your usual journeys, it’s a good idea to have somebody else in the tow cars and truck to keep a closer eye on what’s happening behind.
Avoid any significant manoeuvres, unexpected braking or acceleration– keep in mind, if the towed cars and truck doesn’t have a running engine, it likewise won’t have power helped steering or brakes. Which might result in 2 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 (undoubtedly). If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow car going in one instructions and the vehicle being towed going in another at the very first corner. 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 automated transmission automobile are in contact with the roadway when the cars and truck is under tow– and the engine isn’t running– there is a possibility of damage to the transmission. That’ll prevent an actually undesirable jerking action in the cars and truck being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that celebration.
How should the car being pulled be driven?
Even more carefully than the tow car– this is probably the harder end of the operation. To begin with, the towed car might not have engine power, which means power assisted brakes and guiding will require much greater physical effort to run. Remember to make sure the car remains in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and indications on the tow vehicle, and be ready to collaborate your steering and braking actions. It’s likewise a great concept to keep tension in the towrope as much as possible by braking really gently while being pulled. This will avoid “nabbing” and will keep the rope from dragging along the roadway, which will reduce its life significantly.
Finally, if your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to steer the towed automobile, that’s a no– the law says that driver needs to be completely qualified and licenced, too.
What if the towed driver has an issue?
It’s a good concept to agree a couple of simple hand signals so that the towed driver can quickly interact messages like “slow down”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a total ****”. It needs to be stated, that last one’s a fairly obvious 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.