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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER AUTOMOBILE, AND WHAT DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND PRIOR TO TOWING?
Do not get in a knot with a towrope– follow these guidelines
TOWING another automobile behind yours may seem like a simple operation, however it isn’t– if you’ve never hauled another lorry, you’ll discover that it’s in fact quite tricky. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses some of the more tough elements of towing.
When is it OK to tow another car?
The most proper time to tow another vehicle is when it has actually broken down and is either causing an obstruction or is in an unsafe place and requires to be hauled to a safer area. Towing another vehicle has fundamental threats and you actually must keep that journey to an outright minimum range.
I’ve bought an ancient vintage car that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification). Can I tow it to my garage where I plan to restore it?
In a word, no. The law is pretty clear here– if the automobile being rope-towed has its four wheels on the ground, it’s dealt with the same as any other roadworthy lorry, implying that it needs to be insured and taxed with a valid MOT. In this circumstances, you’re going to need a trailer. Or a bigger budget for a road-legal classic.
What kind of tow rope should I have?
It might be tempting to root around in the back of your garage for any old little rope, but do not do it. The repercussions of having a rope snap while towing another vehicle variety from the funny to the terrible, so do the ideal thing and buy yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be a convenient thing to have in your boot anyhow, and automobile aftermarket outlets carry a vast array of tow ropes– a sturdy example ranked for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards ought to cover practically any towing possibility.
The length of time should my tow rope be?
Lawfully, there’s no minimum length, but good sense dictates that you leave enough distance between the two cars and trucks so that the one behind has plenty of time to respond to turns and brakes.
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 states you require to attach a flapping bit of coloured cloth to the middle so other drivers find the rope. Because while you might think that a couple of metres doesn’t represent an exploitable gap in traffic, experience teaches that numerous drivers do.
Do I need a sign of any kind?
Yes you do. When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they usually come with an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hang on the back of the vehicle being towed (undoubtedly). The police won’t be really delighted if you don’t have among those.
Does the ignition of the vehicle being towed requirement to be on?
Absolutely. 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 cars and truck being pulled going in another at the first corner. Which’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the cars and truck being pulled need to work?
Driving asked the authorities about this and the answer was an unquestionable yes, especially if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daylight, forget utilizing hand signals instead of indications– 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 cause all sorts of misconceptions …
Can I tow an automobile 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 important that you consult your owners’ handbook as it will include an area that addresses towing, with some manufacturers enforcing a range and speed limitation for automatic transmission cars and trucks. And just as with manual transmission cars, make certain that the transmission remains in neutral.
How should the car doing the towing be driven?
Keep your speed as low as safely possible, and pull away as carefully as you can, modulating the clutch to prevent “nabbing” the rope. That’ll avoid a really undesirable jerking action in the car being towed, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that celebration.
Brake gently in advance to trigger brake lights so the towed car has plenty of notice that braking is impending. And likewise, suggest well in advance so your partner behind has lots of notification.
Watch on your temperature gauge as your engine will be under a higher load than usual, so overheating is a prospective issue. And since there’s lot more going on than during your normal journeys, it’s a good idea to have somebody else in the tow cars and truck to keep a more detailed eye on what’s happening behind.
Prevent any remarkable manoeuvres, sudden braking or velocity– remember, if the towed car doesn’t have a running engine, it likewise will not have actually power assisted steering or brakes. Which could result in 2 dead automobiles instead of one.
When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they generally come with an ‘On Tow’ indication, 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 could have the tow cars and truck going in one direction and the car being hauled 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 car 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 avoid a truly undesirable jerking action in the vehicle being hauled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.
How should the car being pulled be driven?
Much more carefully than the tow car– this is perhaps the harder end of the operation. First off, the towed car might not have engine power, which suggests power assisted brakes and guiding will require much greater physical effort to operate. Keep in mind to make sure the car is in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and indications on the tow automobile, and be ready to coordinate your steering and braking actions. It’s also a good idea to keep tension in the towrope as much as possible by braking extremely lightly while being hauled. This will prevent “taking” and will keep the rope from dragging along the road, which will shorten its life substantially.
If your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to guide the towed car, that’s a no– the law says that chauffeur needs to be completely certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed driver has a problem?
It’s a good idea to concur a few simple hand signals so that the towed driver can quickly interact messages like “decrease”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a complete ****”. It needs to 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.