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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER CAR, AND WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW PRIOR TO TOWING?
Don’t get in a knot with a towrope– follow these rules
TOWING another automobile behind yours may seem like a simple operation, however it isn’t– if you’ve never towed another car, you’ll find that it’s really rather challenging. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses some of the more challenging aspects of towing.
When is it OK to tow another vehicle?
The most appropriate time to tow another car is when it has actually broken down and is either causing a blockage or remains in a harmful place and requires to be pulled to a much safer spot. Towing another cars and truck has fundamental risks and you really must keep that journey to an absolute minimum distance.
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 plan to restore it?
In a word, no. The law is pretty clear here– if the car being rope-towed has its four wheels on the ground, it’s treated the same as any other roadworthy car, indicating that it must be guaranteed and taxed with a legitimate MOT. In this instance, you’re going to require a trailer. Or a larger budget for a road-legal classic.
What type 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, however do not do it. The consequences of having a rope breeze while towing another car range from the comical to the tragic, so do the ideal thing and buy yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be a handy thing to have in your boot anyhow, and automobile aftermarket outlets bring a wide range of tow ropes– a sturdy example rated for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards must cover just about any towing possibility.
For how long should my tow rope be?
Legally, there’s no minimum length, however good sense dictates that you leave enough distance in between the two automobiles so that the one behind has plenty of time to respond to brakes and turns.
There is, though, a maximum allowed 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 fabric to the middle so other motorists find the rope. Because while you may think that a couple of metres doesn’t represent an exploitable space in traffic, experience teaches that numerous drivers do.
Do I require an indication of any kind?
Yes you do. When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they typically include an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the car being towed (obviously). If you don’t have one of those, the authorities will not be really pleased.
Does the ignition of the cars and truck being hauled requirement to be on?
Definitely. If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow vehicle going in one direction and the car being pulled entering another at the very first corner. Which’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the automobile being pulled have to work?
Driving asked the police about this and the response was an indisputable yes, particularly if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daytime, forget using 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 lead to all sorts of misconceptions …
Can I tow a car with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission vehicle touch with the roadway when the vehicle is under tow– and the engine isn’t running– there is a possibility of damage to the transmission. It is vital that you consult your owners’ handbook as it will include an area that addresses towing, with some producers enforcing a range and speed limit for automatic transmission cars and trucks. And just as with manual transmission cars and trucks, ensure 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 a really undesirable jerking action in the vehicle being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.
Also, brake lightly ahead of time to set off brake lights so the towed cars and truck has plenty of notification that braking impends. And also, indicate well ahead of time so your partner behind has great deals of notice.
Keep an eye on your temperature gauge as your engine will be under a greater load than usual, so overheating is a potential concern. And due to the fact that there’s lot more going on than during your normal journeys, it’s a good idea to have somebody else in the tow automobile to keep a closer eye on what’s occurring behind.
Avoid any remarkable manoeuvres, sudden braking or velocity– 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 lead to 2 dead vehicles 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 vehicle being hauled (undoubtedly). If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow vehicle going in one direction and the car being hauled 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 misunderstandings …
Can I tow a car with an automatic cars and truck?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission car are in contact with the roadway when the vehicle 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 automobile being hauled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that event.
How should the vehicle being hauled be driven?
Even more carefully than the tow vehicle– this is probably the harder end of the operation. Off, the towed automobile might not have engine power, which implies power assisted brakes and steering will require much greater physical effort to operate. Keep in mind to make sure the vehicle is in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and signs on the tow car, and be ready to collaborate your steering and braking actions. It’s also a great idea to keep tension in the towrope as much as possible by braking extremely lightly while being hauled. This will avoid “snatching” and will keep the rope from dragging along the road, which will reduce its life substantially.
If your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to guide the towed automobile, that’s a no– the law states that chauffeur requires to be totally qualified and licenced, too.
What if the towed motorist has a problem?
It’s an excellent concept to agree a few simple hand signals so that the towed driver can quickly communicate messages like “slow down”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a total ****”. It should be stated, that last one’s a fairly 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.