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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER AUTOMOBILE, AND WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE TOWING?
Don’t get in a knot with a towrope– follow these guidelines
TOWING another car behind yours might seem like a basic operation, but it isn’t– if you have actually never towed another lorry, you’ll discover that it’s really rather challenging. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses a few of the more difficult aspects of towing.
When is it OK to tow another automobile?
The most appropriate time to tow another automobile is when it has broken down and is either triggering a blockage or is in a harmful place and needs to be towed to a more secure spot. Towing another cars and truck has fundamental threats and you really ought to keep that journey to an absolute minimum range.
I’ve bought an ancient classic automobile that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Roadway Notification). Can I tow it to my garage where I prepare to restore it?
The law is pretty clear here– if the cars and truck being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s dealt with the very same as any other roadworthy car, suggesting that it must be insured and taxed with a legitimate MOT. In this circumstances, you’re going to require 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, however do not do it. The effects of having a rope snap while towing another vehicle variety from the funny to the awful, so do the best thing and buy yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be an useful thing to have in your boot anyway, and automotive aftermarket outlets carry a large range of tow ropes– a heavy-duty example rated for 3.5 tonnes and meeting British Standards should cover practically any towing possibility.
How long should my tow rope be?
Lawfully, there’s no minimum length, however sound judgment determines that you leave enough distance between the two cars and trucks so that the one behind has a lot of time to react to brakes and turns.
There is, however, an optimum permitted length of 4.5 metres, and if you’re using 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. Since while you might think that a couple of metres does not represent an exploitable gap in traffic, experience teaches that lots of drivers do.
Do I require an indication of any kind?
Yes you do. When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they typically feature an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the car being towed (certainly). If you do not have one of those, the authorities will not be very pleased.
Does the ignition of the cars and truck being towed requirement to be on?
Absolutely. If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow vehicle going in one instructions and the automobile being towed going in another at the first corner. And that’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the cars and truck being hauled have to work?
Driving asked the cops about this and the response was an unquestionable yes, particularly if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daylight, forget utilizing hand signals instead of indicators– does anybody 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 result in all sorts of misunderstandings …
Can I tow an automobile with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission automobile 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 contain a section that deals with towing, with some producers imposing a range and speed limit for automatic transmission automobiles. And just as with manual transmission automobiles, make sure that the gearbox is in neutral.
How should the vehicle doing the towing be driven?
Thoroughly. Extremely carefully. Keep your speed as low as securely possible, and pull away as gently as you can, modulating the clutch to prevent “nabbing” the rope. That’ll prevent an actually unpleasant jerking action in the automobile being hauled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that event.
Brake gently in advance to set off brake lights so the towed cars and truck has plenty of notice that braking is imminent. And also, show well in advance so your partner behind has great deals of notice.
Watch on your temperature gauge as your engine will be under a higher load than typical, so overheating is a possible concern. And due to the fact that there’s lot more going on than during your normal journeys, it’s smart to have somebody else in the tow cars and truck to keep a better eye on what’s occurring behind.
Avoid any significant manoeuvres, abrupt braking or velocity– remember, if the towed vehicle does not have a running engine, it likewise will not have power helped steering or brakes. Which might lead to two dead cars instead of one.
When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they normally come with an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hang on the back of the car being towed (clearly). 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 misconceptions …
Can I tow a car with an automatic vehicle?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission vehicle are in contact with the road when the car 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 cars and truck being towed, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that event.
How should the cars and truck being pulled be driven?
Even more carefully than the tow cars and truck– this is arguably the harder end of the operation. Off, the towed automobile may not have engine power, which indicates power assisted brakes and steering will need much greater physical effort to run. Keep in mind to make sure the vehicle is in neutral, too.
Keep a watchful eye out for brake lights and signs on the tow cars and truck, and be ready to collaborate your steering and braking actions. It’s likewise a good idea to keep stress in the towrope as much as possible by braking extremely gently while being towed. This will avoid “snatching” and will keep the rope from dragging along the road, which will reduce its life substantially.
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 fully certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed chauffeur has a problem?
It’s a good idea to agree a couple of basic hand signals so that the towed driver can rapidly interact messages like “slow down”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a total ****”. 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.