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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER CAR, AND WHAT DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND PRIOR TO TOWING?
Do not get in a knot with a towrope– follow these rules
TOWING another automobile behind yours may sound like a simple operation, but it isn’t– if you have actually never hauled another automobile, you’ll find that it’s really rather difficult. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses a few of the more difficult aspects of towing.
When is it OK to tow another vehicle?
The most appropriate time to tow another vehicle is when it has actually broken down and is either causing a blockage or remains in a harmful area and needs to be hauled to a safer area. Towing another automobile has inherent threats and you really should keep that journey to an outright minimum distance.
I have actually bought an ancient classic car that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notice). 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 4 wheels on the ground, it’s dealt with the same as any other roadworthy vehicle, meaning that it should be guaranteed and taxed with a valid MOT. So in this circumstances, you’re going to need a trailer. Or a larger budget for a road-legal classic.
What type of tow rope should I have?
It might be appealing to root around in the back of your garage for any old bit of rope, but don’t do it. The effects of having a rope breeze while towing another car variety from the funny 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 vehicle aftermarket outlets carry a wide variety of tow ropes– a durable example rated for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards should cover just about any towing eventuality.
How long should my tow rope be?
Legally, there’s no minimum length, but good sense determines that you leave enough range between the two cars and trucks so that the one behind has lots of time to respond to brakes and turns.
There is, though, an optimum 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 cloth to the middle so other drivers spot the rope. Since while you might think that a couple of metres does not represent an exploitable space in traffic, experience teaches that lots of motorists do.
Do I need an indication of any kind?
Yes you do. When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they typically feature an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hold on the back of the car being towed (clearly). If you don’t have one of those, the cops won’t be extremely delighted.
Does the ignition of the cars and truck being towed need to be on?
Absolutely. If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow vehicle going in one direction and the vehicle being towed going in another at the first corner. Which’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the automobile being hauled need to work?
Driving asked the police about this and the answer was an unequivocal yes, especially 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 cause all sorts of misunderstandings …
Can I tow a car with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission vehicle are in contact with the road when the cars and truck 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’ manual as it will consist of an area that resolves towing, with some producers enforcing a distance and speed limit for automatic transmission automobiles. And just as with manual transmission cars and trucks, ensure that the gearbox is in neutral.
How should the vehicle doing the towing be driven?
Thoroughly. Very carefully. Keep your speed as low as safely possible, and pull away as gently as you can, modulating the clutch to avoid “nabbing” the rope. That’ll avoid a truly unpleasant jerking action in the cars and truck being towed, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.
Brake lightly in advance to set off brake lights so the towed vehicle has plenty of notice that braking is imminent. And similarly, suggest well beforehand so your partner behind has lots of notice.
Keep an eye on your temperature level gauge as your engine will be under a higher load than normal, so overheating is a potential issue. And since there’s lot more going on than during your usual journeys, it’s a good idea to have another person in the tow vehicle to keep a more detailed eye on what’s taking place behind.
Avoid any dramatic manoeuvres, abrupt braking or velocity– keep in mind, if the towed automobile doesn’t have a running engine, it also will not have actually power helped steering or brakes. Which could result in two dead cars and trucks instead of one.
When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they usually 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 guiding lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow automobile 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 automobile?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission car are in contact with the road when the vehicle is under tow– and the engine isn’t running– there is a possibility of damage to the transmission. That’ll prevent a really unpleasant jerking action in the vehicle being towed, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.
How should the automobile being hauled be driven?
A lot more carefully than the tow car– this is perhaps the tougher end of the operation. To begin with, the towed automobile may not have engine power, which suggests power assisted brakes and guiding will need much higher physical effort to operate. Keep in mind to guarantee the cars and truck remains in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and indications on the tow cars and truck, and be ready to collaborate your steering and braking actions. It’s likewise a good idea to keep tension in the towrope as much as possible by braking really gently while being pulled. This will avoid “snatching” and will keep the rope from dragging along the roadway, which will reduce its life significantly.
Lastly, if your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to guide the towed automobile, that’s a no– the law states that chauffeur needs to be fully certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed driver has an issue?
It’s an excellent concept to agree a few easy hand signals so that the towed driver can quickly communicate messages like “slow down”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a total ****”. It must be said, 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.