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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER CAR, AND WHAT DO I REQUIRED TO KNOW PRIOR TO TOWING?
Do not get in a knot with a towrope– follow these rules
TOWING another automobile behind yours may seem like a simple operation, but it isn’t– if you’ve never ever pulled another lorry, you’ll discover that it’s really quite tricky. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses a few of the more challenging aspects of towing.
When is it OK to tow another automobile?
The most suitable time to tow another vehicle is when it has broken down and is either causing a blockage or remains in an unsafe location and needs to be hauled to a much safer spot. Towing another cars and truck has intrinsic risks and you truly ought to keep that journey to an absolute minimum distance.
I’ve bought an ancient classic automobile that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Road Alert). Can I tow it to my garage where I prepare 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 like any other roadworthy car, meaning that it needs to 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 sort of tow rope should I have?
It might be tempting to root around in the back of your garage for any old bit of rope, however do not do it. The effects of having a rope snap while towing another vehicle range from the humorous to the terrible, so do the ideal thing and purchase yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be an useful thing to have in your boot anyhow, and vehicle aftermarket outlets carry a large range of tow ropes– a durable example rated 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, however common sense determines that you leave enough range 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 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 chauffeurs find the rope. Because while you may think that a couple of metres does not represent an exploitable space in traffic, experience teaches that many vehicle drivers do.
Do I need an indication of any kind?
Yes you do. When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they normally include an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hold on the back of the vehicle being hauled (undoubtedly). The authorities will not be extremely happy if you don’t have among those.
Does the ignition of the automobile being hauled need to be on?
Definitely. If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow automobile going in one instructions and the car being pulled going in another at the very first corner. Which’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the automobile being towed 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 daytime, forget using hand signals instead of indicators– 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 result in all sorts of misconceptions …
Can I tow a cars and truck with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission cars and truck touch 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’ manual as it will consist of a section that addresses towing, with some producers imposing a distance and speed limit for automatic transmission vehicles. And just as with manual transmission automobiles, ensure that the gearbox is in neutral.
How should the cars and truck doing the towing be driven?
Keep your speed as low as securely possible, and pull away as gently as you can, modulating the clutch to prevent “snatching” the rope. That’ll avoid a really unpleasant jerking action in the vehicle 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 vehicle has plenty of notification that braking is imminent. And likewise, suggest well in advance so your partner behind has great deals of notification.
Keep an eye on your temperature gauge as your engine will be under a greater load than typical, so overheating is a prospective concern. And because there’s lot more going on than during your normal journeys, it’s wise to have somebody else in the tow cars and truck to keep a more detailed eye on what’s happening behind.
Avoid any significant manoeuvres, unexpected braking or velocity– remember, if the towed automobile doesn’t have a running engine, it also won’t have actually power assisted steering or brakes. Which could result in two dead cars and trucks instead of one.
When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they usually come with an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the automobile being towed (obviously). 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 vehicle 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 automated transmission automobile 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. That’ll avoid a truly undesirable jerking action in the automobile being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that celebration.
How should the automobile being hauled be driven?
Even more carefully than the tow car– this is probably the tougher end of the operation. Off, the towed cars and truck might not have engine power, which indicates power assisted brakes and steering will need much greater physical effort to run. Remember to ensure the car is in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and signs on the tow automobile, and be ready to coordinate your steering and braking actions. It’s also a great concept to keep stress in the towrope as much as possible by braking very lightly while being towed. This will avoid “snatching” and will keep the rope from dragging along the roadway, which will reduce its life considerably.
If your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to steer the towed automobile, that’s a no– the law states that motorist requires to be completely certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed driver has an issue?
It’s a great concept to agree a couple of simple hand signals so that the towed chauffeur can quickly communicate messages like “decrease”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a complete ****”. It needs to be said, 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.