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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 car behind yours might sound like a simple operation, however it isn’t– if you’ve never hauled another automobile, you’ll discover that it’s actually quite challenging. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses some of the more difficult aspects of towing.
When is it OK to tow another automobile?
The most appropriate time to tow another car is when it has broken down and is either triggering an obstruction or is in a hazardous area and needs to be pulled to a much safer spot. Towing another car has intrinsic threats and you truly should keep that journey to an outright minimum distance.
I’ve bought an ancient classic car 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 quite clear here– if the vehicle being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s treated the like any other roadworthy vehicle, meaning that it should be guaranteed and taxed with a legitimate MOT. So in this circumstances, you’re going to require a trailer. Or a bigger budget for a road-legal classic.
What kind of tow rope should I have?
It might be appealing to root around in the back of your garage for any old little bit of rope, but do not do it. The consequences of having a rope snap while towing another cars and truck variety from the humorous to the awful, so do the right thing and purchase yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be an useful thing to have in your boot anyway, and vehicle aftermarket outlets bring a vast array of tow ropes– a sturdy example rated for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards must cover practically any towing scenario.
How long should my tow rope be?
Lawfully, there’s no minimum length, however good sense dictates that you leave enough distance in between the two cars so that the one behind has a lot of time to react to turns and brakes.
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 need to attach a flapping bit of coloured cloth to the middle so other motorists identify the rope. Due to the fact that while you may believe that a couple of metres doesn’t represent an exploitable gap in traffic, experience teaches that numerous motorists do.
Do I need an indication of any kind?
Yes you do. When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they generally feature an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hang on the back of the vehicle being hauled (obviously). If you do not have one of those, the authorities won’t be really delighted.
Does the ignition of the car 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 entering one direction and the cars and truck being hauled entering another at the first corner. And that’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the cars and truck being pulled have 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 daylight, 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 vehicle 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 vital that you consult your owners’ handbook as it will consist of an area that addresses towing, with some manufacturers imposing a range and speed limitation for automatic transmission automobiles. And just as with manual transmission automobiles, ensure that the gearbox is in neutral.
How should the automobile 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 prevent a truly undesirable jerking action in the car being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that celebration.
Brake gently in advance to activate brake lights so the towed vehicle has plenty of notice that braking is imminent. And likewise, 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 greater load than usual, so overheating is a potential concern. And due to the fact that there’s lot more going on than throughout your typical journeys, it’s smart to have someone else in the tow vehicle to keep a closer eye on what’s happening behind.
Avoid any remarkable manoeuvres, abrupt braking or velocity– remember, if the towed automobile does not have a running engine, it also won’t have power assisted steering or brakes. Which could lead to 2 dead cars instead of one.
When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they usually come with an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hang on the back of the car being hauled (obviously). If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow automobile going in one direction and the automobile being towed 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 transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automated transmission car 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. That’ll prevent a really unpleasant jerking action in the vehicle being hauled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that celebration.
How should the cars and truck being towed be driven?
Much more thoroughly than the tow automobile– this is perhaps the tougher end of the operation. First of all, the towed vehicle might not have engine power, which suggests power assisted brakes and guiding will require much higher physical effort to run. Keep in mind to guarantee the car remains in neutral, too.
Keep a watchful eye out for brake lights and indicators on the tow cars and truck, and be ready to coordinate your steering and braking actions. It’s also an excellent idea to keep stress in the towrope as much as possible by braking very gently while being pulled. This will prevent “snatching” and will keep the rope from dragging along the roadway, which will reduce its life significantly.
If your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to guide the towed cars and truck, that’s a no– the law states that chauffeur needs to be completely qualified and licenced, too.
What if the towed driver has an issue?
It’s a good idea to agree a few basic 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 stated, 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.