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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER AUTOMOBILE, AND WHAT DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND PRIOR TO TOWING?
Don’t get in a knot with a towrope– follow these rules
TOWING another vehicle behind yours may sound like a simple operation, but it isn’t– if you’ve never ever hauled another car, you’ll find that it’s really quite challenging. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses a few of the more tough aspects of towing.
When is it OK to tow another vehicle?
The most suitable time to tow another automobile is when it has actually broken down and is either causing an obstruction or remains in a harmful location and needs to be towed to a more secure spot. Towing another car has fundamental threats and you truly ought to keep that journey to an absolute minimum distance.
I’ve 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 quite clear here– if the cars and truck being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s treated the like any other roadworthy automobile, indicating that it must be guaranteed and taxed with a valid MOT. So 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 bit of rope, but do not do it. The effects of having a rope breeze while towing another vehicle range from the humorous to the awful, so do the ideal 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 vast array of tow ropes– a durable example ranked for 3.5 tonnes and meeting British Standards ought to cover just about any towing eventuality.
The length of time should my tow rope be?
Lawfully, there’s no minimum length, however sound judgment determines that you leave enough distance between the two vehicles so that the one behind has plenty of time to respond to turns and brakes.
There is, though, a maximum allowable length of 4.5 metres, and if you’re utilizing a rope that’s longer than 1.5 metres the law says you need to connect a flapping bit of coloured fabric to the middle so other chauffeurs identify the rope. Because while you may believe that a couple of metres doesn’t represent an exploitable gap in traffic, experience teaches that numerous drivers do.
Do I need a sign of any kind?
Yes you do. When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they typically come with an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the automobile being hauled (undoubtedly). If you do not have one of those, the authorities will not be really delighted.
Does the ignition of the cars and truck being hauled need to be on?
Absolutely. If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow automobile going in one instructions and the car 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 need to work?
Driving asked the cops about this and the answer was an unequivocal yes, particularly if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daylight, forget utilizing 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 result in all sorts of misunderstandings …
Can I tow a car with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission automobile touch with the road when the vehicle is under tow– and the engine isn’t running– there is a possibility of damage to the transmission. It is essential that you consult your owners’ manual as it will consist of a section that deals with towing, with some manufacturers enforcing a distance and speed limit for automatic transmission cars and trucks. And just as with manual transmission cars, make sure 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 carefully as you can, regulating the clutch to avoid “snatching” the rope. That’ll avoid a really unpleasant jerking action in the automobile being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.
Also, brake lightly in advance to activate brake lights so the towed cars and truck has lots of notification that braking impends. And similarly, suggest well in advance so your partner behind has lots of notice.
Watch on your temperature gauge as your engine will be under a higher load than typical, so overheating is a potential concern. And because there’s lot more going on than during your normal journeys, it’s smart to have someone else in the tow car to keep a closer eye on what’s taking place behind.
Prevent any remarkable manoeuvres, abrupt braking or velocity– keep in mind, if the towed vehicle doesn’t have a running engine, it also will not have power assisted steering or brakes. Which might result in two dead vehicles instead of one.
When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they typically come with an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hang on the back of the cars and truck being towed (clearly). If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow cars and truck going in one instructions and the cars and truck 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 misconceptions …
Can I tow a car with an automatic automobile?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission cars and truck are in contact with the roadway when the automobile is under tow– and the engine isn’t running– there is a possibility of damage to the transmission. That’ll avoid an actually unpleasant 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 hauled be driven?
Even more thoroughly than the tow automobile– this is arguably the tougher end of the operation. First of all, the towed automobile may not have engine power, which suggests power assisted brakes and steering will need much greater physical effort to operate. Keep in mind to make sure the vehicle remains in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle 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 concept to keep stress in the towrope as much as possible by braking extremely lightly while being hauled. This will prevent “nabbing” and will keep the rope from dragging along the road, which will shorten its life substantially.
Finally, if your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to guide the towed automobile, that’s a no– the law says that motorist needs to be fully certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed chauffeur has a problem?
It’s a good concept to concur a few basic hand signals so that the towed driver can rapidly interact messages like “slow down”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a complete ****”. It must be stated, that last one’s a relatively 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.