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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER AUTOMOBILE, AND WHAT DO I REQUIRED TO KNOW PRIOR TO TOWING?
Don’t get in a knot with a towrope– follow these rules
TOWING another car behind yours might seem like a basic operation, however it isn’t– if you’ve never hauled another automobile, you’ll discover that it’s in fact rather tricky. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses a few of the more difficult aspects of towing.
When is it OK to tow another car?
The most suitable time to tow another automobile is when it has actually broken down and is either causing a blockage or remains in a harmful area and requires to be hauled to a safer spot. Towing another car has fundamental risks and you really need to keep that journey to an absolute minimum range.
I’ve bought an ancient vintage car that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Roadway 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 car being rope-towed has its four wheels on the ground, it’s dealt with the same as any other roadworthy car, indicating that it should be insured and taxed with a legitimate MOT. In this instance, 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 little rope, however do not do it. The repercussions of having a rope breeze while towing another car range from the funny to the awful, so do the best thing and purchase yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be an useful thing to have in your boot anyhow, and automotive aftermarket outlets carry a wide variety of tow ropes– a heavy-duty example ranked for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards should cover just about any towing possibility.
The length of time should my tow rope be?
Lawfully, there’s no minimum length, but common sense determines that you leave enough range in between the two cars so that the one behind has a lot of time to respond to brakes and turns.
There is, though, a maximum permitted length of 4.5 metres, and if you’re using a rope that’s longer than 1.5 metres the law says you require to connect a flapping bit of coloured cloth to the middle so other drivers identify the rope. Because while you might think that a couple of metres doesn’t represent an exploitable gap in traffic, experience teaches that many motorists do.
Do I need a sign of any kind?
Yes you do. When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they normally come with an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hold on the back of the automobile being towed (clearly). If you do not have one of those, the authorities won’t be extremely pleased.
Does the ignition of the cars and truck being pulled need to be on?
Definitely. If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow cars and truck going in one instructions and the automobile being pulled going in another at the first corner. Which’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the car being towed have to work?
Driving asked the cops about this and the response was an unequivocal yes, particularly if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daylight, forget using 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 lead to 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 necessary that you consult your owners’ handbook as it will contain an area that deals with towing, with some manufacturers imposing a distance and speed limit for automatic transmission vehicles. And just as with manual transmission vehicles, ensure 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, modulating the clutch to avoid “snatching” the rope. 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.
Brake gently in advance to set off brake lights so the towed cars and truck has plenty of notice that braking is impending. And likewise, indicate well beforehand so your partner behind has great deals of notification.
Watch on your temperature gauge as your engine will be under a higher load than typical, so overheating is a possible issue. And because there’s lot more going on than during your usual journeys, it’s smart to have somebody else in the tow vehicle to keep a better eye on what’s occurring behind.
Avoid any significant manoeuvres, unexpected braking or velocity– keep in mind, if the towed cars and truck does not have a running engine, it also will not have power helped steering or brakes. Which might result in two dead automobiles 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 pulled (undoubtedly). If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow automobile going in one instructions and the automobile being pulled 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 cars and truck?
If the driven wheels of an automated transmission vehicle are in contact with the roadway when the car is under tow– and the engine isn’t running– there is a possibility of damage to the transmission. That’ll prevent an actually unpleasant jerking action in the car being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.
How should the vehicle being towed be driven?
A lot more thoroughly than the tow vehicle– this is arguably the harder end of the operation. Off, the towed automobile might not have engine power, which implies power assisted brakes and steering will require much higher physical effort to run. Remember to make sure the vehicle is in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and indications on the tow automobile, and be ready to coordinate your steering and braking actions. It’s also a good idea to keep stress in the towrope as much as possible by braking really lightly while being pulled. This will prevent “nabbing” and will keep the rope from dragging along the roadway, which will reduce its life substantially.
Lastly, if your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to steer the towed vehicle, that’s a no– the law says that chauffeur needs to be totally qualified and licenced, too.
What if the towed motorist has an issue?
It’s a good idea to agree a few basic hand signals so that the towed driver can rapidly interact messages like “decrease”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a total ****”. It should 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.