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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER AUTOMOBILE, AND WHAT DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND BEFORE TOWING?
Don’t get in a knot with a towrope– follow these rules
TOWING another car behind yours may seem like an easy operation, but it isn’t– if you’ve never towed another lorry, you’ll find that it’s actually rather difficult. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses some of the more challenging aspects of towing.
When is it OK to tow another car?
The most appropriate time to tow another automobile is when it has actually broken down and is either triggering a blockage or remains in a hazardous location and needs to be pulled to a more secure area. Towing another vehicle has inherent dangers and you really need to keep that journey to an outright minimum distance.
I have actually purchased an ancient classic automobile that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notice). 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 same as any other roadworthy lorry, indicating that it must be insured and taxed with a legitimate MOT. So in this circumstances, you’re going to need a trailer. Or a bigger 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, however do not do it. The consequences of having a rope breeze while towing another vehicle range from the funny to the tragic, so do the right thing and purchase yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be a convenient thing to have in your boot anyway, and vehicle aftermarket outlets carry a wide variety of tow ropes– a sturdy example rated for 3.5 tonnes and meeting British Standards ought to cover almost any towing eventuality.
The length of time should my tow rope be?
Lawfully, there’s no minimum length, however good sense determines that you leave enough distance in between the two cars and trucks so that the one behind has plenty of time to respond to brakes and turns.
There is, however, a maximum allowable length of 4.5 metres, and if you’re using a rope that’s longer than 1.5 metres the law states you require to connect a flapping bit of coloured fabric to the middle so other drivers find the rope. Because while you might believe that a couple of metres does not represent an exploitable gap in traffic, experience teaches that lots of vehicle drivers do.
Do I need an indication of any kind?
Yes you do. When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they generally feature an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the automobile being towed (certainly). The cops will not be really happy if you don’t have one of those.
Does the ignition of the automobile 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 cars and truck being pulled entering 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 authorities about this and the answer was an indisputable yes, especially if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daylight, forget utilizing hand signals instead of signs– 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 vehicle touch with the road when the car 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’ handbook as it will contain a section that addresses towing, with some producers imposing a distance and speed limitation for automatic transmission vehicles. And just as with manual transmission cars and trucks, make sure that the gearbox is in neutral.
How should the cars and truck doing the towing be driven?
Thoroughly. Really carefully. Keep your speed as low as safely possible, and pull away as carefully as you can, modulating the clutch to avoid “nabbing” the rope. That’ll prevent a truly undesirable jerking action in the automobile being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that event.
Likewise, brake lightly ahead of time to set off brake lights so the towed vehicle has plenty of notification that braking impends. And also, indicate well ahead of time so your partner behind has great deals of notification.
Keep an eye on your temperature level gauge as your engine will be under a greater load than normal, so overheating is a potential concern. And due to the fact that there’s lot more going on than during your usual journeys, it’s smart to have another person in the tow cars and truck to keep a closer eye on what’s happening behind.
Prevent any significant manoeuvres, abrupt braking or acceleration– remember, if the towed car doesn’t have a running engine, it likewise will not have actually power helped steering or brakes. Which could lead to two dead cars and trucks instead of one.
When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they normally come with an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hang on the back of the car being pulled (obviously). If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow cars and truck going in one direction 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 misconceptions …
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 cars and truck is under tow– and the engine isn’t running– there is a possibility of damage to the transmission. That’ll prevent an actually undesirable jerking action in the vehicle being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that celebration.
How should the car being pulled be driven?
Even more carefully than the tow car– this is arguably the tougher end of the operation. First off, the towed automobile might not have engine power, which means power assisted brakes and guiding will require much greater physical effort to operate. Keep in mind to make sure the vehicle is in neutral, too.
Keep a watchful eye out for brake lights and signs on the tow vehicle, and be ready to collaborate 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 towed. This will avoid “nabbing” and will keep the rope from dragging along the roadway, which will reduce its life substantially.
If your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to guide the towed car, that’s a no– the law says that chauffeur requires to be totally qualified and licenced, too.
What if the towed driver has a problem?
It’s a good concept to concur a few basic hand signals so that the towed chauffeur can rapidly interact messages like “decrease”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a complete ****”. It must 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.