Express Towing Recovery.
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 guidelines
TOWING another automobile behind yours might sound like a simple operation, but it isn’t– if you have actually never ever hauled another vehicle, you’ll find that it’s really rather challenging. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses some of the more difficult elements of towing.
When is it OK to tow another automobile?
The most appropriate time to tow another cars and truck is when it has broken down and is either triggering a blockage or is in a hazardous area and requires to be hauled to a more secure spot. Towing another car has fundamental dangers and you actually should keep that journey to an outright minimum range.
I’ve bought an ancient vintage car that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notice). Can I tow it to my garage where I prepare to restore it?
The law is quite clear here– if the automobile being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s treated the exact same as any other roadworthy car, meaning that it must be insured and taxed with a valid MOT. In this instance, you’re going to need a trailer.
What kind 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 don’t do it. The effects of having a rope snap while towing another vehicle range from the funny to the awful, so do the right thing and buy yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be a helpful thing to have in your boot anyhow, and vehicle aftermarket outlets carry a wide variety of tow ropes– a durable example ranked for 3.5 tonnes and meeting British Standards ought to cover almost any towing possibility.
The length of time should my tow rope be?
Legally, there’s no minimum length, but good sense dictates that you leave enough range in between the two cars so that the one behind has a lot of time to respond to turns and brakes.
There is, however, an optimum allowable 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 little coloured fabric to the middle so other chauffeurs spot the rope. Experience teaches that many vehicle drivers do due to the fact that while you might think that a couple of metres does not represent an exploitable space in traffic. Especially in London. And particularly on the North Circular.
Do I require a sign of any kind?
Yes you do. When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they normally feature an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hang on the back of the cars and truck being hauled (clearly). If you do not have one of those, the authorities will not be very delighted.
Does the ignition of the cars and truck being towed requirement to be on?
Definitely. If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow car entering one direction and the vehicle being towed going in another at the very first corner. And that’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the cars and truck being towed have to work?
Driving asked the police about this and the response was an indisputable yes, particularly if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daytime, forget using hand signals instead of indications– 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 cause all sorts of misunderstandings …
Can I tow a vehicle with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic 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. It is necessary that you consult your owners’ manual as it will consist of a section that deals with towing, with some makers enforcing a distance and speed limit for automatic transmission cars and trucks. And just as with manual transmission cars and trucks, make sure that the transmission is in neutral.
How should the automobile doing the towing be driven?
Carefully. Really carefully. Keep your speed as low as safely possible, and retreat as gently as you can, regulating the clutch to avoid “nabbing” 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.
Likewise, brake lightly ahead of time to set off brake lights so the towed vehicle has plenty of notice that braking is imminent. And similarly, indicate well in advance so your partner behind has lots of notification.
Keep an eye on your temperature level gauge as your engine will be under a higher load than normal, so overheating is a potential problem. And since there’s lot more going on than during your typical journeys, it’s wise to have another person in the tow vehicle to keep a better eye on what’s happening behind.
Prevent any dramatic manoeuvres, abrupt braking or velocity– keep in mind, if the towed vehicle does not have a running engine, it also will not have actually power assisted steering or brakes. Which could lead to two dead cars 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 steering lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow vehicle going in one direction and the cars and truck being hauled 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 automatic 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 avoid a really unpleasant jerking action in the cars and truck being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that event.
How should the automobile being hauled be driven?
Even more carefully than the tow cars and truck– this is arguably the harder end of the operation. First off, the towed vehicle might not have engine power, which implies power assisted brakes and steering will require much greater physical effort to run. Remember to guarantee the cars and truck is in neutral, too.
Keep a watchful eye out for brake lights and signs on the tow car, and be ready to collaborate your steering and braking actions. It’s likewise an excellent idea to keep stress in the towrope as much as possible by braking very lightly while being hauled. This will avoid “taking” 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 guide the towed vehicle, that’s a no– the law states that chauffeur requires to be fully qualified and licenced, too.
What if the towed chauffeur has an issue?
It’s an excellent idea to agree a couple of 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 said, 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.