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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER VEHICLE, AND WHAT DO I REQUIRED TO UNDERSTAND BEFORE TOWING?
Do not get in a knot with a towrope– follow these guidelines
TOWING another vehicle behind yours might sound like a simple operation, however it isn’t– if you’ve never ever hauled another automobile, you’ll discover that it’s in fact rather challenging. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses a few of the more tough elements of towing.
When is it OK to tow another car?
The most appropriate time to tow another vehicle is when it has broken down and is either triggering a blockage or is in a dangerous place and requires to be hauled to a much safer area. Towing another cars and truck has inherent threats and you really should keep that journey to an outright minimum range.
I have actually bought an ancient vintage car that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Roadway 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 vehicle being rope-towed has its four wheels on the ground, it’s treated the same as any other roadworthy car, indicating that it should be guaranteed and taxed with a legitimate MOT. In this circumstances, you’re going to require a trailer. Or a larger 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 don’t do it. The effects of having a rope breeze while towing another car range from the humorous to the terrible, 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 wide variety of tow ropes– a heavy-duty example ranked for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards ought to cover practically any towing scenario.
For how long should my tow rope be?
Legally, there’s no minimum length, but sound judgment 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, an optimum allowed 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 attach a flapping bit of coloured cloth to the middle so other motorists spot the rope. Since while you may think that a couple of metres does not represent an exploitable space in traffic, experience teaches that numerous drivers do.
Do I need a sign of any kind?
Yes you do. When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they typically feature an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the cars and truck being towed (obviously). If you do not have one of those, the cops won’t be very pleased.
Does the ignition of the car being pulled need to be on?
Definitely. If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow automobile entering one instructions and the car 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 cops about this and the answer was an unquestionable yes, particularly if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daytime, 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 result in all sorts of misunderstandings …
Can I tow an automobile with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission vehicle touch with the roadway when the vehicle 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 include a section that resolves towing, with some makers imposing a distance and speed limit for automatic transmission automobiles. And just as with manual transmission automobiles, make certain that the gearbox is in neutral.
How should the car doing the towing be driven?
Thoroughly. Very carefully. Keep your speed as low as securely possible, and retreat as carefully as you can, modulating the clutch to avoid “nabbing” the rope. 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 event.
Brake gently in advance to activate brake lights so the towed cars and truck has plenty of notification that braking is imminent. And also, show well in advance so your partner behind has lots of notification.
Watch on your temperature level gauge as your engine will be under a higher load than typical, so overheating is a possible concern. And because there’s lot more going on than throughout your typical journeys, it’s a good idea to have another person in the tow cars and truck to keep a more detailed eye on what’s taking place behind.
Avoid any dramatic manoeuvres, abrupt braking or acceleration– remember, if the towed cars and truck doesn’t have a running engine, it likewise won’t have power helped steering or brakes. Which might lead to 2 dead automobiles instead of one.
When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they usually come with an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the vehicle being towed (undoubtedly). If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow vehicle going in one instructions and the automobile being towed going in another at the 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 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 prevent a truly unpleasant jerking action in the vehicle being hauled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that event.
How should the cars and truck being towed be driven?
Much more carefully than the tow vehicle– this is arguably the harder end of the operation. Off, the towed automobile may not have engine power, which indicates power assisted brakes and guiding will require much greater physical effort to operate. Remember to make sure the automobile remains in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and indicators on the tow car, and be ready to collaborate your steering and braking actions. It’s likewise an excellent idea to keep tension in the towrope as much as possible by braking extremely lightly while being pulled. This will avoid “nabbing” and will keep the rope from dragging along the road, which will reduce its life substantially.
If your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to guide the towed automobile, that’s a no– the law says that chauffeur requires to be fully certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed driver has an issue?
It’s a good idea to concur a few simple hand signals so that the towed chauffeur can quickly communicate messages like “decrease”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a total ****”. It should be stated, 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.