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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 cars and truck behind yours may sound like an easy operation, however it isn’t– if you’ve never hauled another vehicle, you’ll find that it’s really rather challenging. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses a few of the more challenging aspects of towing.
When is it OK to tow another cars and truck?
The most suitable time to tow another automobile is when it has broken down and is either causing a blockage or remains in a hazardous area and requires to be pulled to a safer spot. Towing another car has inherent risks and you really need to keep that journey to an absolute minimum range.
I have actually bought an ancient classic car that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Roadway Notification). Can I tow it to my garage where I prepare to restore it?
The law is pretty clear here– if the vehicle being rope-towed has its four wheels on the ground, it’s treated the exact same as any other roadworthy vehicle, meaning that it should be insured and taxed with a legitimate MOT. In this instance, you’re going to require a trailer.
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 snap while towing another car range from the comical to the terrible, so do the best thing and purchase yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be a convenient thing to have in your boot anyhow, and automobile aftermarket outlets carry a wide variety of tow ropes– a sturdy example rated for 3.5 tonnes and meeting British Standards must cover just about any towing scenario.
How long should my tow rope be?
Legally, there’s no minimum length, but common sense dictates that you leave enough distance 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 allowed 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 little bit of coloured cloth to the middle so other chauffeurs find the rope. Due to the fact that while you may think that a number of metres does not represent an exploitable space in traffic, experience teaches that lots of drivers do. Particularly in London. And particularly on the North Circular.
Do I require an indication of any kind?
Yes you do. When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they generally come with an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hold on the back of the automobile being pulled (clearly). The cops won’t be very delighted if you do not have one of those.
Does the ignition of the automobile 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 vehicle going in one direction and the vehicle being hauled entering another at the first corner. Which’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the vehicle being hauled have to work?
Driving asked the cops about this and the answer was an unquestionable yes, especially if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daytime, 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 an automobile with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission car 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 necessary that you consult your owners’ manual as it will contain an area that addresses towing, with some producers imposing a range and speed limit for automatic transmission vehicles. And just as with manual transmission vehicles, make sure that the transmission is in neutral.
How should the automobile doing the towing be driven?
Thoroughly. Very thoroughly. Keep your speed as low as safely possible, and pull away as carefully as you can, regulating the clutch to avoid “taking” the rope. That’ll prevent a really unpleasant jerking action in the vehicle being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.
Brake gently in advance to set off brake lights so the towed car has plenty of notice that braking is imminent. And similarly, show well ahead of time so your partner behind has lots of notification.
Watch on your temperature level gauge as your engine will be under a higher load than usual, so overheating is a prospective concern. And due to the fact that there’s lot more going on than throughout your typical journeys, it’s a good idea to have someone else in the tow cars and truck to keep a more detailed eye on what’s taking place behind.
Prevent any significant manoeuvres, unexpected braking or velocity– remember, if the towed vehicle does not have a running engine, it likewise will not have power assisted steering or brakes. Which could lead to 2 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 automobile being hauled (certainly). If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow vehicle going in one instructions and the automobile being pulled 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 automatic transmission cars and truck are in contact with the road when the vehicle 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 automobile being hauled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that event.
How should the car being pulled be driven?
Much more carefully than the tow vehicle– this is probably the harder end of the operation. To begin with, the towed car may not have engine power, which suggests power assisted brakes and guiding will require much greater physical effort to operate. Keep in mind to ensure the cars and truck remains in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and signs on the tow car, and be ready to coordinate your steering and braking actions. It’s likewise a great concept to keep tension in the towrope as much as possible by braking very lightly while being towed. This will prevent “taking” and will keep the rope from dragging along the road, which will shorten its life substantially.
Lastly, 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 completely qualified and licenced, too.
What if the towed chauffeur has an issue?
It’s a good concept to agree a few easy hand signals so that the towed motorist can quickly communicate messages like “decrease”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a total ****”. It needs to 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.