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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER CAR, AND WHAT DO I REQUIRED TO UNDERSTAND PRIOR TO TOWING?
Do not get in a knot with a towrope– follow these rules
TOWING another vehicle behind yours might sound like an easy operation, but it isn’t– if you have actually never hauled another vehicle, you’ll discover that it’s really quite challenging. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses some of the more difficult 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 causing a blockage or is in a harmful area and requires to be pulled to a much safer spot. Towing another car has inherent threats and you truly should keep that journey to an absolute minimum distance.
I’ve purchased an ancient classic automobile that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Roadway 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, implying that it must be guaranteed and taxed with a valid MOT. So in this instance, you’re going to require a trailer. Or a bigger budget for a road-legal classic.
What sort of tow rope should I have?
It might be appealing to root around in the back of your garage for any old little rope, however do not do it. The consequences of having a rope breeze while towing another cars and truck 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 automobile aftermarket outlets carry a large range of tow ropes– a durable example rated for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards must cover almost any towing possibility.
How long should my tow rope be?
Legally, there’s no minimum length, but common sense determines that you leave enough range between the two cars so that the one behind has a lot of time to respond to brakes and turns.
There is, however, an optimum permitted length of 4.5 metres, and if you’re using a rope that’s longer than 1.5 metres the law says you need to attach a flapping bit of coloured cloth to the middle so other motorists identify the rope. Due to the fact that while you might believe that a couple of metres doesn’t represent an exploitable gap in traffic, experience teaches that numerous drivers do.
Do I need a sign of any kind?
Yes you do. When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they usually include an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the vehicle being hauled (obviously). The authorities will not be extremely delighted if you do not have among those.
Does the ignition of the cars and truck being pulled requirement to be on?
Definitely. If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow vehicle entering one direction and the car being towed going in another at the very first corner. Which’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the car being towed have to work?
Driving asked the police about this and the response was an indisputable yes, especially if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daytime, forget utilizing hand signals instead of indicators– 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 lead to all sorts of misconceptions …
Can I tow an automobile with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission automobile touch with the road 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 contain an area that deals with towing, with some producers enforcing a range and speed limitation for automatic transmission automobiles. And just as with manual transmission vehicles, make certain that the gearbox remains in neutral.
How should the automobile doing the towing be driven?
Thoroughly. Extremely thoroughly. Keep your speed as low as safely possible, and pull away as gently as you can, regulating the clutch to avoid “snatching” the rope. 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 event.
Brake lightly in advance to set off brake lights so the towed cars and truck has plenty of notification that braking is imminent. And likewise, show well in advance so your partner behind has great deals of notification.
Keep an eye on your temperature gauge as your engine will be under a greater load than typical, so overheating is a potential issue. And due to the fact that there’s lot more going on than throughout your normal journeys, it’s smart to have somebody else in the tow automobile to keep a closer eye on what’s happening behind.
Prevent any significant manoeuvres, abrupt braking or velocity– remember, if the towed car does not have a running engine, it also will not have power assisted steering or brakes. Which could lead to two dead cars instead of one.
When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they usually come with an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hang on the back of the vehicle being hauled (certainly). If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow automobile going in one instructions and the car 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 automobile?
If the driven wheels of an automated transmission car 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 avoid an actually undesirable jerking action in the car being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that event.
How should the vehicle being towed be driven?
Even more carefully than the tow automobile– this is arguably the harder end of the operation. First of all, the towed automobile may not have engine power, which implies power assisted brakes and guiding will need much higher physical effort to operate. Keep in mind to make sure the car is in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and signs on the tow cars and truck, and be ready to collaborate your steering and braking actions. It’s likewise a good idea to keep stress in the towrope as much as possible by braking really gently while being towed. This will prevent “snatching” 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 steer the towed automobile, that’s a no– the law states that motorist requires to be totally certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed motorist has a problem?
It’s a good concept to agree a couple of basic hand signals so that the towed motorist can quickly communicate messages like “decrease”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a total ****”. It must be said, that last one’s a relatively 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.