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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER AUTOMOBILE, AND WHAT DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND BEFORE TOWING?
Do not get in a knot with a towrope– follow these rules
TOWING another vehicle behind yours may sound like an easy operation, however it isn’t– if you’ve never ever towed another lorry, you’ll find that it’s in fact quite difficult. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses some of the more challenging elements of towing.
When is it OK to tow another cars and truck?
The most proper time to tow another vehicle is when it has broken down and is either triggering a blockage or remains in an unsafe location and needs to be towed to a much safer area. Towing another automobile has fundamental risks and you really should keep that journey to an absolute minimum distance.
I have actually bought 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?
The law is pretty clear here– if the automobile being rope-towed has its four wheels on the ground, it’s dealt with the very same as any other roadworthy lorry, implying that it should be insured and taxed with a valid MOT. In this instance, you’re going to need a trailer.
What sort of tow rope should I have?
It might be tempting to root around in the back of your garage for any old little rope, however do not do it. The repercussions of having a rope breeze while towing another cars and truck variety from the funny to the terrible, so do the ideal thing and buy yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be an useful thing to have in your boot anyway, and automobile aftermarket outlets bring a vast array of tow ropes– a sturdy example ranked for 3.5 tonnes and meeting British Standards must cover practically any towing scenario.
How long should my tow rope be?
Lawfully, there’s no minimum length, however sound judgment determines that you leave enough range in between the two cars and trucks so that the one behind has a lot of time to react to brakes and turns.
There is, though, a maximum allowed 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 fabric to the middle so other drivers spot the rope. Since while you might believe that a couple of metres doesn’t represent an exploitable space in traffic, experience teaches that numerous drivers do.
Do I require a sign of any kind?
Yes you do. When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they generally include an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hang on the back of the automobile being towed (clearly). The authorities will not be extremely delighted if you don’t have one of those.
Does the ignition of the cars and truck being towed need to be on?
Absolutely. If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow automobile going in one instructions and the car being hauled entering another at the first corner. And that’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the car being pulled need to work?
Driving asked the police about this and the answer was an unequivocal 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 result in all sorts of misunderstandings …
Can I tow an automobile with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission automobile touch with the roadway when the car 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’ manual as it will contain an area that attends to towing, with some makers imposing a distance and speed limitation for automatic transmission cars. And just as with manual transmission cars, make certain that the transmission is in neutral.
How should the cars and truck doing the towing be driven?
Carefully. Really carefully. Keep your speed as low as safely possible, and pull away as carefully as you can, regulating the clutch to prevent “nabbing” the rope. That’ll prevent an actually unpleasant jerking action in the car being towed, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that celebration.
Also, brake lightly ahead of time to trigger brake lights so the towed car has a lot of notification that braking impends. And also, indicate well in advance so your partner behind has lots of notification.
Watch on your temperature gauge as your engine will be under a higher load than typical, so overheating is a possible issue. And since there’s lot more going on than during your normal journeys, it’s a good idea to have someone else in the tow car to keep a better eye on what’s happening behind.
Prevent any significant manoeuvres, unexpected braking or acceleration– remember, if the towed cars and truck does not have a running engine, it likewise will not have power assisted steering or brakes. Which could lead to 2 dead vehicles 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 vehicle 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 direction and the vehicle 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 vehicle?
If the driven wheels of an automated transmission vehicle are in contact with the road 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 unpleasant jerking action in the cars and truck being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that celebration.
How should the automobile being towed be driven?
Even more thoroughly than the tow automobile– this is probably the tougher end of the operation. First off, the towed vehicle might not have engine power, which implies power assisted brakes and guiding will require much greater physical effort to run. Keep in mind to guarantee the car is in neutral, too.
Keep a watchful eye out for brake lights and indications on the tow car, and be ready to coordinate your steering and braking actions. It’s likewise a good concept to keep stress in the towrope as much as possible by braking extremely lightly while being hauled. This will prevent “snatching” and will keep the rope from dragging along the roadway, which will reduce its life significantly.
If your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to guide the towed vehicle, that’s a no– the law states that driver requires to be fully certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed chauffeur has an issue?
It’s a good idea to agree a couple of basic hand signals so that the towed driver can quickly interact messages like “decrease”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a total ****”. It should 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.