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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER Cars And Truck, AND WHAT DO I REQUIRED TO UNDERSTAND BEFORE TOWING?
Don’t get in a knot with a towrope– follow these rules
TOWING another car behind yours might sound like an easy operation, however it isn’t– if you’ve never hauled another vehicle, you’ll discover that it’s in fact quite difficult. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses a few of the more difficult aspects of towing.
When is it OK to tow another vehicle?
The most proper time to tow another vehicle is when it has actually broken down and is either triggering a blockage or is in a dangerous place and needs to be pulled to a safer spot. Towing another automobile has inherent dangers and you truly must keep that journey to an absolute minimum distance.
I have actually bought an ancient classic automobile that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Road Alert). 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 automobile being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s treated the same as any other roadworthy car, implying that it should be guaranteed and taxed with a legitimate MOT. So in this instance, you’re going to require a trailer. Or a bigger budget for a road-legal classic.
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, but do not do it. The repercussions of having a rope breeze while towing another automobile variety from the comical 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 vehicle aftermarket outlets carry a large range of tow ropes– a heavy-duty example rated for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards ought to cover just about any towing eventuality.
How long should my tow rope be?
Lawfully, there’s no minimum length, but good sense determines that you leave enough distance between the two vehicles so that the one behind has lots of time to react to brakes and turns.
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 require to connect a flapping bit of coloured fabric to the middle so other drivers spot the rope. Experience teaches that numerous motorists do because while you might believe that a couple of metres doesn’t represent an exploitable space in traffic. Especially in London. And especially on the North Circular.
Do I require a sign of any kind?
Yes you do. When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they typically feature an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hold on the back of the car being hauled (certainly). If you do not have one of those, the police will not be very delighted.
Does the ignition of the cars and truck being pulled need to be on?
Definitely. If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow automobile going in one direction and the automobile being hauled entering another at the first corner. And that’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the car being pulled have to work?
Driving asked the police about this and the response was an unquestionable yes, especially if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daylight, 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 lead to all sorts of misunderstandings …
Can I tow a cars and truck with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission vehicle are in contact with the roadway 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 vital that you consult your owners’ handbook as it will include a section that deals with towing, with some makers imposing a range and speed limit for automatic transmission automobiles. And just as with manual transmission cars and trucks, make sure that the transmission remains in neutral.
How should the cars and truck doing the towing be driven?
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 avoid a really undesirable jerking action in the cars and truck 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 vehicle has plenty of notice that braking is imminent. And also, suggest well in advance so your partner behind has great deals of notification.
Keep an eye on your temperature level gauge as your engine will be under a greater load than usual, so overheating is a possible concern. And because there’s lot more going on than during your usual journeys, it’s smart to have another person in the tow car to keep a better eye on what’s happening behind.
Prevent any dramatic manoeuvres, sudden braking or velocity– keep in mind, if the towed cars and truck does not have a running engine, it also won’t have power helped steering or brakes. Which could result in two dead cars 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 pulled (clearly). If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow car 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 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 automobile is under tow– and the engine isn’t running– there is a possibility of damage to the transmission. That’ll avoid a truly unpleasant jerking action in the automobile being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.
How should the cars and truck being hauled be driven?
A lot more carefully than the tow vehicle– this is probably the tougher end of the operation. To begin with, the towed vehicle may not have engine power, which suggests power assisted brakes and guiding will need much greater physical effort to operate. Keep in mind to make sure the cars and truck remains in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and indicators on the tow cars and truck, and be ready to coordinate your steering and braking actions. It’s also a great idea to keep tension in the towrope as much as possible by braking really gently while being hauled. This will prevent “taking” and will keep the rope from dragging along the roadway, which will shorten its life considerably.
If your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to guide the towed vehicle, that’s a no– the law says that driver needs to be fully qualified and licenced, too.
What if the towed motorist has an issue?
It’s an excellent idea to agree a couple of easy hand signals so that the towed driver can rapidly communicate messages like “decrease”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a total ****”. It should be stated, 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.