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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER CAR, AND WHAT DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND PRIOR TO TOWING?
Don’t get in a knot with a towrope– follow these rules
TOWING another cars and truck behind yours might sound like a basic operation, but it isn’t– if you’ve never ever towed another car, you’ll discover that it’s really rather challenging. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses a few of the more challenging elements of towing.
When is it OK to tow another car?
The most appropriate time to tow another automobile is when it has broken down and is either causing an obstruction or remains in a dangerous area and needs to be pulled to a more secure area. Towing another cars and truck has inherent risks and you truly ought to keep that journey to an outright minimum range.
I’ve purchased an ancient classic car that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Road Alert). Can I tow it to my garage where I plan to restore it?
In a word, no. The law is pretty clear here– if the vehicle being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s treated the same as any other roadworthy vehicle, implying that it should be insured and taxed with a legitimate MOT. So in this instance, you’re going to need a trailer. Or a bigger budget for a road-legal classic.
What sort 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 buy yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be a convenient thing to have in your boot anyhow, and automotive aftermarket outlets carry a large range of tow ropes– a durable example ranked for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards need to cover just about any towing possibility.
The length of time should my tow rope be?
Lawfully, there’s no minimum length, however sound judgment determines that you leave enough distance between the two cars so that the one behind has lots of time to respond to brakes and turns.
There is, however, a maximum 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 connect a flapping little coloured cloth to the middle so other drivers identify the rope. Experience teaches that numerous vehicle drivers do since while you may think that a couple of metres doesn’t represent an exploitable gap 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 normally feature an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the car being pulled (undoubtedly). The police won’t be very delighted if you do not have among those.
Does the ignition of the automobile being towed need to be on?
Definitely. If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow car entering one instructions and the cars and truck being towed going in another at the very first corner. Which’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the automobile being towed need to work?
Driving asked the authorities 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 misconceptions …
Can I tow an automobile with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission automobile are in contact with the road 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 necessary that you consult your owners’ handbook as it will contain an area that attends to towing, with some makers enforcing a range and speed limit for automatic transmission cars. And just as with manual transmission cars and trucks, make certain that the gearbox is in neutral.
How should the automobile doing the towing be driven?
Carefully. Very carefully. Keep your speed as low as securely possible, and retreat as gently as you can, regulating the clutch to prevent “nabbing” the rope. That’ll prevent an actually unpleasant jerking action in the cars and truck being hauled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that celebration.
Likewise, brake gently in advance to set off brake lights so the towed vehicle has lots of notice that braking is imminent. And also, 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 normal, so overheating is a prospective concern. And because there’s lot more going on than during your typical journeys, it’s smart to have somebody else in the tow automobile to keep a better eye on what’s taking place behind.
Avoid any significant manoeuvres, unexpected braking or acceleration– remember, if the towed car doesn’t have a running engine, it also will not have actually power helped steering or brakes. Which might result in two dead automobiles instead of one.
When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they normally come with an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the vehicle being hauled (clearly). 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 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 automobile?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission vehicle 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 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.
How should the automobile being towed be driven?
A lot more thoroughly than the tow cars and truck– this is arguably the harder end of the operation. First of all, the towed cars and truck might not have engine power, which indicates power assisted brakes and steering will need much greater physical effort to run. Keep in mind to ensure the vehicle remains in neutral, too.
Keep a watchful eye out for brake lights and signs on the tow car, and be ready to collaborate your steering and braking actions. It’s also an excellent concept to keep tension in the towrope as much as possible by braking extremely lightly while being towed. This will prevent “taking” and will keep the rope from dragging along the road, which will shorten its life considerably.
Finally, if your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to steer the towed vehicle, that’s a no– the law says that driver requires to be fully qualified and licenced, too.
What if the towed motorist has a problem?
It’s an excellent idea to agree a few basic hand signals so that the towed motorist can rapidly interact messages like “decrease”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a complete ****”. 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.