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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

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TOWING another cars and truck behind yours might sound like a simple operation, however it isn’t– if you’ve never ever hauled another lorry, you’ll discover that it’s in fact quite tricky. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses a few of the more difficult elements of towing.

When is it OK to tow another vehicle?
The most proper time to tow another car is when it has actually broken down and is either triggering an obstruction or is in an unsafe place and needs to be pulled to a more secure area. Towing another vehicle has fundamental threats and you actually need to keep that journey to an absolute minimum range.

I have actually bought an ancient classic automobile that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification). Can I tow it to my garage where I plan to restore it?

The law is quite clear here– if the cars and truck being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s treated the exact same as any other roadworthy automobile, implying that it should be guaranteed and taxed with a valid MOT. In this instance, you’re going to require a trailer.

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What type 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 consequences of having a rope breeze while towing another automobile range from the comical to the awful, so do the right thing and buy yourself a purpose-built rope.

It’ll be a convenient thing to have in your boot anyhow, and vehicle aftermarket outlets carry a wide variety of tow ropes– a durable example ranked for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards must cover just about any towing eventuality.

For how long should my tow rope be?

Legally, there’s no minimum length, however common sense dictates that you leave enough distance between the two automobiles so that the one behind has lots of time to respond to turns and brakes.

There is, though, an optimum allowable 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 cloth to the middle so other drivers find the rope. Since while you might think that a couple of metres does not represent an exploitable gap in traffic, experience teaches that many motorists do.

Do I need a sign of any kind?

Yes you do. When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they typically come with an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the car being pulled (clearly). If you do not have one of those, the authorities won’t be very delighted.

Does the ignition of the cars and truck 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 car going in one direction and the automobile being pulled going in another at the very first corner. And that’s not going to end well.

Do the lights on the cars and truck being pulled have to work?

Driving asked the authorities about this and the response was an indisputable yes, particularly if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daytime, forget utilizing hand signals instead of indicators– 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 cause 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. It is important that you consult your owners’ handbook as it will contain a section that addresses towing, with some manufacturers enforcing a range and speed limit for automatic transmission vehicles. And just as with manual transmission automobiles, make certain that the transmission remains in neutral.

How should the vehicle doing the towing be driven?

Keep your speed as low as safely possible, and pull away as carefully as you can, modulating the clutch to prevent “snatching” the rope. That’ll prevent a truly unpleasant jerking action in the cars and truck being towed, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.

Also, brake lightly in advance to set off brake lights so the towed vehicle has lots of notification that braking impends. And likewise, 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 usual, so overheating is a prospective issue. And due to the fact that there’s lot more going on than during your normal journeys, it’s wise to have another person in the tow vehicle to keep a more detailed eye on what’s taking place behind.

Avoid any dramatic manoeuvres, sudden braking or acceleration– keep in mind, if the towed car doesn’t have a running engine, it also won’t have actually power assisted steering or brakes. Which could lead to two dead automobiles instead of one.

When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they generally come with an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hang on the back of the automobile being pulled (clearly). If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow automobile going in one instructions and the cars and truck 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 misunderstandings …

Can I tow a car with an automatic transmission?

If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission car 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. That’ll avoid an actually undesirable jerking action in the automobile being hauled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that celebration.

How should the cars and truck being towed be driven?

Much more carefully than the tow vehicle– this is perhaps the tougher end of the operation. Off, the towed vehicle might not have engine power, which indicates power assisted brakes and guiding will need much greater physical effort to run. Remember to ensure the vehicle is in neutral, too.

Keep a watchful eye out for brake lights and indicators on the tow cars and truck, and be ready to collaborate your steering and braking actions. It’s also a good concept to keep tension in the towrope as much as possible by braking extremely gently while being pulled. This will prevent “taking” and will keep the rope from dragging along the roadway, which will shorten its life substantially.

If your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to steer the towed car, that’s a no– the law says that driver needs to be completely qualified and licenced, too.

What if the towed motorist has an issue?

It’s a good concept to agree a few simple hand signals so that the towed chauffeur can rapidly communicate messages like “slow down”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a complete ****”. It should be said, that last one’s a fairly 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.

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