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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER VEHICLE, 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 may sound like a simple operation, but it isn’t– if you’ve never hauled another vehicle, you’ll discover that it’s really rather challenging. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses a few of the more tough elements of towing.
When is it OK to tow another automobile?
The most appropriate time to tow another vehicle is when it has broken down and is either causing a blockage or is in a dangerous area and requires to be towed to a more secure spot. Towing another vehicle has intrinsic risks and you really ought to keep that journey to an outright minimum distance.
I’ve purchased an ancient vintage car that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Roadway Notice). 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 cars and truck being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s treated the like any other roadworthy vehicle, meaning that it should be insured and taxed with a valid MOT. So in this circumstances, you’re going to require a trailer. Or a larger 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 bit of rope, but do not do it. The repercussions of having a rope snap while towing another automobile range from the comical to the terrible, so do the ideal thing and purchase yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be an useful thing to have in your boot anyhow, and automobile aftermarket outlets carry a wide range of tow ropes– a heavy-duty example rated for 3.5 tonnes and meeting British Standards need to cover almost any towing scenario.
How long should my tow rope be?
Lawfully, there’s no minimum length, but common sense determines that you leave enough range in between the two cars and trucks so that the one behind has a lot of time to respond to turns and brakes.
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 states you require to attach a flapping bit of coloured fabric to the middle so other motorists spot the rope. Due to the fact that while you may think that a couple of metres does not represent an exploitable gap in traffic, experience teaches that many drivers do.
Do I require a sign of any kind?
Yes you do. When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they typically include an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hold on the back of the automobile being pulled (undoubtedly). The cops will not be very happy if you don’t have among those.
Does the ignition of the vehicle being hauled need to be on?
Absolutely. If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow vehicle entering one instructions and the vehicle 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 hauled need to work?
Driving asked the cops about this and the answer was an indisputable yes, especially 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 cause all sorts of misconceptions …
Can I tow a vehicle with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission car are in contact with the roadway when the vehicle 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 consist of a section that deals with towing, with some producers imposing a distance and speed limit for automatic transmission cars and trucks. And just as with manual transmission cars, make certain that the transmission is in neutral.
How should the automobile 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 “nabbing” the rope. That’ll prevent an actually undesirable jerking action in the cars and truck being hauled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.
Also, brake gently in advance to set off brake lights so the towed cars and truck has a lot of notification that braking impends. And likewise, show well beforehand so your partner behind has great deals of notice.
Watch on your temperature level 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 throughout your normal journeys, it’s smart to have somebody else in the tow cars and truck to keep a closer eye on what’s happening behind.
Avoid any significant manoeuvres, abrupt braking or velocity– remember, if the towed car does not have a running engine, it also won’t have power assisted steering or brakes. Which could lead to 2 dead cars and trucks instead of one.
When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they generally come with an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the automobile being hauled (clearly). If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow car 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 misconceptions …
Can I tow a car with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission automobile are in contact with the roadway when the vehicle is under tow– and the engine isn’t running– there is a possibility of damage to the transmission. That’ll prevent an actually undesirable jerking action in the automobile being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that event.
How should the vehicle being hauled be driven?
Even more thoroughly than the tow cars and truck– this is perhaps the tougher end of the operation. To begin with, the towed vehicle may not have engine power, which means power assisted brakes and guiding will need much greater physical effort to run. Remember to ensure the automobile remains 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 also a good idea to keep tension in the towrope as much as possible by braking really lightly while being towed. This will prevent “snatching” and will keep the rope from dragging along the road, 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 says that chauffeur requires to be fully certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed chauffeur has an issue?
It’s a great idea to agree a couple of basic hand signals so that the towed driver can rapidly interact messages like “slow down”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a complete ****”. It needs to 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.