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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER CAR, AND WHAT DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND BEFORE TOWING?
Do not get in a knot with a towrope– follow these guidelines
TOWING another vehicle behind yours might sound like an easy operation, however it isn’t– if you have actually never ever towed another vehicle, you’ll discover that it’s actually quite difficult. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses some of the more difficult elements of towing.
When is it OK to tow another automobile?
The most suitable time to tow another car is when it has broken down and is either causing a blockage or is in a dangerous location and needs to be pulled to a much safer spot. Towing another vehicle has inherent risks and you truly must keep that journey to an absolute minimum range.
I have actually purchased an ancient classic automobile that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Roadway Notification). Can I tow it to my garage where I prepare to restore it?
In a word, no. The law is quite clear here– if the car being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s treated the like any other roadworthy car, suggesting that it needs to be guaranteed and taxed with a legitimate MOT. So in this instance, you’re going to need 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 rope, however don’t do it. The effects of having a rope breeze while towing another car range from the comical to the terrible, so do the ideal thing and buy yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be a handy thing to have in your boot anyhow, and automotive aftermarket outlets carry a vast array of tow ropes– a durable example rated for 3.5 tonnes and meeting British Standards must cover just about any towing scenario.
How long should my tow rope be?
Legally, there’s no minimum length, but common sense dictates that you leave enough distance between the two cars and trucks so that the one behind has plenty of time to respond to turns and brakes.
There is, however, an optimum allowable length of 4.5 metres, and if you’re using a rope that’s longer than 1.5 metres the law states you need to attach a flapping bit of coloured fabric to the middle so other motorists spot the rope. Since while you might think that a couple of metres does not represent an exploitable gap in traffic, experience teaches that lots of drivers do.
Do I require an indication of any kind?
Yes you do. When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they typically come with an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hold on the back of the automobile being hauled (certainly). The authorities won’t be extremely pleased if you do not have one of those.
Does the ignition of the vehicle being pulled requirement to be on?
Absolutely. 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 car being pulled going in another at the first corner. And that’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the car being hauled need to work?
Driving asked the authorities about this and the response was an indisputable yes, especially if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daytime, forget utilizing 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 misunderstandings …
Can I tow an automobile with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission cars and truck 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 vital that you consult your owners’ handbook as it will contain an area that deals with towing, with some makers imposing a distance and speed limitation for automatic transmission cars. And just as with manual transmission cars, make sure that the gearbox is in neutral.
How should the car doing the towing be driven?
Thoroughly. Very carefully. Keep your speed as low as securely possible, and pull away as carefully as you can, regulating the clutch to prevent “snatching” the rope. That’ll prevent a truly undesirable jerking action in the cars and truck being towed, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.
Brake lightly in advance to activate brake lights so the towed car has plenty of notice that braking is imminent. And likewise, suggest well in advance so your partner behind has great deals of notification.
Watch on your temperature 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 somebody else in the tow car to keep a more detailed eye on what’s happening behind.
Prevent any remarkable manoeuvres, sudden braking or velocity– keep in mind, if the towed cars and truck doesn’t have a running engine, it likewise won’t have actually power assisted steering or brakes. Which could lead to two dead vehicles instead of one.
When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they generally come with an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the car being pulled (clearly). If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow automobile going in one direction and the car 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 cars and truck?
If the driven wheels of an automated transmission automobile 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. That’ll prevent an actually unpleasant jerking action in the vehicle being hauled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that event.
How should the cars and truck being hauled be driven?
A lot more carefully than the tow vehicle– this is perhaps the tougher end of the operation. Off, the towed cars and truck may not have engine power, which indicates power assisted brakes and steering will need much higher physical effort to run. Keep in mind to ensure the cars and truck is in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and indicators on the tow automobile, and be ready to collaborate your steering and braking actions. It’s likewise a great idea to keep tension in the towrope as much as possible by braking very gently while being hauled. This will avoid “taking” and will keep the rope from dragging along the roadway, which will shorten its life substantially.
Lastly, if your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to steer the towed car, that’s a no– the law says that motorist requires to be totally qualified and licenced, too.
What if the towed driver has a problem?
It’s a good idea to agree a few basic hand signals so that the towed driver can quickly communicate messages like “decrease”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a complete ****”. It needs to be stated, that last one’s a fairly 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.