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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER VEHICLE, AND WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE TOWING?
Don’t get in a knot with a towrope– follow these guidelines
TOWING another car behind yours might seem like a simple operation, but it isn’t– if you have actually never ever hauled another car, you’ll discover that it’s in fact quite tricky. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses some of the more challenging aspects of towing.
When is it OK to tow another automobile?
The most appropriate time to tow another cars and truck is when it has actually broken down and is either causing an obstruction or remains in an unsafe place and requires to be hauled to a safer area. Towing another cars and truck has fundamental threats and you truly ought to keep that journey to an absolute minimum range.
I’ve purchased an ancient classic car that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Roadway Notice). Can I tow it to my garage where I prepare to restore it?
The law is quite clear here– if the car being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s treated the exact same as any other roadworthy automobile, indicating that it must be guaranteed and taxed with a legitimate MOT. In this circumstances, you’re going to require a trailer.
What sort of tow rope should I have?
It might be appealing to root around in the back of your garage for any old bit of rope, but don’t do it. The consequences of having a rope snap while towing another car variety from the comical to the tragic, so do the best thing and purchase yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be a helpful thing to have in your boot anyhow, and automobile aftermarket outlets bring a wide range of tow ropes– a durable example ranked for 3.5 tonnes and meeting British Standards ought to cover just about any towing possibility.
How long should my tow rope be?
Lawfully, there’s no minimum length, but common sense dictates that you leave enough range in between the two automobiles so that the one behind has a lot of time to respond to turns and brakes.
There is, though, a maximum permitted length of 4.5 metres, and if you’re using a rope that’s longer than 1.5 metres the law says you need to connect a flapping little bit of coloured cloth to the middle so other motorists find the rope. Experience teaches that lots of motorists do because while you might believe 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 typically feature an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hang on the back of the cars and truck being hauled (certainly). The authorities won’t be really happy if you don’t have one of those.
Does the ignition of the car being pulled requirement to be on?
Absolutely. If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow automobile entering one instructions and the cars and truck being hauled going in another at the very first corner. Which’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the cars and truck being hauled need to work?
Driving asked the police about this and the answer was an unquestionable yes, particularly if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daylight, forget using hand signals instead of signs– does anyone 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 an automobile with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission cars and truck 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 necessary that you consult your owners’ manual as it will include a section that deals with towing, with some makers imposing a distance and speed limit for automatic transmission cars. And just as with manual transmission cars, make sure that the gearbox remains in neutral.
How should the car doing the towing be driven?
Thoroughly. Really carefully. Keep your speed as low as safely possible, and pull away as carefully as you can, modulating the clutch to prevent “taking” the rope. That’ll prevent a truly undesirable jerking action in the automobile being towed, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.
Likewise, brake lightly beforehand to activate brake lights so the towed automobile has plenty of notification that braking looms. And likewise, show well ahead of time 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 problem. And since there’s lot more going on than throughout your normal journeys, it’s smart to have another person in the tow vehicle to keep a more detailed eye on what’s happening behind.
Prevent any significant manoeuvres, abrupt braking or velocity– remember, if the towed car does not have a running engine, it also will not have power assisted steering or brakes. Which might result in two dead cars and trucks instead of one.
When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they typically come with an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hang on the back of the cars and truck being hauled (clearly). If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow vehicle going in one instructions and the automobile 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 misconceptions …
Can I tow a car with an automatic cars and truck?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission cars and truck are in contact with the road when the car is under tow– and the engine isn’t running– there is a possibility of damage to the transmission. That’ll avoid 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 automobile being hauled be driven?
Even more carefully than the tow automobile– this is arguably the tougher end of the operation. Off, the towed vehicle may not have engine power, which suggests power assisted brakes and steering will require much greater physical effort to run. Remember to make sure the automobile remains in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and indications on the tow vehicle, and be ready to collaborate your steering and braking actions. It’s also a great idea to keep stress in the towrope as much as possible by braking really gently while being pulled. This will prevent “snatching” and will keep the rope from dragging along the roadway, which will reduce its life substantially.
If your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to steer the towed vehicle, that’s a no– the law says that chauffeur requires to be totally qualified and licenced, too.
What if the towed chauffeur has an issue?
It’s a great concept to concur a few simple hand signals so that the towed driver can rapidly communicate messages like “slow down”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a total ****”. It should 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.