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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER CAR, AND WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW PRIOR TO TOWING?
Don’t get in a knot with a towrope– follow these rules
TOWING another cars and truck behind yours may seem like an easy operation, but it isn’t– if you have actually never ever hauled another vehicle, you’ll discover that it’s in fact rather difficult. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses some of the more challenging elements of towing.
When is it OK to tow another vehicle?
The most proper time to tow another automobile is when it has broken down and is either triggering a blockage or remains in an unsafe area and needs to be hauled to a more secure spot. Towing another car has fundamental threats and you truly need to keep that journey to an outright minimum range.
I’ve bought 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 quite clear here– if the car being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s dealt with the like any other roadworthy automobile, implying that it should be guaranteed and taxed with a valid MOT. 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 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 cars and truck range from the funny to the terrible, so do the right thing and purchase yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be an useful thing to have in your boot anyway, and vehicle aftermarket outlets bring a large range of tow ropes– a durable example rated for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards must cover almost any towing eventuality.
How long should my tow rope be?
Lawfully, there’s no minimum length, however common sense dictates that you leave enough range in between the two vehicles so that the one behind has plenty of time to respond to brakes and turns.
There is, though, a maximum allowed 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 little bit of coloured fabric to the middle so other drivers spot the rope. Because while you might believe that a couple of metres doesn’t represent an exploitable space in traffic, experience teaches that many drivers do. Especially in London. And particularly on the North Circular.
Do I require a sign of any kind?
Yes you do. When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they typically feature an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the cars and truck being towed (clearly). The authorities won’t be very delighted if you do not have one of those.
Does the ignition of the car 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 cars and truck entering one instructions and the automobile being hauled going in another at the 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 police about this and the response was an unquestionable yes, especially if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daylight, forget utilizing hand signals instead of indications– 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 lead to all sorts of misconceptions …
Can I tow an automobile with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission cars and truck touch 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’ handbook as it will include a section that deals with towing, with some makers imposing a range and speed limitation for automatic transmission automobiles. And just as with manual transmission cars, make certain that the gearbox is 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 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 event.
Likewise, brake gently beforehand to set off brake lights so the towed car has lots of notification that braking impends. And likewise, show well ahead of time so your partner behind has lots of notification.
Watch on your temperature level gauge as your engine will be under a higher load than usual, so overheating is a potential issue. And due to the fact that there’s lot more going on than throughout your typical journeys, it’s smart to have somebody else in the tow cars and truck to keep a better eye on what’s taking place behind.
Avoid any significant manoeuvres, sudden braking or velocity– remember, if the towed cars and truck does not have a running engine, it also won’t have power helped steering or brakes. Which might 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 towed (obviously). If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow cars and truck going in one direction and the vehicle being towed 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 vehicle?
If the driven wheels of an automated transmission automobile are in contact with the road when the vehicle is under tow– and the engine isn’t running– there is a possibility of damage to the transmission. 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.
How should the cars and truck being pulled be driven?
Much more carefully than the tow car– this is probably the harder end of the operation. Off, the towed vehicle might not have engine power, which suggests power assisted brakes and guiding will need much higher physical effort to operate. Keep in mind to make sure the automobile remains in neutral, too.
Keep a watchful eye out for brake lights and signs on the tow vehicle, and be ready to coordinate your steering and braking actions. It’s also a good idea to keep stress in the towrope as much as possible by braking really gently while being towed. This will prevent “snatching” and will keep the rope from dragging along the road, which will reduce its life substantially.
Finally, if your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to steer the towed car, that’s a no– the law says that chauffeur requires to be fully qualified and licenced, too.
What if the towed motorist has an issue?
It’s a great idea to agree a few basic hand signals so that the towed chauffeur can quickly interact messages like “slow down”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a complete ****”. It needs to be stated, that last one’s a relatively 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.