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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER AUTOMOBILE, AND WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE TOWING?
Don’t get in a knot with a towrope– follow these rules
TOWING another car behind yours may seem like an easy operation, but it isn’t– if you’ve never towed another automobile, you’ll find that it’s actually quite difficult. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses some of the more challenging elements of towing.
When is it OK to tow another car?
The most proper time to tow another car is when it has actually broken down and is either triggering an obstruction or remains in a hazardous place and requires to be pulled to a more secure spot. Towing another automobile has inherent dangers and you truly ought to keep that journey to an absolute minimum distance.
I have actually bought an ancient vintage car that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification). 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 four wheels on the ground, it’s treated the like any other roadworthy lorry, meaning that it needs to be guaranteed and taxed with a valid 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 tempting to root around in the back of your garage for any old little bit of rope, however do not do it. The effects of having a rope snap while towing another vehicle variety from the humorous to the awful, so do the right thing and buy yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be a handy thing to have in your boot anyhow, and vehicle aftermarket outlets carry a vast array of tow ropes– a heavy-duty example rated for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards need to cover practically any towing possibility.
How long should my tow rope be?
Legally, there’s no minimum length, but good sense determines that you leave enough range between the two cars so that the one behind has lots of time to react to turns and brakes.
There is, though, a maximum allowable length of 4.5 metres, and if you’re utilizing 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 chauffeurs spot the rope. Since while you might think that a couple of metres does not represent an exploitable space in traffic, experience teaches that many vehicle drivers do.
Do I need an indication of any kind?
Yes you do. When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they usually feature an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hold on the back of the automobile being pulled (undoubtedly). The cops will not be very pleased if you do not have among those.
Does the ignition of the cars and truck being towed requirement to be on?
Absolutely. If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow vehicle going in one instructions and the automobile being hauled entering another at the first corner. Which’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the cars and truck being pulled have 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 using hand signals instead of indicators– 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 result in all sorts of misunderstandings …
Can I tow an automobile with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission vehicle touch 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 resolves towing, with some makers enforcing a distance and speed limit for automatic transmission cars. And just as with manual transmission cars, ensure that the gearbox is in neutral.
How should the automobile doing the towing be driven?
Carefully. Extremely thoroughly. Keep your speed as low as securely possible, and pull away as carefully as you can, modulating the clutch to prevent “snatching” the rope. That’ll avoid a really unpleasant jerking action in the cars and truck being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that event.
Likewise, brake gently beforehand to activate brake lights so the towed vehicle has lots of notification that braking impends. And similarly, show well in advance so your partner behind has great deals of notice.
Keep an eye on your temperature gauge as your engine will be under a greater load than typical, so overheating is a potential concern. And since there’s lot more going on than throughout your normal journeys, it’s wise to have another person in the tow automobile to keep a closer eye on what’s happening behind.
Prevent any dramatic manoeuvres, abrupt braking or acceleration– keep in mind, if the towed automobile does not have a running engine, it also won’t have actually power helped steering or brakes. Which could result in 2 dead cars and trucks instead of one.
When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they normally come with an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hang on the back of the cars and truck being hauled (undoubtedly). If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow car going in one instructions and the automobile 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 misunderstandings …
Can I tow a car with an automatic automobile?
If the driven wheels of an automated 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 prevent a really unpleasant jerking action in the cars and truck being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that event.
How should the cars and truck being pulled be driven?
Even more carefully than the tow vehicle– this is arguably the tougher end of the operation. Off, the towed cars and truck may not have engine power, which implies power assisted brakes and guiding will need much higher physical effort to operate. Remember to ensure the automobile remains in neutral, too.
Keep a watchful eye out for brake lights and indications on the tow vehicle, and be ready to coordinate your steering and braking actions. It’s likewise a great idea to keep stress in the towrope as much as possible by braking extremely gently while being towed. This will prevent “taking” and will keep the rope from dragging along the road, which will shorten its life considerably.
Lastly, if your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to steer the towed vehicle, that’s a no– the law says that motorist requires to be totally certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed driver has a problem?
It’s a good idea to agree a couple of easy hand signals so that the towed driver can rapidly communicate messages like “slow down”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a total ****”. 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.