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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER CAR, AND WHAT DO I REQUIRED TO KNOW PRIOR TO TOWING?
Don’t get in a knot with a towrope– follow these guidelines
TOWING another automobile behind yours might seem like an easy operation, but it isn’t– if you have actually never hauled another automobile, you’ll discover that it’s really quite challenging. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses some of the more tough elements of towing.
When is it OK to tow another vehicle?
The most appropriate time to tow another automobile is when it has broken down and is either causing a blockage or remains in a dangerous location and needs to be pulled to a more secure spot. Towing another automobile has fundamental risks and you really must keep that journey to an outright minimum range.
I have actually purchased an ancient vintage car that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Roadway Notification). Can I tow it to my garage where I plan to restore it?
The law is pretty clear here– if the vehicle being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s dealt with the same as any other roadworthy automobile, meaning that it needs to be insured and taxed with a legitimate MOT. In this instance, you’re going to require a trailer.
What kind of tow rope should I have?
It might be tempting to root around in the back of your garage for any old bit of rope, however do not do it. The consequences of having a rope breeze while towing another car range from the comical to the awful, 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 vehicle aftermarket outlets carry a wide variety of tow ropes– a sturdy example rated for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards must cover just about any towing scenario.
The length of time should my tow rope be?
Lawfully, there’s no minimum length, however good sense determines that you leave enough distance between the two vehicles so that the one behind has plenty of time to react to brakes and turns.
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 connect a flapping bit of coloured fabric to the middle so other motorists identify the rope. Due to the fact that while you may think that a couple of metres doesn’t represent an exploitable space 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 usually include an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hang on the back of the car being towed (obviously). If you do not have one of those, the cops will not be extremely pleased.
Does the ignition of the car being pulled need 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 instructions and the car being towed entering another at the very first corner. And that’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the car being pulled need to work?
Driving asked the police about this and the answer was an indisputable yes, particularly if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daytime, forget using 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 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. It is necessary that you consult your owners’ manual as it will contain an area that addresses towing, with some makers imposing a distance and speed limit for automatic transmission cars. And just as with manual transmission automobiles, make sure that the gearbox 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 avoid “snatching” the rope. That’ll avoid a truly unpleasant jerking action in the automobile being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that event.
Brake gently in advance to set off brake lights so the towed vehicle has plenty of notification that braking is imminent. And also, indicate 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 normal, so overheating is a possible problem. And because there’s lot more going on than throughout your usual journeys, it’s smart to have another person in the tow automobile to keep a more detailed eye on what’s occurring behind.
Prevent any remarkable manoeuvres, sudden braking or acceleration– keep in mind, if the towed car doesn’t have a running engine, it also won’t have actually power assisted steering or brakes. Which could result in 2 dead automobiles instead of one.
When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they usually come with an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hang on the back of the cars and truck 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 instructions and the vehicle being hauled 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 automated transmission cars and truck 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 avoid a truly undesirable jerking action in the car being hauled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.
How should the vehicle being pulled be driven?
A lot more thoroughly than the tow car– this is perhaps the tougher end of the operation. Off, the towed car may not have engine power, which indicates power assisted brakes and steering will require much greater physical effort to operate. Remember to make sure the cars and truck remains in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and indicators on the tow vehicle, and be ready to coordinate your steering and braking actions. It’s also a great concept to keep tension in the towrope as much as possible by braking very gently while being pulled. This will prevent “snatching” and will keep the rope from dragging along the road, which will shorten its life substantially.
If your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to steer the towed cars and truck, that’s a no– the law says that motorist requires to be totally certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed motorist has a problem?
It’s an excellent idea to concur a couple of simple hand signals so that the towed driver can quickly interact 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.