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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER VEHICLE, AND WHAT DO I REQUIRED TO KNOW BEFORE TOWING?
Don’t get in a knot with a towrope– follow these rules
TOWING another cars and truck behind yours might seem like a basic operation, but it isn’t– if you have actually never hauled another lorry, you’ll discover that it’s in fact rather difficult. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses some of the more challenging aspects of towing.
When is it OK to tow another vehicle?
The most appropriate time to tow another cars and truck is when it has actually broken down and is either triggering a blockage or is in a dangerous location and needs to be pulled to a much safer spot. Towing another automobile has intrinsic risks and you actually must keep that journey to an absolute minimum range.
I have actually bought an ancient vintage car that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Roadway Alert). 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 dealt with the very same as any other roadworthy automobile, meaning that it should be insured and taxed with a legitimate MOT. In this circumstances, you’re going to require a trailer.
What type 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, but don’t do it. The consequences of having a rope breeze while towing another car range from the humorous to the tragic, so do the ideal thing and purchase yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be an useful thing to have in your boot anyhow, and vehicle aftermarket outlets bring a large range of tow ropes– a durable example ranked for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards need to cover almost any towing scenario.
For how long should my tow rope be?
Legally, there’s no minimum length, however good sense dictates that you leave enough distance between the two cars so that the one behind has plenty of time to react to brakes and turns.
There is, however, a maximum permitted 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 cloth to the middle so other drivers identify the rope. Since while you might believe that a couple of metres does not represent an exploitable gap in traffic, experience teaches that lots of motorists do.
Do I require an indication of any kind?
Yes you do. When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they generally come with an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hang on the back of the cars and truck being hauled (clearly). The police will not be very happy if you do not have one of those.
Does the ignition of the automobile being pulled need to be on?
Definitely. 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 car being towed entering another at the first corner. And that’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the vehicle being hauled need to work?
Driving asked the cops about this and the response was an unequivocal yes, particularly if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daytime, forget using hand signals instead of indicators– 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 result in all sorts of misunderstandings …
Can I tow a car with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission car touch with the road when the car 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 consist of a section that resolves towing, with some makers enforcing a range and speed limit for automatic transmission vehicles. And just as with manual transmission vehicles, make sure that the gearbox remains in neutral.
How should the cars and truck doing the towing be driven?
Carefully. Extremely thoroughly. Keep your speed as low as securely possible, and pull away as gently as you can, modulating the clutch to prevent “taking” the rope. That’ll prevent a truly unpleasant jerking action in the automobile being towed, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that celebration.
Likewise, brake lightly in advance to set off brake lights so the towed car has a lot of notification that braking is imminent. And also, indicate well ahead of time so your partner behind has lots of notice.
Watch on your temperature gauge as your engine will be under a higher load than normal, so overheating is a prospective concern. And because there’s lot more going on than during your usual journeys, it’s wise to have another person in the tow automobile to keep a more detailed eye on what’s happening behind.
Avoid any remarkable manoeuvres, sudden braking or velocity– remember, if the towed vehicle doesn’t have a running engine, it also won’t have power assisted steering or brakes. Which could result in 2 dead automobiles instead of one.
When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they typically come with an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the vehicle being hauled (certainly). 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 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 misunderstandings …
Can I tow a car with an automatic cars and truck?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission automobile are in contact with the roadway when the automobile 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 towed, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.
How should the automobile being hauled be driven?
Much more carefully than the tow cars and truck– this is probably the harder end of the operation. Off, the towed car might not have engine power, which means power assisted brakes and steering will need much greater physical effort to operate. Remember to ensure the vehicle is in neutral, too.
Keep a watchful eye out for brake lights and indications on the tow cars and truck, and be ready to coordinate your steering and braking actions. It’s likewise a good idea to keep stress in the towrope as much as possible by braking very lightly while being hauled. This will avoid “nabbing” 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 chauffeur needs to be fully qualified and licenced, too.
What if the towed chauffeur has an issue?
It’s a great idea to agree a few easy hand signals so that the towed motorist can rapidly communicate messages like “decrease”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a complete ****”. It needs to be stated, that last one’s a fairly 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.