WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER VEHICLE, AND WHAT DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND 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 ever pulled another lorry, you’ll discover that it’s actually rather challenging. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses some of the more tough aspects of towing.
When is it OK to tow another automobile?
The most proper time to tow another cars and truck is when it has broken down and is either triggering an obstruction or is in a hazardous place and requires to be towed to a safer area. Towing another car has fundamental dangers and you really ought to keep that journey to an absolute minimum distance.
I have actually bought an ancient classic automobile that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Road Alert). Can I tow it to my garage where I prepare to restore it?
The law is quite clear here– if the vehicle being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s treated the exact same as any other roadworthy car, meaning that it should be insured and taxed with a legitimate MOT. In this circumstances, you’re going to need 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 little bit of rope, but don’t do it. The consequences 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 an useful thing to have in your boot anyway, and vehicle aftermarket outlets bring a large range of tow ropes– a durable example ranked for 3.5 tonnes and meeting British Standards must cover just about any towing possibility.
How long should my tow rope be?
Legally, there’s no minimum length, however common sense determines that you leave enough range in between the two automobiles so that the one behind has lots of time to respond to turns and brakes.
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 says you require to attach a flapping bit of coloured cloth to the middle so other motorists find the rope. Since while you might believe that a couple of metres doesn’t represent an exploitable space in traffic, experience teaches that numerous vehicle drivers do. Especially in London. And particularly on the North Circular.
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’ sign, which you hold on the back of the vehicle being pulled (undoubtedly). The authorities will not be really pleased if you do not have one of those.
Does the ignition of the car being hauled need to be on?
Definitely. 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 car being towed going in another at the first corner. And that’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the vehicle being towed need to work?
Driving asked the police about this and the response was an indisputable yes, especially if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daylight, forget utilizing hand signals instead of signs– 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 cause all sorts of misunderstandings …
Can I tow a car with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission automobile 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 include an area that addresses towing, with some makers enforcing a range and speed limitation for automatic transmission cars. And just as with manual transmission automobiles, ensure that the transmission is in neutral.
How should the automobile doing the towing be driven?
Carefully. Really carefully. Keep your speed as low as safely possible, and retreat as carefully as you can, modulating the clutch to prevent “snatching” the rope. That’ll avoid a really unpleasant jerking action in the vehicle being hauled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that celebration.
Also, brake gently beforehand to set off brake lights so the towed car has lots of notification that braking looms. And also, show well ahead of time so your partner behind has lots of notice.
Keep an eye on your temperature gauge as your engine will be under a greater load than usual, so overheating is a possible issue. And since there’s lot more going on than during your normal journeys, it’s wise to have someone else in the tow cars and truck to keep a more detailed eye on what’s taking place behind.
Avoid any significant manoeuvres, abrupt braking or velocity– remember, if the towed vehicle doesn’t have a running engine, it also won’t have actually power helped steering or brakes. Which might lead to two 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 cars and truck being towed (clearly). If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow vehicle going in one direction and the automobile being hauled 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 misunderstandings …
Can I tow a car with an automatic cars and truck?
If the driven wheels of an automated 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 a really unpleasant jerking action in the vehicle being hauled, 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?
A lot more carefully than the tow automobile– this is arguably the tougher end of the operation. Off, the towed automobile might not have engine power, which suggests power assisted brakes and steering will require much higher physical effort to operate. Keep in mind to guarantee the cars and truck is in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and signs on the tow vehicle, and be ready to coordinate your steering and braking actions. It’s also an excellent idea to keep tension in the towrope as much as possible by braking really lightly while being towed. This will prevent “snatching” and will keep the rope from dragging along the road, which will shorten its life significantly.
Lastly, 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 completely certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed driver has a problem?
It’s a good idea to concur a couple of simple hand signals so that the towed driver can quickly interact messages like “decrease”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a complete ****”. It should 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.