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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

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TOWING another cars and truck behind yours may sound like a simple operation, but it isn’t– if you’ve never ever hauled another car, you’ll discover that it’s actually rather tricky. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses a few of the more tough elements of towing.

When is it OK to tow another vehicle?
The most suitable time to tow another car is when it has broken down and is either causing a blockage or remains in a harmful place and requires to be pulled to a more secure spot. Towing another car has fundamental risks and you really must keep that journey to an absolute minimum range.

I’ve bought an ancient classic automobile that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Roadway Alert). Can I tow it to my garage where I plan to restore it?

The law is quite clear here– if the automobile being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s dealt with the same as any other roadworthy vehicle, meaning that it needs to be insured and taxed with a valid MOT. In this instance, you’re going to require a trailer.

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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, but do not do it. The consequences of having a rope breeze while towing another vehicle range from the comical to the tragic, so do the right thing and buy yourself a purpose-built rope.

It’ll be a helpful thing to have in your boot anyway, and vehicle aftermarket outlets carry a large range of tow ropes– a heavy-duty example rated for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards must cover practically any towing eventuality.

How long should my tow rope be?

Legally, there’s no minimum length, however common sense determines that you leave enough distance between the two cars and trucks so that the one behind has lots of time to respond to brakes and turns.

There is, though, 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 chauffeurs identify the rope. Experience teaches that lots of motorists do due to the fact that while you may think that a couple of metres does not represent an exploitable space in traffic. Specifically in London. And particularly on the North Circular.

Do I require a sign of any kind?

Yes you do. When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they usually include an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hold on the back of the cars and truck being hauled (certainly). The authorities won’t be really happy if you do not have among those.

Does the ignition of the automobile being towed requirement 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 direction and the car being hauled entering another at the very first corner. Which’s not going to end well.

Do the lights on the vehicle being towed have to work?

Driving asked the cops about this and the answer was an unquestionable yes, particularly if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daytime, forget using hand signals instead of signs– 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 cause all sorts of misconceptions …

Can I tow a vehicle with an automatic transmission?

If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission cars and truck 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. It is vital that you consult your owners’ handbook as it will consist of an area that addresses towing, with some manufacturers imposing a range and speed limitation for automatic transmission vehicles. And just as with manual transmission cars and trucks, ensure that the gearbox is in neutral.

How should the car doing the towing be driven?

Thoroughly. Very carefully. Keep your speed as low as safely possible, and pull away as gently as you can, modulating the clutch to avoid “taking” the rope. That’ll prevent a truly unpleasant jerking action in the automobile being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.

Brake lightly in advance to trigger 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.

Keep an eye on your temperature gauge as your engine will be under a greater load than typical, so overheating is a possible concern. And because there’s lot more going on than during your usual journeys, it’s a good idea to have somebody else in the tow vehicle to keep a better eye on what’s happening behind.

Avoid any dramatic manoeuvres, sudden braking or acceleration– keep in mind, if the towed vehicle doesn’t have a running engine, it likewise will not have power helped steering or brakes. Which might result in 2 dead vehicles instead of one.

When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they typically come with an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the vehicle being towed (obviously). If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow car going in one direction 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 automatic transmission car are in contact with the roadway when the car 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 hauled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.

How should the automobile being towed be driven?

A lot more thoroughly than the tow automobile– this is perhaps the harder end of the operation. First of all, the towed cars and truck might not have engine power, which suggests power assisted brakes and guiding will require much higher physical effort to operate. Remember to make sure the cars and truck is in neutral, too.

Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and indications 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 lightly while being hauled. This will avoid “snatching” and will keep the rope from dragging along the roadway, which will reduce its life considerably.

Lastly, if your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to guide the towed car, that’s a no– the law states that motorist needs to be fully certified and licenced, too.

What if the towed driver has an issue?

It’s a great concept to agree a few basic hand signals so that the towed chauffeur can rapidly communicate messages like “decrease”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a total ****”. It must be stated, that last one’s a relatively 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.

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