Towing A Light Trailer.
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 guidelines
TOWING another cars and truck behind yours might sound like an easy operation, however it isn’t– if you’ve never ever hauled another vehicle, you’ll find that it’s actually quite tricky. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses a few of the more tough elements of towing.
When is it OK to tow another car?
The most suitable time to tow another vehicle is when it has broken down and is either triggering a blockage or is in a harmful place and requires to be pulled to a much safer spot. Towing another automobile has fundamental dangers and you really should keep that journey to an absolute minimum range.
I have actually purchased an ancient classic car that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Roadway Alert). 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 automobile being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s dealt with the like any other roadworthy vehicle, indicating that it needs to be insured and taxed with a valid MOT. So in this circumstances, you’re going to require a trailer. Or a larger budget for a road-legal classic.
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 rope, however don’t do it. The repercussions of having a rope snap while towing another automobile range from the funny to the awful, so do the best 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 wide variety of tow ropes– a durable example rated for 3.5 tonnes and meeting British Standards ought to cover practically any towing possibility.
The length of time should my tow rope be?
Lawfully, there’s no minimum length, however good sense dictates that you leave enough distance in between the two automobiles so that the one behind has a lot of time to respond to brakes and turns.
There is, however, a maximum permitted 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 cloth to the middle so other motorists identify the rope. Because while you may believe that a couple of metres does not represent an exploitable gap in traffic, experience teaches that many drivers do.
Do I need an indication of any kind?
Yes you do. When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they typically come with an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hang on the back of the cars and truck being towed (clearly). If you do not have one of those, the police will not be very pleased.
Does the ignition of the cars and truck being pulled need to be on?
Definitely. If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow car entering one instructions and the vehicle being towed entering another at the first corner. And that’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the automobile being hauled need to work?
Driving asked the authorities about this and the response was an unequivocal yes, especially 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 lead to all sorts of misunderstandings …
Can I tow a car with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission vehicle are in contact with the road when the automobile is under tow– and the engine isn’t running– there is a possibility of damage to the transmission. It is important that you consult your owners’ handbook as it will include an area that addresses towing, with some makers enforcing a distance and speed limitation for automatic transmission cars. And just as with manual transmission cars and trucks, make sure that the transmission 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, regulating the clutch to avoid “nabbing” the rope. That’ll prevent a really undesirable jerking action in the automobile being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that event.
Also, brake lightly in advance to set off brake lights so the towed automobile has lots of notification that braking looms. And likewise, suggest well ahead of time so your partner behind has great deals of notice.
Keep an eye on your temperature gauge as your engine will be under a higher load than typical, so overheating is a possible problem. 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 cars and truck to keep a more detailed eye on what’s occurring behind.
Prevent any remarkable manoeuvres, sudden braking or acceleration– remember, if the towed car does not have a running engine, it also won’t have actually power assisted steering or brakes. Which could result in two dead cars and trucks instead of one.
When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they normally come with an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hang on the back of the car being towed (clearly). 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 automobile being pulled 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 transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automated 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. That’ll prevent an actually undesirable jerking action in the vehicle being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.
How should the automobile being pulled be driven?
Much more carefully than the tow cars and truck– this is perhaps the tougher end of the operation. Off, the towed vehicle might not have engine power, which indicates power assisted brakes and guiding will require much greater physical effort to run. Remember to ensure the car remains in neutral, too.
Keep a watchful eye out for brake lights and indicators on the tow cars and truck, and be ready to coordinate your steering and braking actions. It’s likewise a good concept to keep stress 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 reduce its life considerably.
If your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to steer the towed car, that’s a no– the law says that motorist requires to be fully certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed driver has a problem?
It’s an excellent idea to concur a few simple hand signals so that the towed motorist can rapidly communicate messages like “decrease”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a complete ****”. It should be stated, that last one’s a fairly 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.