Towing A Vehicle With A truck.
WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER VEHICLE, AND WHAT DO I REQUIRED TO UNDERSTAND PRIOR TO TOWING?
Don’t get in a knot with a towrope– follow these guidelines
TOWING another vehicle behind yours may sound like a basic operation, but it isn’t– if you have actually never towed another car, you’ll find that it’s in fact quite tricky. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses some of the more difficult elements of towing.
When is it OK to tow another automobile?
The most suitable time to tow another cars and truck is when it has broken down and is either triggering an obstruction or is in a hazardous location and requires to be pulled to a safer spot. Towing another car has intrinsic dangers and you actually need to keep that journey to an absolute minimum distance.
I’ve purchased an ancient classic car that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Road 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 cars and truck being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s dealt with the like any other roadworthy lorry, indicating that it needs to be guaranteed and taxed with a valid MOT. In this circumstances, you’re going to require a trailer. Or a bigger 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 do not do it. The repercussions of having a rope snap 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 convenient thing to have in your boot anyhow, and automobile aftermarket outlets bring a large range of tow ropes– a sturdy example ranked for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards need to cover almost any towing possibility.
How long should my tow rope be?
Lawfully, there’s no minimum length, however common sense dictates that you leave enough range between the two cars and trucks so that the one behind has a lot of time to respond to brakes and turns.
There is, though, an optimum allowable length of 4.5 metres, and if you’re using a rope that’s longer than 1.5 metres the law says you need to attach a flapping bit of coloured fabric to the middle so other drivers identify the rope. Because while you might believe that a couple of metres doesn’t represent an exploitable gap in traffic, experience teaches that many drivers do.
Do I require an indication of any kind?
Yes you do. When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they generally feature an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the cars and truck being pulled (undoubtedly). The authorities will not be extremely pleased if you don’t have among those.
Does the ignition of the vehicle being towed 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 direction and the vehicle being hauled entering another at the very first corner. And that’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the cars and truck being pulled have to work?
Driving asked the cops about this and the response was an unquestionable yes, especially if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daylight, forget using 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 result in all sorts of misconceptions …
Can I tow a car with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission automobile 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. It is vital that you consult your owners’ handbook as it will consist of an area that resolves towing, with some makers imposing a distance and speed limit for automatic transmission vehicles. And just as with manual transmission cars and trucks, ensure 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 safely possible, and retreat as gently as you can, regulating the clutch to prevent “snatching” the rope. That’ll prevent a really undesirable jerking action in the cars and truck 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 car has plenty of notification that braking is imminent. And also, suggest 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 typical, so overheating is a prospective concern. And because there’s lot more going on than throughout your normal journeys, it’s a good idea to have another person in the tow car to keep a closer eye on what’s taking place behind.
Avoid any significant manoeuvres, sudden braking or acceleration– keep in mind, if the towed vehicle does not have a running engine, it likewise won’t have power helped steering or brakes. Which could result in 2 dead cars 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 hauled (clearly). If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow cars and truck going in one instructions and the cars and truck being pulled 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 automobile?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission car 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. That’ll avoid a really 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 cars and truck being hauled be driven?
Even more thoroughly than the tow cars and truck– this is perhaps the harder end of the operation. To begin with, the towed cars and truck might not have engine power, which suggests power assisted brakes and guiding will need much higher physical effort to run. Keep in mind to ensure the car remains in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and indications on the tow automobile, and be ready to collaborate your steering and braking actions. It’s likewise an excellent concept to keep tension in the towrope as much as possible by braking extremely gently while being towed. This will prevent “snatching” and will keep the rope from dragging along the road, which will reduce 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 driver requires to be fully certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed chauffeur has an issue?
It’s a good concept to concur a few basic hand signals so that the towed driver can rapidly communicate messages like “slow down”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a complete ****”. It must 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.