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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER AUTOMOBILE, AND WHAT DO I REQUIRED TO KNOW BEFORE TOWING?
Do not get in a knot with a towrope– follow these guidelines
TOWING another vehicle behind yours might sound like a simple operation, however it isn’t– if you have actually never towed another car, you’ll discover that it’s actually quite tricky. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses a few of the more difficult elements of towing.
When is it OK to tow another automobile?
The most appropriate time to tow another cars and truck is when it has broken down and is either triggering an obstruction or remains in a dangerous place and requires to be pulled to a much safer spot. Towing another vehicle has inherent risks and you really need to keep that journey to an absolute minimum distance.
I’ve bought an ancient classic automobile that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Roadway Notification). Can I tow it to my garage where I prepare to restore it?
In a word, no. The law is pretty clear here– if the automobile being rope-towed has its four wheels on the ground, it’s treated the same as any other roadworthy vehicle, meaning that it must be insured and taxed with a valid MOT. In this instance, you’re going to need a trailer. Or a larger budget for a road-legal classic.
What type of tow rope should I have?
It might be appealing to root around in the back of your garage for any old bit of rope, however do not do it. The consequences of having a rope breeze while towing another cars and truck range from the humorous to the tragic, so do the ideal 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 heavy-duty example ranked for 3.5 tonnes and meeting British Standards ought to cover almost any towing scenario.
The length of time should my tow rope be?
Lawfully, there’s no minimum length, but sound judgment determines that you leave enough range between the two automobiles so that the one behind has a lot of time to react to brakes and turns.
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 connect a flapping bit of coloured fabric to the middle so other motorists identify the rope. Since while you may think that a couple of metres does not represent an exploitable gap in traffic, experience teaches that many motorists do.
Do I need a sign of any kind?
Yes you do. When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they usually feature an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the vehicle being towed (clearly). If you do not have one of those, the authorities won’t be very pleased.
Does the ignition of the cars and truck being pulled requirement to be on?
Absolutely. If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow automobile 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 automobile being pulled have to work?
Driving asked the police about this and the answer was an unequivocal yes, especially if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daylight, forget using hand signals instead of indications– 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 cars and truck with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission vehicle touch 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 necessary that you consult your owners’ handbook as it will contain an area that attends to towing, with some producers enforcing a range and speed limitation for automatic transmission cars and trucks. And just as with manual transmission vehicles, ensure that the transmission is in neutral.
How should the automobile doing the towing be driven?
Keep your speed as low as securely possible, and pull away as gently as you can, modulating the clutch to avoid “nabbing” the rope. That’ll avoid a truly unpleasant jerking action in the car being towed, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.
Likewise, brake gently in advance to trigger brake lights so the towed automobile has lots of notification that braking is imminent. And likewise, show well ahead of time so your partner behind has lots of notification.
Watch on your temperature gauge as your engine will be under a higher load than normal, so overheating is a potential problem. And due to the fact that there’s lot more going on than during your usual journeys, it’s smart to have somebody else in the tow cars and truck to keep a closer eye on what’s taking place behind.
Avoid any significant manoeuvres, unexpected braking or velocity– remember, if the towed cars and truck does not have a running engine, it likewise won’t have actually power helped steering or brakes. Which could result in two dead vehicles instead of one.
When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they generally come with an ‘On Tow’ indication, 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 vehicle going in one instructions and the car 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 automated transmission automobile 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 truly undesirable jerking action in the car 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 probably the tougher end of the operation. Off, the towed vehicle might not have engine power, which suggests power assisted brakes and steering will require much greater physical effort to operate. Remember to ensure the car is in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and indicators 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 extremely lightly while being pulled. This will prevent “nabbing” 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 steer the towed cars and truck, that’s a no– the law states that motorist requires to be completely qualified and licenced, too.
What if the towed driver has an issue?
It’s a good idea to concur a few basic hand signals so that the towed driver can rapidly interact messages like “slow down”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a complete ****”. It should be said, 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.