WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER AUTOMOBILE, AND WHAT DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND PRIOR TO TOWING?
Don’t get in a knot with a towrope– follow these guidelines
TOWING another cars and truck behind yours may seem like an easy operation, but it isn’t– if you’ve never ever hauled another car, you’ll find that it’s in fact quite challenging. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses a few of the more challenging aspects of towing.
When is it OK to tow another automobile?
The most appropriate time to tow another automobile is when it has broken down and is either triggering a blockage or remains in a hazardous location and requires to be pulled to a more secure area. Towing another automobile has inherent risks and you really ought to keep that journey to an absolute minimum range.
I’ve bought an ancient classic car 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 cars and truck being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s dealt with the same as any other roadworthy automobile, suggesting that it must be insured and taxed with a valid MOT. So in this circumstances, you’re going to need a trailer. Or a larger budget for a road-legal classic.
What kind of tow rope should I have?
It might be appealing to root around in the back of your garage for any old little bit of rope, however do not do it. The repercussions of having a rope breeze while towing another automobile range from the funny to the terrible, so do the ideal thing and purchase yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be a handy thing to have in your boot anyhow, and automotive aftermarket outlets carry a vast array of tow ropes– a durable example ranked for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards ought to cover almost any towing possibility.
How long should my tow rope be?
Legally, there’s no minimum length, but sound judgment dictates that you leave enough range between the two vehicles so that the one behind has lots of time to react to brakes and turns.
There is, however, a maximum 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 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 many vehicle drivers do.
Do I need a sign of any kind?
Yes you do. When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they normally come with an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the vehicle being hauled (clearly). The police won’t be very happy if you don’t have among those.
Does the ignition of the car being towed requirement to be on?
Absolutely. If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow vehicle entering one instructions and the automobile being pulled going in another at the first corner. And that’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the automobile being hauled have 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 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 result in all sorts of misunderstandings …
Can I tow a car with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission cars and truck touch 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 essential that you consult your owners’ manual as it will include a section that addresses towing, with some manufacturers imposing a range and speed limitation for automatic transmission cars and trucks. And just as with manual transmission vehicles, ensure that the gearbox is in neutral.
How should the cars and truck doing the towing be driven?
Carefully. Very thoroughly. Keep your speed as low as safely possible, and pull away as gently as you can, modulating the clutch to prevent “snatching” the rope. That’ll avoid a really unpleasant jerking action in the automobile being hauled, 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 notice that braking is impending. And likewise, show well ahead of time so your partner behind has lots of notice.
Watch on your temperature gauge as your engine will be under a greater load than normal, so overheating is a possible issue. And due to the fact that there’s lot more going on than during your normal journeys, it’s wise to have another person in the tow vehicle to keep a more detailed eye on what’s occurring behind.
Prevent any remarkable manoeuvres, unexpected braking or acceleration– remember, if the towed vehicle does not have a running engine, it also won’t have power helped steering or brakes. Which could result in 2 dead cars and trucks instead of one.
When you purchase 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 the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow vehicle going in one direction and the vehicle 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 automated transmission automobile are in contact with the road when the vehicle 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 car being hauled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.
How should the vehicle being hauled be driven?
A lot more thoroughly than the tow car– this is arguably the harder end of the operation. To begin with, the towed vehicle may not have engine power, which means power assisted brakes and guiding will need much higher physical effort to run. Remember to guarantee the cars and truck is in neutral, too.
Keep a watchful eye out for brake lights and indications on the tow car, and be ready to collaborate your steering and braking actions. It’s likewise a great concept to keep stress in the towrope as much as possible by braking really lightly while being hauled. This will avoid “snatching” and will keep the rope from dragging along the roadway, which will reduce its life substantially.
Lastly, if your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to steer the towed car, that’s a no– the law states that driver needs to be completely certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed driver has a problem?
It’s a great concept to agree a few easy hand signals so that the towed chauffeur can quickly interact messages like “decrease”, “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.