Towing The Line.
WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER CAR, AND WHAT DO I REQUIRED TO UNDERSTAND BEFORE TOWING?
Do not get in a knot with a towrope– follow these rules
TOWING another car behind yours might seem like a basic operation, but it isn’t– if you’ve never ever pulled another car, you’ll discover that it’s actually rather challenging. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses a few of the more difficult elements of towing.
When is it OK to tow another car?
The most suitable time to tow another car is when it has broken down and is either triggering a blockage or remains in an unsafe place and requires to be hauled to a much safer area. Towing another automobile has inherent threats and you really must keep that journey to an absolute minimum distance.
I have actually bought an ancient vintage car that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notice). 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 four wheels on the ground, it’s treated the same as any other roadworthy car, implying that it should be guaranteed and taxed with a legitimate MOT. So in this circumstances, you’re going to need a trailer. Or a larger budget for a road-legal classic.
What sort 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, but don’t do it. The effects of having a rope breeze while towing another car range from the funny to the awful, so do the best thing and purchase yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be a handy thing to have in your boot anyhow, and vehicle aftermarket outlets carry a wide variety of tow ropes– a durable example rated for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards need to cover practically any towing eventuality.
The length of time should my tow rope be?
Legally, there’s no minimum length, however sound judgment determines that you leave enough distance between the two vehicles so that the one behind has lots of time to react to turns and brakes.
There is, though, an optimum allowable length of 4.5 metres, and if you’re utilizing a rope that’s longer than 1.5 metres the law says you require to attach a flapping bit of coloured fabric to the middle so other drivers spot the rope. Due to the fact that while you may think that a couple of metres does not represent an exploitable gap in traffic, experience teaches that many vehicle drivers do.
Do I require a sign of any kind?
Yes you do. When you purchase a purpose-built tow rope they typically feature an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hold on the back of the vehicle being towed (obviously). If you don’t have one of those, the police won’t be really happy.
Does the ignition of the cars and truck being towed requirement to be on?
Absolutely. If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which could have the tow automobile going in one instructions and the cars and truck being hauled entering another at the first corner. Which’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the car being towed have to work?
Driving asked the police 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 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 lead to all sorts of misunderstandings …
Can I tow a cars and truck 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 vital that you consult your owners’ manual as it will contain an area that addresses towing, with some makers enforcing a distance and speed limit for automatic transmission cars and trucks. And just as with manual transmission vehicles, make sure that the gearbox is in neutral.
How should the vehicle doing the towing be driven?
Keep your speed as low as securely possible, and pull away as carefully as you can, modulating the clutch to avoid “snatching” the rope. That’ll avoid a really unpleasant jerking action in the vehicle being hauled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that celebration.
Brake gently in advance to activate brake lights so the towed vehicle has plenty of notice that braking is impending. And likewise, show well beforehand so your partner behind has great deals of notice.
Watch on your temperature gauge as your engine will be under a higher load than typical, so overheating is a possible issue. And because there’s lot more going on than throughout your typical journeys, it’s a good idea to have somebody else in the tow car to keep a closer eye on what’s taking place behind.
Prevent any remarkable manoeuvres, sudden braking or acceleration– keep in mind, if the towed cars and truck doesn’t have a running engine, it likewise won’t have actually power helped steering or brakes. Which might result in 2 dead cars and trucks instead of one.
When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they normally come with an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hang on the back of the car being hauled (undoubtedly). If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow cars and truck going in one direction and the cars and truck being hauled 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 vehicle 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 a truly unpleasant jerking action in the cars and truck being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that event.
How should the vehicle being hauled be driven?
Much more thoroughly than the tow cars and truck– this is probably the tougher end of the operation. First of all, the towed automobile may not have engine power, which implies power assisted brakes and steering will require much higher physical effort to run. Keep in mind to guarantee the vehicle remains in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and signs on the tow automobile, and be ready to coordinate your steering and braking actions. It’s likewise an excellent idea to keep stress in the towrope as much as possible by braking very lightly while being pulled. This will avoid “taking” and will keep the rope from dragging along the road, which will shorten its life substantially.
Lastly, if your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to guide the towed car, that’s a no– the law states that driver requires to be fully certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed driver has an issue?
It’s a great idea to agree a few simple hand signals so that the towed motorist can rapidly 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.