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WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER CAR, 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 may sound like a basic operation, however it isn’t– if you have actually never ever towed another car, you’ll find that it’s actually rather tricky. 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 cars and truck is when it has broken down and is either causing an obstruction or is in a harmful area and needs to be hauled to a safer spot. Towing another vehicle has inherent dangers and you truly should keep that journey to an outright minimum distance.
I’ve bought an ancient classic automobile that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notice). Can I tow it to my garage where I plan to restore it?
The law is pretty clear here– if the cars and truck being rope-towed has its 4 wheels on the ground, it’s treated the very same as any other roadworthy lorry, meaning that it should be guaranteed and taxed with a valid MOT. In this instance, you’re going to require a trailer.
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 rope, but do not do it. The consequences of having a rope snap while towing another cars and truck variety from the funny to the terrible, so do the best thing and purchase yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be a helpful thing to have in your boot anyway, and automobile aftermarket outlets bring a large range of tow ropes– a durable example rated for 3.5 tonnes and conference British Standards must cover just about any towing scenario.
For how long should my tow rope be?
Lawfully, there’s no minimum length, however sound judgment determines that you leave enough distance between the two automobiles so that the one behind has lots of time to respond to turns and brakes.
There is, though, an optimum allowed length of 4.5 metres, and if you’re utilizing a rope that’s longer than 1.5 metres the law says you need to attach a flapping bit of coloured cloth to the middle so other drivers identify the rope. Due to the fact that while you might believe that a number of metres does not represent an exploitable gap in traffic, experience teaches that numerous motorists do. Particularly in London. And especially on the North Circular.
Do I need a sign of any kind?
Yes you do. When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they typically come with an ‘On Tow’ sign, which you hold on the back of the automobile being towed (clearly). If you do not have one of those, the authorities won’t be really happy.
Does the ignition of the automobile being towed need to be on?
Definitely. 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 automobile being towed going in another at the first corner. Which’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the automobile being towed need to work?
Driving asked the police about this and the response was an unequivocal yes, especially if it’s dark. And even if it’s broad daylight, forget utilizing hand signals instead of indications– 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 an automobile with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission automobile touch with the road when the cars and truck 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’ manual as it will consist of an area that deals with towing, with some producers enforcing a distance and speed limitation for automatic transmission cars. And just as with manual transmission cars and trucks, ensure that the transmission remains in neutral.
How should the automobile 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 “nabbing” the rope. That’ll prevent a really unpleasant jerking action in the cars and truck being pulled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that occasion.
Also, brake lightly in advance to set off brake lights so the towed cars and truck has a lot of notification that braking impends. And likewise, show well beforehand so your partner behind has great deals of notice.
Watch on your temperature level gauge as your engine will be under a greater load than normal, so overheating is a prospective concern. And since there’s lot more going on than during your typical journeys, it’s a good idea to have somebody else in the tow car to keep a more detailed eye on what’s taking place behind.
Prevent any significant manoeuvres, abrupt braking or velocity– remember, if the towed vehicle doesn’t have a running engine, it also will not have actually power assisted steering or brakes. Which could result in 2 dead cars instead of one.
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 hauled (certainly). If the ignition isn’t on, the steering lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow vehicle going in one instructions and the cars and truck 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 vehicle?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission cars and truck 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 prevent a really unpleasant 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?
Even more carefully than the tow automobile– this is arguably the tougher end of the operation. Off, the towed vehicle may not have engine power, which implies power assisted brakes and guiding will require much greater physical effort to run. Remember to ensure the automobile remains in neutral, too.
Keep a watchful eye out for brake lights and signs on the tow car, and be ready to collaborate your steering and braking actions. It’s also a great concept to keep stress in the towrope as much as possible by braking really lightly while being pulled. This will prevent “taking” and will keep the rope from dragging along the roadway, which will shorten its life considerably.
Lastly, if your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to steer the towed vehicle, that’s a no– the law states that driver requires to be fully certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed driver has a problem?
It’s an excellent concept to agree a few simple hand signals so that the towed chauffeur can rapidly interact messages like “decrease”, “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.