When Is It Ok To Tow Another Car, And What Do I Need To Know Before Towing?
WHEN IS IT OK TO TOW ANOTHER CAR, 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 simple operation, however it isn’t– if you have actually never ever towed another automobile, you’ll find that it’s actually rather difficult. Here, The Sunday Times Driving addresses some of the more difficult elements of towing.
When is it OK to tow another vehicle?
The most suitable time to tow another car is when it has actually broken down and is either causing a blockage or remains in a harmful location and needs to be hauled to a more secure area. Towing another cars and truck has inherent risks and you really ought to keep that journey to an outright minimum distance.
I’ve purchased an ancient classic car that’s on a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification). 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 car being rope-towed has its four wheels on the ground, it’s dealt with the same as any other roadworthy car, implying that it must be guaranteed and taxed with a legitimate MOT. So in this circumstances, you’re going to require a trailer. Or a bigger 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 bit of rope, but do not do it. The consequences of having a rope breeze while towing another cars and truck range from the funny to the tragic, so do the ideal thing and buy yourself a purpose-built rope.
It’ll be a helpful thing to have in your boot anyway, and automotive aftermarket outlets bring a large range of tow ropes– a sturdy example rated for 3.5 tonnes and meeting British Standards need to cover almost any towing possibility.
The length of time should my tow rope be?
Lawfully, there’s no minimum length, but common sense dictates that you leave enough range between the two vehicles so that the one behind has plenty of time to react to turns and brakes.
There is, though, a maximum allowed 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 connect a flapping bit of coloured cloth to the middle so other motorists spot the rope. Experience teaches that lots of vehicle drivers do since while you might think that a couple of metres does not represent an exploitable gap in traffic. Particularly in London. And especially on the North Circular.
Do I require an indication of any kind?
Yes you do. When you buy a purpose-built tow rope they typically feature an ‘On Tow’ indication, which you hold on the back of the car being pulled (clearly). If you don’t have one of those, the cops will not be really happy.
Does the ignition of the automobile being hauled need to be on?
Definitely. If the ignition isn’t on, the guiding lock will still be engaged, which might have the tow automobile entering one direction and the car being towed going in another at the very first corner. Which’s not going to end well.
Do the lights on the vehicle being pulled need to work?
Driving asked the authorities about this and the response 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 misunderstandings …
Can I tow an automobile with an automatic transmission?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission cars and truck 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. It is necessary that you consult your owners’ handbook as it will consist of a section that attends to towing, with some makers enforcing a distance and speed limit for automatic transmission cars. And just as with manual transmission cars, make sure that the transmission remains in neutral.
How should the cars and truck doing the towing be driven?
Keep your speed as low as safely possible, and pull away as gently as you can, modulating the clutch to prevent “taking” the rope. That’ll prevent a truly undesirable jerking action in the cars and truck being hauled, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that event.
Also, brake lightly in advance to activate brake lights so the towed vehicle has a lot of notification that braking impends. And likewise, suggest well ahead of time so your partner behind has lots of notice.
Watch on your temperature level gauge as your engine will be under a higher load than usual, so overheating is a possible issue. And due to the fact that there’s lot more going on than during your usual journeys, it’s a good idea to have another person in the tow cars and truck to keep a better eye on what’s taking place behind.
Prevent any significant manoeuvres, unexpected braking or acceleration– keep in mind, if the towed automobile doesn’t have a running engine, it likewise will not have power helped steering or brakes. Which could result in 2 dead cars and trucks 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 hauled (obviously). 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 car being pulled 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 misconceptions …
Can I tow a car with an automatic vehicle?
If the driven wheels of an automatic transmission car 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 prevent an actually undesirable jerking action in the automobile being towed, and if your tow rope is going to snap, it’ll be on that celebration.
How should the car being pulled be driven?
A lot more carefully than the tow cars and truck– this is arguably the tougher end of the operation. Off, the towed vehicle may not have engine power, which indicates power assisted brakes and steering will require much greater physical effort to run. Remember to make sure the automobile is in neutral, too.
Keep an eagle eye out for brake lights and indicators on the tow automobile, and be ready to collaborate your steering and braking actions. It’s also an excellent concept to keep tension in the towrope as much as possible by braking really lightly while being pulled. This will avoid “nabbing” and will keep the rope from dragging along the roadway, which will reduce its life significantly.
If your Clarkson-obsessed 11-year-old kid enthusiastically volunteers to steer the towed automobile, that’s a no– the law states that driver requires to be totally certified and licenced, too.
What if the towed motorist has an issue?
It’s an excellent idea to agree a couple of basic hand signals so that the towed chauffeur can quickly communicate messages like “slow down”, “stop” or “you’re driving like a total ****”. It needs to be stated, that last one’s a relatively 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.