In the vast majority of driving schools, future drivers are not taught how to tow a car. In the meantime, towing a car is an essential skill that can be useful to any driver.
Sometimes it is impossible or unprofitable to call a tow truck, and the car has to be hooked up to a tug. How to do it correctly, safely and without harm to the car: we will tell you in this article.
Tips for towing
- do not turn on the hazard warning lights – they will interfere with giving turn signals and informing other road users. Instead, turn on your fog lights.
- If possible, keep in touch with another driver using a walkie-talkie or a hands-free mobile phone – this will make it easier and safer to discuss complex sudden maneuvers.
- When starting off, pull the cable first. To do this, you need to smoothly roll forward until the car from behind works as an anchor and the cable is pulled. After that, you can get under way. On most cars, you will have to release the clutch a little less sharply when starting off and give a little more gas.
- Try to crank each gear to a higher RPM than usual, and shift quickly, as the heavier road train loses momentum more quickly and the engine may not have enough RPM to pull it from a lower speed in the next gear.
- While driving, constantly look in the rear-view mirrors and estimate the distance and speed of the vehicle from behind. Since the cable will inevitably sag, it is necessary to accelerate very smoothly in order to prevent jerking when the next tension occurs.
- Calculate the turning radius. In sharp turns, you need to go as wide as possible (along the outer radius) and also get out of them. Remember that if you are towing a car that has not started the engine, its steering speed is lower than yours and the driver may simply not have time to turn it – this is especially true on cars with large and wide wheels.
- When changing lanes, show the maneuver with a turn signal in advance, wait for the maneuver to be towed, and then start your maneuver. This technique requires good alignment with the driver at the rear.
- Brake as smoothly as possible, before braking, make a few short touches of the brake pedal to inform the driver behind the driver about the start of the maneuver. Remember that if you are towing a car that does not have the engine running, its braking distance is always longer than yours due to the inoperative brake booster.
- Brake in advance if you see that the green light will end soon. If the passage of one car on the yellow light is simply dangerous, then two cars is very dangerous.
- Try to avoid stopping on inclines, as starting off afterwards will be even more difficult and stressful for the vehicle.
- Before climbing, evaluate their steepness and the amount of engine thrust available to you – it may be worthwhile to downshift, even if you would not do so under normal conditions.
- Avoid overtaking on single-lane roads, as when towing, this maneuver is extremely difficult if the overtaking and overtaking do not have a large difference in speed.
Tips for towed
- The main thing is to watch the cable, not allowing it to sag. To do this, when the tension is released, it is worth braking carefully, thus preventing strong jerks of the towing vehicle back.
- When braking (for example, when approaching a traffic light) at minimum speed, press the brake a little harder so that the cable remains taut even while standing. This makes it much easier for the tug driver to get under way.
- When stopping, do not roll up close to the tug, so that the cable does not get wrapped around the chassis elements.
- Calculate the force of pressing the brake pedal – when the engine is not running, the brake booster does not work and the braking intensity decreases. In other words, you need to push the pedal harder than usual.
- Calculate the steering speed – when the engine is not running, the hydraulic booster does not work and you have to apply more forces to turn the steering wheel.
- Keep your glasses clean regularly (especially in winter) and look in mirrors.
- When changing lanes, follow the signals of the tug, at its signal, start changing lanes first.
- Whenever possible, signal to other drivers that you are maneuvering with your hands.
Selection of towing rope
In accordance with the Road Traffic Regulations, the length of the cable must be between 4 and 6 meters. It is important that during operation it is not entangled or tied in knots, and it is also worth avoiding cables once torn and re-connected.
The steel cable, although very strong, is poorly suited for towing. Therefore, choose a fabric rope or synthetic rope, preferably with the already existing bright flags. Try on the hook to the eye of your car, assess the reliability of the engagement.