Need To Move A Vehicle? Here’s What You Need To Know About Towing

There is a time in every motorist’s life when being able to tow can make a big difference. Whether it’s your own vehicle or a friends, here’s how you can get out of a tight spot…

When Is Towing Appropriate?

It may sound like an obvious question, but there are appropriate and inappropriate times to tow another car or vehicle. Towing is a precarious task and it’s not suitable for just any driver; especially over long distances. You should only resort to towing a vehicle if it’s broken down, is obstructing a road or is in another dangerous location. Otherwise, you’re better off leaving the task to the professionals. So, if your friend is stuck in a ditch or has managed to break down on a busy road, you have sufficient reason to tow them to safety. However, you should be aware that even towed vehicles must be legally road-worthy. If it has four wheels on the ground, it’ll need to be insured, taxed and have a proper MOT. Otherwise, you’re going to need a trailer or a similar vehicle through which to transport it.

What Sort Of Towrope Should You Use And What Length Should It Be?

Towing is an inherently risky business and is by no means ideal, especially for those who aren’t experienced with it. A sure way to put yourself and others at risk is by using any bit of rope you might find. This won’t do, you’ll need something built for purpose, otherwise you risk your material snapping which can, as you’d expect, be exceptionally dangerous. All sorts of retailers offer proper towropes that meet British Standards and can deal with impressive amounts of weight; it’s wise to invest in one and to keep it in your car’s boot at all times. There’s no legal requirement concerning how long a towrope should be (although the maximum length is 4.5 metres). Use your commonsense, leave space between the concerned vehicles and make sure the rope’s clearly visible to other drivers.

What Do I Need To Do Before I start Towing?

Quite a lot. First of all, you’ll need a sign for the car or vehicle that’s being towed making it clear that it’s, well, being towed. These often come with the proper towropes we’ve mentioned above but you can often buy them separately as well. This is a legal requirement. You’ll have to make sure the towed car also has its ignition turned on, otherwise the steering lock will be engaged and it could travel in a different direction to the car that’s towing it; not a pleasant experience. You also need to ensure that the towed vehicle has fully functioning lights.

How Should I Drive Whilst Towing? 

With exceptional amounts of vigilance and care. It’s imperative that you drive at slow speeds and accelerate gently. You don’t want to do anything that’ll suddenly ‘jerk’ the towrope. You’ll also need to brake lightly and in good time so that the person in the other vehicle can respond in plenty of time. Try your best to avoid any sudden manoeuvres and keep an eye on your car’s engine; it’ll be under much more strain than usual and could easily overheat (especially if it’s an older model).

How Should The Towed Vehicle Be Driven? 

Carefully, even more carefully than the vehicle that’s doing the towing. In fact, this is the hardest part of towing in general and should therefore only be conducted by a confident and experienced driver. You’ll need to keep the vehicle in neutral throughout he course of the journey. If the car doesn’t have any engine power, you’re going to find the process physically demanding. You’ll have to concentrate on the brake lights, indicators and steering. It goes without saying, but the person in the towed vehicle needs to be a fully qualified and licensed driver.

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