Need to Get Your Car Towed: 5 Tips for Preparing Your Vehicle for the Process

Starting off is one of the most difficult moments when car towing. The driver of the first car should start moving smoothly so that there is no jerk at the start. If the car has a manual transmission, at the moment when the cable is taut, you need to slightly depress the clutch pedal. This will soften the jerk. Then you need to add gas to prevent the cable from sagging immediately after starting the movement.

Role Of Tow Rope in Car Towing

It is necessary to carry a tow rope in the car. Otherwise, in the event of a breakdown, it will need to be tinkered with ropes and other things that end up in the trunk.

Then the so-called warning devices must be attached to the cable. They are described in paragraph 9 of the main provisions of the Rules (“Basic provisions for the admission of vehicles to operation and the duties of officials to ensure road safety”). These are flags or shields measuring 200×200 mm with diagonally applied red and white stripes 50 mm wide. 

At least two such flags must be installed on the cable. If they are not there, and a coupler of two cars got into an accident – for example, the driver of a car driving in an adjacent lane began to rebuild and hit the tow rope – then the tug driver is found guilty. He violated clause 20.3 of the Rules.

For the absence of warning devices, a warning or a fine of 500 rubles is provided. The main question is where to get these same plates – ordinary red rags will not work, since they do not have a reflective effect. Many cable manufacturers simply do not make flag-plates; this product is also rare in auto parts stores, so you have to search on the Internet.

Car towing your vehicle is never fun, but you can make things easier on yourself by doing some preparation beforehand. Here are six tips for preparing your vehicle before getting towed.

Tip 1: Gear Shifting

Most important thing is gear shifting. Manipulate the manual gearbox lever quickly, and the pedals smoothly, especially when the clutch discs close. Otherwise, the cable jerks are inevitable, and there it is not far from the break.

It should be remembered that the driver from behind sees the road worse than the driver of the first car, and, moreover, has very limited room for maneuver. Therefore, in the hitch, you need to move carefully, avoiding braking and stopping as much as possible. But if a stop is necessary, blink the emergency light before braking. 

This will make it clear to the second driver that you are going to stop. When driving through bends, if possible, lay a large turning radius, because the towed vehicle passes it along a noticeably smaller radius.

It is important to remember that inaccurate car towing can lead to an accident and possibly fatalities, so you should not approach this process lightly. If you have no experience with car towing, then you should not start the practice on busy city streets. 

Better to entrust this to a more experienced driver, and when you get the chance, practice car towing somewhere outside the city limits. And yet I wish you never get into a situation where our advice could be useful to you.

Tip 2: Traffic Signs & Regulations

A good and prudent driver in a car, in addition to the obligatory first aid kit, fire extinguisher, spare wheel and warning triangle, will also have a tow rope. This inventory becomes especially relevant in winter, when road accidents happen much more often. However, car towing is not always possible and even prohibited by traffic regulations in such cases:

  1. If the actual weight of the towed vehicle, which has a faulty braking system (or none at all), exceeds half of the actual weight of the towing vehicle;
  2. In the case of using a flexible clutch during icy conditions or on a slippery road (in this case, either a rigid clutch must be used, or at least partially immerse the towed vehicle on a platform or on a special supporting device
  3. During snowfall and lack of visibility through the windshield
  4. If the length of all coupled vehicles exceeds 22 m (for route transport – 30 m]
  5. Motorcycles without an attached side trailer, as well as towing bicycles and mopeds, or motorcycles without a side trailer
  6. Towing several vehicles at a time or towing by a vehicle with a trailer
  7. A vehicle that has problems or malfunctions with the steering gear. Such a vehicle can be towed by partially submerging it on a platform or on a special support device
  8. Towing trailers of any type by buses

Tip 3: Towing Cable

Also, the rules of the road set clear requirements for the towing cable: the distance between two vehicles with a rigid clutch should not exceed 4 m, and with a flexible clutch, the distance should be in the range from 4 to 6 m. 

Such requirements for the length of the car towing clutch are absolutely justified. Too long a grip (both flexible and rigid) makes cornering difficult, and a towed vehicle can pull off the track, undercutting the cornering path. Also, if the flex cable is too short, the risk of collision between the towed vehicle and the towing vehicle increases.

In addition, according to the SDA, each meter of flexible adhesion should be marked with signal flags or shields measuring 20×20 cm. At the same time, alternating red and white stripes of retroreflective material with a height of 5 cm should be applied diagonally on these flags or shields.

Tip 4: Length of Car Towing Rope

When choosing a tow rope, it is better to give preference to a rope made of nylon, as this material is stronger and most importantly elastic. Moreover, it does not take up much space in the car trunk. Carabiners (shackle and hook) must be forged steel.

 It is possible to distinguish a forged steel hook from a cast made of light alloy by weight – the first one weighs about half a kilogram, and from a light alloy – 100-150 g. Also, the hook must have a spring-loaded pawl so that it does not jump out of the mount when the cable is pulled. Burrs and rough marks are a bad sign. 

When choosing a tow rope, it is better to give preference to the more expensive option and a store with a good reputation, because if the hook breaks during the movement, the elastic cable can “shoot” the remains of the hook at the windshield of the towed vehicle or at the rear window of the towed vehicle. 

Tip 5: Check Permissible Load Before Car Towing

The cable packaging must indicate the maximum permissible load. For towing a small car, it is enough for the cable to withstand a load of 1500 kg, since it is better to break the cable than to tear off the bumper. When choosing a tow rope, you should also take into account the diameter of the loop for attaching the cable to your car and make sure that the hook of the carabiner will fit into this hole.

In the event of a malfunction (or complete absence) of the braking system, car towing must be carried out exclusively using a rigid clutch (or with partial loading on the platform). Is it worth mentioning that regardless of the type of clutch (rigid or flexible), the driver must be behind the wheel of the vehicle in tow (except in those rare cases when the design of the rigid clutch allows the vehicle in tow to accurately follow the trajectory of the vehicle that is towing, regardless on the size and angle of turns)

Tip 6: Recommended Speed During Towing – No More Than 50 Km / H (And on Slush – 30 Km / H)

Before driving, both vehicles should turn on the hazard warning lights, and the presenter should additionally turn on the dipped beam headlights. It should be noted that it will be more difficult to brake if the engine of the towed vehicle is in a muffled state. 

To ease the force of jerking when accelerating, the cable should be secured at a slight angle. In addition, you should try to keep the cable taut. Especially the driver of the towed vehicle needs to watch out for this – he must timely (in advance) slow down, for example, on a descent, before turning or stopping. 

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