At some point during your motoring life, you may come across a time in which you find that you need to tow something. Whether you’re off on holiday and are taking a caravan with you, or you’re moving house and have filled up a trailer with your possessions it’s essential to know the rules of the road when it comes to towing as well as how to tow safely.
Towing a Broken Down Vehicle
If you ever get a call from a friend asking for assistance, or you encounter a damsel in distress at the side of the road, you can use your own vehicle to help people out.
For example, if someone has broken down in the middle of the road you can tow them to the nearest layby or hard shoulder. When towing another vehicle it’s important to remember to dramatically reduce your speed and ensure that other road users are aware of the fact that the vehicle behind you is on tow. Always make sure that the other car is secured properly to yours, and never exceed speeds of 15mph.
One thing to remember when it comes to towing cars, is that you shouldn’t tow them for long distances. This can not only pose a risk to you as the driver, but it can also be risky for other road users. Once you’ve towed a vehicle to a safe place, wait for breakdown assistance to arrive.
Towing a Trailer
If you find that you tow heavy objects on a regular basis, then it’s a good idea to research vehicles that have self-leveling suspension. This allows the height of the rear axle to adapt according to the load upon it, which prevents the back of the car from dropping.
When it comes to towing a trailer, you will need an EU-approved tow bar. Although these aren’t too difficult to fit, it’s often better to get them fitted by a professional for peace of mind. Once your trailer is securely attached then you can move off slowly. Always remember that towing a trailer will increase both the overall length and the weight of your vehicle.
While driving with a trailer attached, reduce your speed and give yourself plenty of time at junctions and when negotiating roundabouts. A trailer won’t follow the course of your car exactly, so you will need to swing your car out slightly further than normal when driving around bends. Avoid potholes whenever possible and take extra care on uneven surfaces. Avoid sudden braking and steering movements, as this can cause the car and trailer to jack-knife. Brake carefully at all times.
Towing a Caravan
The most important aspect to remember when towing a caravan is that the caravan is attached to your vehicle securely. When driving with a caravan in tow, stick to a reduced speed, and keep to the inside land whenever driving on motorways or duel carriageways.
When it comes to maneuvering your vehicle, be sure to allow yourself plenty of time and space. If there is a sudden change to adverse weather conditions then pull over to a safe place as soon as possible.
During periods of high wind and heavy rain, towing a caravan can be very challenging. In such conditions always avoid sudden braking wherever possible and keep the distance between you and the car in front.
When it comes to towing anything with your vehicle, then it’s important to always try and remember the level of risk involved, and to modify your driving in such a way that it will keep both you and other road users safe.