Friday, July 22, 2011

towing a car with a rope

in the days when roads were not so congested and tow trucks were not in vogue, it was a normal practice to use a length of rope to tow stalled vehicles. it had to be a thick, sturdy rope, at least 3cm in circumference but not too long, about 2m. of course, there were some who thought incorrectly that the longer rope, the safer. the rope had to be secured to the front of the towed car and the rear of the towing car.

it was a tricky manoeuvre for both drivers - the one in the towing car and the other in the car being towed. they both had to maintain a slow and steady speed. the one in the towed car had to be particularly alert. the back car had to brake almost in tandem with the towing car. when taking a bend, they had to go slower and a bit wider than normal. the front car should never brake suddenly. the driver of the front car also had to check his mirrors constantly.

the towing car should preferably be bigger than the car being towed, at least of a bigger capacity. there should be some indication that a car was being towed, like leaving the hazard lights of the towed car on. for safety reasons, the car lights should be switched on when towing at night.

in those days, you could secure the rope to the frame of the car. in some cars, there was a special tow strap for the purpose. today's cars still come with these metal tow eyes, at the front and rear of the car chassis.

to get into the towing position, you had to back the second vehicle up to the car that was being towed. while in motion, the rope should be kept taut.

there had been incidents when the rope snapped and others when the rope came loose.

in the past, i also remember seeing some people using a tow bar - a long, flat metal piece - which was attached to the cars in the same way as the tow rope.

traffic laws are different in different countries. i understand that in the united states, the towed car should be unoccupied while it is being towed. this means that it will be not be possible to use the rope method.

i wonder if it is still legal to use a rope to tow a car in singapore. i have not seen anyone using this method for a long time.

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