7 Tips For Excellent Towing Practice
The Institute of Advanced Motoring (IAM) knows a thing or two about driving.
Every week they grace us with shimmering pearls of incandescent wisdom that serve to make life that little bit easier. No stone goes unturned: take any aspect of the driving experience and the IAM will raise their hands and say - “We've got this.”
Now, in my day these nuggets of truth would come from the benevolent and formidable mind of IAM head of training Simon Elstow. I don't know when or how it happened, but it seems that in the past few months Simon's hung up his Hat of Knowledge and passed his glowing torch to one Peter Rodger.
Peter might be Britain's top advanced driver, but there's an almighty Simon shaped hole in our hearts that won't go away in a hurry. I'm sure though, that given the chance, Peter would say to us what he undoubtedly said to Simon upon undertaking his mantle: “I will not let you down.”
This week Peter's talking about towing. Everybody takes to towing now and then, and it's very easy to get complacent. Peter would have us know that towing is no joke.
7 Tips For Excellent Towing Practice:
1. Watch the weight of the towed vehicle – this should not exceed 85 per cent of the car’s kerb weight. Excess weight will cause instability.
2. Check the unit you are towing is secure before pulling away, and check again after a short distance. Look for anything loose, disconnected, missing or broken.
3. Check that your extra rear lights are all connected and fully functional. Get somebody to help while you test the brakes and indicators. As well as additional lights, you will also need an illuminated number plate at the rear of the unit.
4. Check the pressure of all tyres before you set off, bearing in mind those of the towed unit as well as your own vehicle.
5. Stopping distances and the space between you and other vehicles should be increased appropriately, allowing for the extra weight you are carrying. You should also allocate more time to overtaking, positioning yourself for turns, parking, pulling into traffic streams, changing lanes and joining and leaving motorways.
6. Use your mirrors frequently - the fact you have lost the use of your rear view mirror makes extended door mirrors very useful. Extended towing mirrors are not a legal requirement, but you will have a better feel for overtaking and reversing.
7. Be aware that reduced speed limits usually apply when towing vehicles, and remember to extend courtesy to vehicles following you by allowing them to pass.
Says Peter: “Whether you’re towing a speedboat, a horsebox, a caravan or another car, there are certain rules which must be applied.
“It is important to recognise the challenges which come with having to control not just one vehicle, but two.”
Peter? I look forward to a long and illustrious series of solid motoring advice.
Simon? We'll miss you.