A lot of vehicles have the capability to tow another. If it means helping someone out of a sticky situation you might not need the services of a tow company; but before you make that decision you should first know the risks.
Even tow trucks have their risks. They might look like they transport broken down vehicles effortlessly, and they do, but that doesn’t mean that they’re problem free. So what does that say about towing for yourself? Sometimes it’s just better to call in the professionals and let them take the risk instead.
Is the vehicle up for the job?
Never assume this, check the vehicle’s manual to determine the load capability.
Is the right equipment available?
The vehicle being towed needs to be secured safely and correctly. If you don’t have the correct equipment to tow the vehicle, don’t do it.
Also consider what emergency equipment might be helpful should the need arise: Hand tools, spare tires, flashlight, non-perishable food, blankets for winter, first aid kit and a fluorescent triangle.
Towing presents a number of risks
Instability from blown tires
Blown tires should be handled quickly before loading onto a flat bed. Tires that are not inflated correctly can cause instability so check each pressure to ensure they safe.
Risk to other road users and vice-versa
All road users and pedestrians need to be able to see your tow vehicle clearly, be especially aware of dark and bad weather conditions. Keep headlights on wherever visibility is reduced.
Reduce the chance of swaying from high winds and turns etc.. by reducing speed and observing road signs carefully. The dangers of swaying should not be overestimated.
Sharp turns, dips and climbs
Any turn, steep hill or slope should be driven more cautiously than normal. Brake early and slowly when approaching.
Get in some practice!
If you’re going to tow anything it’s always best to have some practice behind you.
If you are not sure whether to tow another vehicle or call a tow truck company, it’s best not to take the risk. Towing is dangerous and should be attempted only by experienced professionals.