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How to Use a Tow Strap

Knowing how to use a tow strap is really a skill that every driver ought to possess. If you have a car that needs to be towed, it is great to save the expense of a tow truck driver and do it yourself. Actually, you can get a tow strap for about the cost of one single tow from an auto parts store and have it with you for whenever the need arises to take your vehicle in for a flat rate car repair.

A tow strap is a thick woven strap usually made of nylon with a large metal hook on one end of it. It is made of very strong material that can easily pull the weight of a vehicle without a problem. To use a tow strap, you need a driver for the car being towed as well as the one driving the vehicle doing the towing. Getting this done is fairly simple but it takes both drivers working together to do it right.

Towing a Car

When you are attaching a tow strap, you need to find a hole in the frame of each vehicle and insert the strap there. Alternately, some people attach the strap on the towing hitch receiver of the truck doing the towing, but if you choose this option you must be sure that it is securely held into place. Get the lead vehicle going until the strap is fairly taut and then head on your route.

Use flasher lights on both vehicles to let everyone else on the road know what’s going on and to encourage them to steer clear. In most cases you’ll want to maintain a slow, steady rate of speed. Keep the tow strap taut between the cars and do not start or stop suddenly. If you are steering the car being towed, know that you will not have power brakes or steering and thus you’ll have a tougher job as a result. Anticipate the route that you are going to take and get ready to stop as needed, but don’t ride the brakes and pull on the lead car or you could end up jerking the strap and potentially pulling it loose.

Safe Driving while Towing

The lead car needs to be aware that the towed car requires extra time to stop and to complete turns. Use extra caution out on the road, but make sure to keep your speed steady, so when you slow down for turns and through turns, do it smoothly. Sudden stopping will just cause you to get rear ended by the towed vehicle. In some ways the lead driver has the tougher job because he or she has to remember that the other car is disabled and needs extra time to come to a stop and to make turns and complete actions such as that.

On the other hand, the driver of the dead car also has it tough being in the prone position and at the mercy of the truck or car doing the towing. Some feel that the more skilled driver should actually be the one in the dead car, because a nervous driver back there will just ride their brakes and make it impossible for the lead driver to get anywhere. Either way, both drivers need to understand their roles in order for the tow to work. It is actually better for the driver of the towed car not to brake at all than to ride their brakes, though ideally they do neither of these two things. Use caution and teamwork to get this job done and learn how to use a tow strap.


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