Towing the car yourself – this way nothing can happen. Picture: © fotolia.De
As long as your car is running, don't worry about what to do in case of a breakdown? But you should, because if it comes to it, you usually do not have time for lengthy searches! Many people are members of an automobile club or have a protective cover from an insurance company and consider themselves to be fully insured. But not every contract is valid in every case, you should carefully look at the conditions under which you are guaranteed free towing. Otherwise, you are left with two options for moving an unroadworthy car: Pay the towing service out of your own pocket or tow it yourself with another vehicle. But even when towing a vehicle privately, there are some important rules to follow in order to avoid danger and to avoid violating legal requirements or risking the loss of insurance coverage.
May be towed at all?
First of all it has to be clarified whether towing is allowed at all in your case. If the vehicle can still be moved under its own power or if it can be restored to working order on the spot by simple means, this is not permitted. Just because a car is deregistered and is to be transferred, you are not allowed to tow it! If you are on a freeway, you are only allowed to tow to the next exit and you are not allowed to drive onto such a freeway at all. Go to the nearest suitable workshop or, in the case of a total loss, also to the nearest scrap metal company. Which distance is still permitted, was illuminated before court in various cases. In this case, 45 km has already been judged as too far, since towing is always considered to be the removal of an emergency condition.
Check the vehicle before towing
You must ensure that nothing is loose on the car and could possibly fall onto the road during towing. After an accident this can easily be the case! If the broken-down vehicle has an automatic transmission? Inform yourself first whether and how far the car may be towed at all (operating instructions)!), otherwise you risk gearbox damage. Use the towing lugs provided on the car. Where to find them is also written in the owner's manual; sometimes you have to screw in the eyelets stored in the vehicle first as intended and remove a plastic cover for this purpose. You may use a rope or tow bar for towing, which must be clearly marked with a red cloth or something similar. The distance between the two vehicles must not exceed 5 meters. Make sure that the towing vehicle does not exceed the permitted towing capacity.
Who is allowed to drive?
Only someone with a valid driver's license may get behind the wheel of the towing vehicle, while a driver's license is not necessarily required for driving the broken-down vehicle. However, this person must be suitable for this. It is not necessary to be of age, but the person must have been instructed in the operation of the vehicle and be able to assess dangerous situations. An elevated alcohol level naturally argues against suitability ..
Carry out the towing operation in a well-considered manner
During the towing process a maximum speed of 50 km/h is allowed. Make sure that no gear is engaged in the broken-down car (in the case of automatic transmission, the lever is in the "N" position) and that the hazard warning lights are switched on on both vehicles during the towing process. The ignition key must of course remain inserted in the broken down car so that the steering wheel lock cannot engage. If the engine is still working, it is advisable to keep it running in order to use brake boost and steering assistance. If the engine does not work, you should be aware of the changed steering and braking behavior. Especially when towing with a rope, it is very dangerous for the broken down car to hit the towing vehicle, which is why a pole should always be preferred. Before starting, be sure to agree on communication signals (hand signals, lights, horn) in order to be able to communicate if necessary, and it is better not to rely on your cell phone: the next dead zone is sure to arrive!
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