Safety Tips for Towing a Car

Breaking down is a real nuisance so it's good to be prepared with knowledge on how to tow a car. It may seem a little daunting at first so read our guide on how to tow a car safely for some helpful advice.

Before towing a car

  • An 'On Tow' sign must be displayed at the rear of the vehicle being towed. And you'll be pleased to know that all Halfords tow ropes and towing poles are supplied with an 'On Tow' sign that you can use.
  • Inspect the tow rope or towing pole for any damage, defects or abrasion before you use it. Do not use a damaged tow rope or towing pole.
  • On the towed car, leave the ignition switch in the 'on' position to disengage the steering lock. Vehicles with power steering and/or power-assisted brakes (most modern vehicles) will require much more strength and effort to operate when being towed if the engine isn't running.

How to tow a car safely

The driver towing must:

  • Drive with extreme care, keeping speed right down to a maximum of 15 mph. This minimises the forces generated and gives the driver being towed more time to react to what is happening.
  • Carefully use the clutch to pull away gently, to prevent any 'snatching' of the rope, which can result in the towed car being jerked forwards suddenly. This is not only uncomfortable for the driver, but is the main reason for tow ropes breaking.
  • Try to avoid any sudden braking. If possible, press very lightly on the brake pedal in advance of actually braking. This illuminates your brake lights and gives plenty of warning to the driver being towed. Remember, towing poles are not designed to act as a brake for the towed vehicle.
  • When towing a car, indicate in plenty of time in advance of any manoeuvre, to forewarn the driver being towed and all other traffic.
  • Avoid any sudden changes of direction or excessive manoeuvres, as the driver being towed will find it hard to steer and brake when the engine in their vehicle is not running.

The driver being towed must:

  • Carefully watch the brake lights and indicators of the vehicle that is towing, for maximum notice of any upcoming moves.
  • Actively steer and brake your vehicle in coordination with the vehicle that is towing.
  • Try to keep some tension in the towrope or towing pole at all times, which will minimise any jolting. This can be achieved by applying light braking pressure whilst being towed. When using a towrope, this will take up any slack and help to extend the rope's life by keeping it out of contact with the road surface.

Car towing kit from Halfords

It's a good idea to keep your tow rope or towing pole in the boot of your car with other breakdown essentials such as jump leads and a petrol can, so you have everything handy for when you need it.

Car Tow Ropes and Towing Poles can be reserved online at and collected from your local store. Or simply buy your tow rope/pole online and have it delivered to your home or place of work.

View all Car Tow Ropes and Towing Poles