Safety: Towing a Stuck

Must read before joining any trip, general information about the club, grading system, , organization, rules, etc…
Post Reply
User avatar
PR
Posts: 278
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 9:00 am

Safety: Towing a Stuck

Post by PR » Wed Jun 24, 2009 11:47 pm

An article I wrote some time ago; maybe useful for some discusssion.

Towing a Stuck Vehicle - A Beginner's Introduction

by PR, for AD4x4

Image

Pulling a stuck vehicle out using a strap or rope happens quite often when offroading so it's imperative to have a good general understanding of the process with safety and efficiency in mind.

There are several kinds of stucks, each with their own characteristics, but in general there is a stuck car - be it sand, mud, rocks, a ditch - and an unstuck vehicle providing the tug. I assume there are no mechanical problems.

Firstly, let's look at etiquette… Could you please pass the salt? Elbows in! If you have to belch, disguise it as choking violently on a chicken bone… However, during a recovery procedure, the driver of the stuck vehicle is in charge, and he or she may belch at will.

S/he will listen to advice, especially from those more experienced, but the stuck driver alone will be responsible for the decision as to how and when the pull will take place. S/he oversees the placing of the towing vehicle, the attachment of the rope, and gives instructions. Everybody else follows these instructions, even if shaking their heads. Of course the rescuer may disagree enough to say: "Well, you can stay there then!"

Image

All passengers out and standing out of reach of the rope, should it or a tow point fail and fly off at incredible force - not kidding on this - sufficient to pass through a car window and the cranium of the person inside. There have been fatalities from this happening even with experienced drivers, so don't take any chances.

DAMAGE FROM FLYING SHACKLE:
Image

Standing behind a vehicle is also not safe because if the rope fails it will usually head towards one of the cars.

OK, so where to attach the rope? Your vehicle must have easily accessible tow points. Usually these come with a 4x4 vehicle from the factory, and you simply need to know where they are. They can be in the form of a hook, a ring or a towing hitch. Preferably you will have four, two on the front and two on the back. The minimum is of course one up front and one at the rear.

Image

Any after-market additions especially on bumpers (ie, not attached directly to the frame) should be viewed with suspicion, unless you had them installed properly yourself. I personally have had both front hooks fly off because the bolts underneath had corroded - so if you've purchased a second-hand vehicle replace the bolts before that happens.

Attach the rope or strap to the tow point securely. If the tow point is a hook, then do not use an unnecessary metal shackle; but if it is a ring, then a rated D-Ring shackle is required. Do not skimp on these as they are the potentially deadly projectiles we already mentioned.

The best kind of rope is not a strap. Straps are strong and butch, true, but they do not stretch. The ideal tugging device is a flexible stranded rope or a specialized KERR strap (Kinetic Energy Recovery Rope). The idea is that when the tugging vehicle pulls back, if there is no stretch in the rope, the full force hits the strap, shackle, and tow point with a jarring bang. With a flexible rope, the energy is transferred along the length of the rope resulting in a safer, more pleasant recovery.

If a non-stretching strap is used, the technique should be to give several gentle tugs, with the rescuing car driving back and forth several times. Sometimes this is very difficult to do on sand, as the rescuer will also get stuck.

A metal cable should never be used - those are for winches only. Also, never join two ropes with a metal shackle, but pass them through each other's loop and insert a rolled newspaper or car mat, or even a packet of Baby Wipes to stop them from binding.

PACKET OF BABY WIPES BETWEEN TWO LINKED ROPES - DON'T USE METAL SHACKLE!
Image

A generalized procedure is as follows: The stuck driver walks around the vehicle determining the best recovery angle. S/he consults with the driver of the rescuing car, and any other interested bystanders, shoppers, gawkers and fruit sellers, and decides on where the rescuing vehicle should be placed and how the pull should be done. This information is for the two drivers, and they must make sure they understand each other.

The rescuing vehicle gets into position, preferably facing away from the stuck vehicle, and the rope is securely attached. I would suggest you spend three kilojoules of energy and do it yourself to make sure it's done right. Thank the friendly, helpful citizen who ran up and did it for you just the same.

Image

All people clear! Verify that all people are in fact standing far enough away - it is one of the finest characteristics of the human race that there will always be at least one individual who thinks he (and, yes, it is usually a he!) can dodge bullets. Children can be forgiven for not realizing the danger, but please try to aim the flying shackle at this adult person so that he may not be allowed to procreate further.

The two drivers get in their cars, the windows are lowered so you can hear if people shout STOP! STOP! The stuck driver signals s/he is ready with a honk, the rescuer acknowledges with a honk, and the pull starts. When the stuck driver needs to stop the pull, s/he honks, and the rescuer acknowledges with a return honk, and stops and stays stopped.

Do not attempt to get out of your vehicle unless the acknowledging honk has been sounded, just in case s/he decides to give you a second, harder pull just as you are stepping out.

A LITTLE PATIENCE GOES A LONG WAY IN KEEPING EVERYONE SAFE
Image

All said and done, it's not a complicated procedure, and you will find it gets repeated a lot on trips involving sand. Your recovery rope or strap will get heavy use, and therefore you should purchase the very best there is. I would suggest a minimum 10 metres of length, and a 28mm diameter three-stranded mooring rope seems to fit the bill nicely.

Carry two so they can be combined to double the length if necessary, and if one breaks you of course have a spare handy. Replace when it becomes frayed or loses its flexibility, and try and keep it out of the sand and sunlight as much as possible.

Despite all my disclaimers and threats of debilitating injuries, it is a very simple and common procedure - just make sure you do it right.

Image



This article continues with the post Towing a Sidestuck - http://www.ad4x4.com/club/viewtopic.php ... 39#p116239
Last edited by PR on Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Barkil
Advanced
Advanced
Posts: 456
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:00 am
Location: Abu Dhabi

Re: Safety: Towing a Stuck

Post by Barkil » Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:47 am

Very correct PR

But concerning this
PR wrote:"during a recovery procedure, the driver of the stuck vehicle is in charge," :
usualy in AD4x4 trips the leaders designate a recovery person who will be in charge of that. Nevertheless in many situation we see that 100 suggestions jump up all over the place.
Thus is think the last approval should be made by the stuck driver with his rescuer (my 2 cents)

P.S: Someone might jump into the stuck car, before the recovery, trying to do a better job then it's owner.... well, it works sometimes. But i think this is annoying to most of offroaders, they may not complain directly but if they didn't ask please dont do it.
Forgive and forget

TINTIN
Posts: 1392
Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:00 am
Location: Abu Dhabi
Location: Work.....as allways
Contact:

Re: Safety: Towing a Stuck

Post by TINTIN » Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:32 am

Nice post PR. I agree that the last decision shoudl be made by the owner f the vehicle as it is there expense which is at risk if any problems occur. This way everybody has covered their backs and nobody can take false responsiblity. :ad4x4:
050 880 2485
1998 ZJ 5.2L V8 (The Bulldog)
with stuff

And more to come.

{ZJ's ROOL ALL THE REST DROOL}

User avatar
PR
Posts: 278
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 9:00 am

Re: Safety: Towing a Stuck

Post by PR » Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:57 am

Barkil wrote: usualy in AD4x4 trips the leaders designate a recovery person who will be in charge of that.
That's a good idea, actually - because I suppose this designated person is a senior, experienced off-roader.

I think the fair way to look at it is the designated recovery person is like a consultant. He or she offers his or her expert advice, but the responsibility of accepting that advice remains with the stuck person.

So if I'm stuck, and I'm told the recovery should happen like this and that; it is my final decision whether to follow the advice or not. When I say "OK, let's do it" I also accept responsibility.

The problem is when a stuck newbie does not know the proper way to recover, especially if another newbie is providing the pull. Their best bet is to follow the advice of someone who has the experience.

But please let me not scare anyone reading: if done properly, there is nothing to worry about. Just use proper equipment and agree on how the recovery will happen before. That's why it's good to talk about these things, especially for newbies.

User avatar
Xtreme
Advanced
Advanced
Posts: 360
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:00 am
Location: Abu Dhabi
Location: Abu Dhabi
Contact:

Re: Safety: Towing a Stuck

Post by Xtreme » Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:25 am

Thanks PR for this nice useful post.
I agree with you all, that safety comes first specially as we learned with AD4x4, and that's why it's always an advantage to get the experience of the Recovery Marshal or Senior, as he should have done it a lot of times and knows the best angle to get the stuck car out.
Of course the stuck car is its drivers responsibility in case anything happens that can cause a risk, but I guess we all know this clearly before joining the trips, so I guess the recovery process should be discussed with the stuck car driver, just to avoid any blaming afterward.
:cheers1:
You will never never Know, If You never never Go.
Xtreme (aka Rober Raouf)
Black Mitsubishi Pajero LWB 2005 3.0L with 2" Old Man Emu
Mob.: +971 50 811 9940

User avatar
Jo
Advanced
Advanced
Posts: 6333
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2006 10:00 am
Location: Abu Dhabi
Location: Children and fools speak the truth

Re: Safety: Towing a Stuck

Post by Jo » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:11 pm

I like that Paolo, thanks for sharing.

These essence is allways the same but there are many ways to tell the story....

And for those who know me: Yes I read the entire block....and yes, only because there was a picture of a Landrover.....and before Bulldozer comments: also a Yes for this is the prefered position of a LR blablabla... stuck :mrgreen:

:hat:
The lunatics have taken over the asylum

User avatar
Bulldozer
Board Member
Board Member
Posts: 6873
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 9:00 am
Location: Ajman

Re: Safety: Towing a Stuck

Post by Bulldozer » Sun Jul 19, 2009 6:26 pm

Jo wrote:I like that Paolo, thanks for sharing.

These essence is allways the same but there are many ways to tell the story....

And for those who know me: Yes I read the entire block....and yes, only because there was a picture of a Landrover.....and before Bulldozer comments: also a Yes for this is the prefered position of a LR blablabla... stuck :mrgreen:

:hat:
Very true JO, Barkil the incharge for recovery as standing outside has a better view for both cars & can make better evaluation if recovery wasnt successful from the 1st time or any car position becomes critical, he always confirm with both B4 pulling started, always there two ways of doin it, one can take less time 2nd will take the whole day
Life is too Short, nothing to argue about, specially with closed minded

User avatar
Nasser
Advanced
Advanced
Posts: 742
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:00 am
Location: Abu Dhabi
Location: Abu Dhabi

Re: Safety: Towing a Stuck

Post by Nasser » Sun Jul 19, 2009 8:02 pm

As usual
Good post PR


P.S. The Disco is stuck deep :mrgreen:
Jeep Wrangler Sport 2014 in Dune Shade ~~~~For Sale~~~~
Nasser Al Karby - 0506668026

Channes
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:58 pm
Location: Dubai
Location: Dubai, Mirdif Shorooq

Re: Safety: Towing a Stuck

Post by Channes » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:12 pm

Hi PR,
Thank you for the good information and advice.

All taken in.

Cheers
Christian

User avatar
Scorpio84
Intermediate
Intermediate
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:29 pm
Location: Abu Dhabi

Re: Safety: Towing a Stuck

Post by Scorpio84 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:52 am

Very helpful information and advice.

Thanks for the great post.

Ghassan

User avatar
Fahli
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:30 am
Location: Abu Dhabi
Location: Abu Dhabi

Re: Safety: Towing a Stuck

Post by Fahli » Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:18 pm

Thanks a lot for the advise...

Step by step I understand and learn more and more ;)

Post Reply