Driving next to an 18-wheeler with spikes can be scary, as the spikes look intimidating and potentially dangerous. However, these spikes aren’t necessarily hazardous to people, though they can scratch vehicles.
Typically, wheel spikes are made of aluminum alloy, a metal used for its lightweight and malleable properties. If a truck driver veers into someone’s lane, the spikes can cause scratches in a vehicle’s paint but likely won’t puncture the side of the car.
Why Do Trucks Have Spikes on Their Front Wheels?
Truckers add spikes to their wheels for many reasons. The most common reasons are:
- Protection – Most spikes cover the lug nuts on a wheel. They protect the lug nuts from weather damage and normal wear and tear. The design of the spikes also keeps away moisture while the wheel turns.
- Warning – It’s hard not to notice truck spikes. Their visibility is intentional. They act as a warning sign for other motorists to keep their distance from the commercial truck.
- Decoration – Some truck drivers like spikes because they’re appealing. They might choose to add spikes for aesthetic purposes.
What Are the Dangers of Truck Tire Spikes?
Although it might be frightening, the spikes you see on semi-trucks aren’t particularly dangerous. If you get too close, your car can suffer some scratches. The cheap plastic or aluminum alloy material used to make them means the spike will likely crumple or snap off before causing significant damage to your vehicle.
That said, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists don’t have the protection of a vehicle frame. They are at a greater risk of injury if their bodies come in contact with spikes.
Do 18-Wheeler Spiked Lug Nuts Affect Liability Claims?
Not necessarily. If a truck driver is negligent and causes an accident, they can still be liable for someone else’s injuries, death, or property damage. Installing semi-truck lug nut spikes as an extra precaution or warning for other motorists isn’t helpful for the trucker in a liability claim if they are at fault for the crash.
Are Semi-truck Lug Nut Spikes Legal?
Most states allow spikes on commercial truck tires without restrictions. Some states regulate the length of the spikes truckers can install.
In Hawaii, a recently passed law explicitly states that ornamentations – including lug nut covers extending four inches or more from the wheel’s rim that might cause property damage or injury – are dangerous and subject to regulations.
Washington and other states prohibit using hub caps, wheel discs, or wheel nuts extending beyond the vehicle’s body when viewed directly above.
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A native North Carolinian and a fourth-generation lawyer, Ralph W. Meekins literally had the desire to help those who are not able to help themselves as well as to be a practical life adviser to people in his blood.