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The dangers of ornamental wheel spikes on trucks

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2024 | Truck Accidents

The average commercial truck looks relatively intimidating to those in smaller vehicles. They are so tall, wide and long that they dwarf other vehicles in traffic. Sometimes, commercial drivers add little details to their trucks that make them seem that much more intimidating. The cabs or tractors of semi-trucks often feature aftermarket additions used for appearance enhancement or practical purposes. For example, some drivers install spikes on the lug nuts of their tires.

Despite what people sometimes assume, making this effort does not technically violate the law. However, it is a safety risk that could lead to worse losses if the truck causes property damage or injury to others.

What truck wheel spikes do

One of the main functions of truck wheel spikes is to make the vehicle look cooler or more intimidating. Truck drivers enjoy the aesthetic enhancement that comes from having the spikes in place and may install them solely for aesthetic purposes.

Others point to practical benefits from the spikes. Having a secondary cover over the lug nuts on a semi-truck’s tires could prevent incidents where the tires come off by accident. Trucks that operate for hours every day are more likely to have the lug nuts holding the tires in place come loose. Cleaner lug nuts are also easier to remove when replacing or rotating tires. The spikes installed over the top decrease the likelihood of theft as well. Opportunistic thieves looking to steal a tire are less likely to achieve that goal when there is a secondary device in place.

The risks outweigh the benefits

Semi-trucks do not typically see their tires fly off in traffic, nor do they face an inordinate amount of theft-related tire losses. Compared with the risks created by those wheel spikes, the benefits are relatively minimal. Semi-truck wheel spikes can injure cyclists and pedestrians if a truck driver fails to properly monitor their surroundings and gets too close to others in traffic. They could also cause major injury to personal property, including other vehicles in traffic.

While they aren’t necessarily against the law, they are an obvious risk for both injury and property damage. Therefore, the damage caused by tire spikes added for flair or minimal practical protection could bolster claims that an owner-operator or transportation company engaged in unsafe conduct that put the public at unnecessary risk in the event that they cause physical harm.