Why do semis have spikes on their tires? This common question may have crossed your mind while driving down the highway.
The sight of a semi-truck rumbling down the highway is common, but have you ever stopped to take a closer look at its tires?
You may have noticed that many semis have wheel spikes protruding from their tires, and you may be wondering why.
Aren’t they dangerous? Seeing these spikes getting closer to you can be intimidating, raising concerns about their safety. Before we get much deeper into that, let’s first answer the following,
Why Do Semis Have Spikes On Their Tires?
1. To protect the lug nut
One reason semis have spikes on their tires is to protect the lug nut. The lug nut is a crucial component that holds the tire in place.
In harsh weather conditions, such as snow or ice, the lug nut is vulnerable to corrosion or damage from the elements.
The spikes on the tire also help protect the lug nut from being damaged by road debris. The lug nuts may become loose without proper protection, which puts the wheel structure at risk.
2. For aesthetics
Although safety is the primary reason semis have spikes on their tires, aesthetics is another factor to consider.
The spikes give the truck a more rugged and aggressive appearance, making it appears more formidable on the road.
It also gives the impression that the truck can handle even the harshest weather conditions and road terrain.
Additionally, the wheel spikes can be customized with different colors or designs, allowing truck drivers to express their individuality.
3. To scare you!
The wheel spikes can also be a safety feature that catches the attention of other drivers and deters them from staying too close to the track.
Remember that most truck accidents occur when other vehicles drive too closely to the truck with little space between the two vehicles.
The aggressive sight of the spikes on the tires makes other drivers aware of the truck’s presence and encourages them to keep a safe distance.
Now that you know one of the main reasons why tractor-trailers have spikes is for safety purposes, let’s check out other tips for sharing the road with semis.
Safely Sharing The Roads With Semi Trucks
As more and more vehicles take to the road, the importance of safely sharing the road has become more critical than ever before.
Semi-trucks are common on highways and roads, so it’s crucial to understand how to share the road with these massive vehicles safely.
Sharing the road with semi-trucks requires different skills and awareness than driving around other passenger vehicles.
Understanding how to safely share the road with semi-trucks can make highways and roads safer for everyone.
Defense driving is a crucial component of road safety. Be aware of your surroundings on the roads, anticipate other drivers’ actions, and take proactive steps to avoid accidents.
Defensive driving becomes even more critical when sharing the road with semi-trucks, as these massive vehicles can be more challenging to maneuver and stop than passenger vehicles.
By driving defensively around semi-trucks, you can reduce the risk of accidents and create a safer driving environment for everyone.
Use your turn signals
When on the same road as these 18-wheelers, it’s important to give them proper notice when you plan to change lanes or turn.
Turn signals help alert the truck driver to your intentions, giving them time to react and adjust their driving accordingly.
It is especially important for semi-trucks, which have larger blind spots and may not have a clear view of other vehicles on the road.
When driving alongside large trucks, it’s crucial to know how to overtake them safely.
When you need to pass a semi-truck, it’s important to plan and ensure you have plenty of space to do so safely.
This means ensuring no oncoming traffic, having good visibility, and maintaining a safe distance from the semi-truck. You are taught all these things in driving school, but do you practice them anymore?
When overtaking the semi-truck, you should accelerate to a safe speed until you have completely overtaken it and there is safe space, then signal your turn to the original lane.
Maintain a safe distance
Due to their size and weight, semi-trucks require more space to maneuver and come to a complete stop. Additionally, they have large blind spots, making it harder for the driver to see other vehicles on the road.
You should maintain sufficient distance based on your vehicle’s length and speed.
When driving at speeds below 40 mph, it’s advised to allow for at least one second of distance per 10 feet of vehicle length.
Meaning maintaining a four-second gap between your vehicle and the one ahead of you for a standard semi. For speeds exceeding 40 mph, you should increase the gap by an additional second.
This distance gives you enough time to react to sudden movements by the semi-truck, such as sudden lane changes or hard braking.
Avoid blind spots
Blind spots are the areas around the semi-truck where the driver has limited visibility. It’s important to understand where the blind spots are located and avoid lingering in these areas. Some of the blind spot areas of a truck include;
The front of the cab, 20 feet in front of it, and a section 30 feet behind the semi. It also includes the space below and behind the driver’s window and diagonally along each side of the truck.
When driving around a semi-truck, it is important always to maintain a safe distance and position yourself where the driver can easily see you.
Wear your seatbelt
Wearing seatbelts is a fundamental safety practice for any driving situation. In the case of an accident involving a semi-truck, the force of the impact can be substantial.
Wearing a seatbelt can significantly reduce the risk of injury and save your life in a collision.
It’s, therefore, essential to ensure that we and all passengers in our vehicle wear seatbelts while driving, even if the trip is short.
Distractions such as using mobile phones, eating, and adjusting the radio can significantly impact your ability to focus on the road.
When driving near semi-trucks, you must be alert and aware of the truck’s movements, and distractions can make this more challenging.
It’s important to keep our focus on the road, avoid multitasking, and never use our mobile phones while driving.
If we need to eat or drink, it’s best to pull over to a safe location rather than trying to do so while driving.
Are Wheel Spikes Dangerous?
While it’s true that wheel spikes on semi-trucks are not designed to be physically dangerous to other drivers, there are still concerns about their potential impact on road safety.
It’s important to note that just because they may not be immediately hazardous doesn’t mean they can’t pose a threat to other vehicles on the road.
Even if they are made of lightweight materials like aluminum alloy or plastic, they can still cause scratches or other forms of cosmetic damage to cars. This can be costly for drivers and can lead to disputes over liability.
Another issue is the potential for wheel spikes to cause distractions or panic among other drivers on the road.
If a driver is not familiar with these types of tire accessories, they may be taken aback by their appearance and not realize that they are not dangerous. And this could cause them to swerve or brake suddenly, leading to accidents or near-misses.
Are Wheel Spikes On Semis Illegal?
No wheel spikes are not illegal as they are not intended to cause any harm and are made of weak material.
Additionally, the spikes are usually 5 inches long and don’t extend beyond the bumper’s rock slider, fender, or running guard.
However, it’s illegal to have any accessory sticking out of your vehicle that is likely to hurt or cause damage to others.
Why do semis have spikes on their tires? It’s clear the spikes on the tires of semis serve a specific purpose.
They’re designed for aesthetic purposes, to protect the lug nut, and to act as a visual deterrent to promote road safety.
Despite their benefits, the use of spiked tires is not without controversy. They can damage your car’s surface by scratching the surface. And in some rare cases, they can scare un-expecting drivers, which can lead to an accident.