The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

18 August 2005

And it comes out here

I have never been particularly fond of the "spinner"-style wheels that show up on automobiles now and then; some states have attempted to ban them based on safety considerations, but as a practical matter, their only real disadvantage, apart from wallet-lightening effects, is the addition of unsprung weight in an area where you don't need it. (The whole idea of alloy wheels, as opposed to steel wheels with covers, is to reduce the amount of mass down there.)

On the other hand, wheel covers with spinners have a distinct advantage: when one comes flying off the wheel at 70 mph, as happened to a Toyota pickup this morning on I-44, it has enough torque to get it across three lanes of traffic at incredibly high speed before it finally lands on the shoulder. An ordinary, stationary Pep Boys special would have been pounded to death by oncoming trucks before it ever got past the second lane.

Posted at 7:18 AM to Driver's Seat


Are spinner wheels those things that, when a car is stopped, say at a stop sign, the wheel appears to be moving because the hubcap thingy is spinning around? (Note my effective use of automobile technologically-correct vocabulary.)

I nearly crashed into another car last week because as I was coming down a hill, I got blindsighted by a car stopped at a T-stop wanting to make a left turn. That asshole had those spinning wheels that made it look like he was about to turn right into my path because the optical illusion was created that the car was moving. I veered over to the left lane nearly into the path of an oncoming car.

Of course the guilty party was loaded with testerone-laden youths who thought the whole thing was pretty funny as I flipped them off. If this ban-happy state (Connecticut) can ban talking on a cell phone, citing safety issues, they sure as hell better look into those dumbass things.

Posted by: Vickie at 7:33 AM on 18 August 2005

That was the pitch they made in Iowa in an effort to ban the things: that they created optical illusions at intersections.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:38 AM on 18 August 2005

As a full time safety professional (egads .. did I SAY that) this subject has come up a lot with regards to intersection accidents. Accident investigators are starting to notice more mention of them in their reconstructions. Of course the folks with these damn things dissipate into the traffic stream much like the guy who cuts off folks and leaves a trail of wreckage in his rear view mirror. So your left with anecdotal reference rather than the "Aha! stuff" you get from being able to approach wreckage from an accident forensic stanpoint.

Safety considerations aside I still manage a laugh when I see some homeboy with an old Toyota Celica with a set of these gypsy spinners attached and his stereo at MAX output. I rest assured they are self identifying to the cops as assuredly as if they had a "PLEASE STOP ME" billboard attached to their ettomobile.

Of course it's all plot by "the man" :)

Posted by: Ron at 7:55 AM on 18 August 2005

"t has enough torque to get it across three lanes of traffic at incredibly high speed before it finally lands on the shoulder"

Mr. Oddjob, please call your office...

Posted by: Brett at 11:23 AM on 19 August 2005