Spike Strips: The Complete Guide
Want to stop a vehicle without injuring anyone inside it? Then you probably need spike strips. They puncture the tires of vehicles, deflating them and making the vehicle inoperable.
Spike strips are mainly used by two different forces: Security forces to protect high-security areas or by law enforcement to stop fleeing vehicles.
More formally called tire deflation devices, spike strips go by many names — road spikes, traffic spikes, tire spikes, tire shredders — but no matter what you call them, they’re effective at stopping or deterring vehicles. They’re a great substitute to more traditional road barriers and can bring an added level of security.
Below, you’ll find the different types of spike strips available. Very broadly, they can be put into two overarching categories: road-mounted spike strips and portable spike strips. Under each category there are several different types. Let’s take a look at the different types of road spikes and when they are best used.
1. Retractable road-mounted spikes strips
This category of tire deflation devices are permanently fixed to a road or driveway, helping secure areas like parking lots, gated communities, and high security areas. There are a few types that can be used depending on your budget or situation.
They should always be accompanied by appropriate signage so that vehicle operators can reduce their speed so as not to damage their vehicles or the spike strips themselves.
Surface-mounted retractable spike strips
This type of permanent spike strip is fastened directly on top of the road. The spikes, or blades, can have a sharpened or bevelled edge. They are usually pointed in one direction and retractable either with springs or counter weights to safely allow the flow of one way traffic.
If a vehicle is driving in the desired direction, they’ll pass over the strips unharmed. Some may also be locked down to allow for two-way traffic flow when needed. When fully locked and retracted, they have the added bonus of acting like a parking lot speed bump.
Roadshark provides a couple of options for surface-mounted spike strips.
Low-profile road-mounted spike strips
These can be installed into a prebuilt void so that they have a lower profile and are more flush with the road. They are great for situations that require a more permanent solution that’s less of a disturbance to the vehicles passing over it since it’s not raised.
Electric road-mounted spike strips
There are also tire shredders that can be electronically disarmed, with remotely lowered spikes that can safely allow for two-way traffic flow. They’ll have a similar appearance and functionality to either low-profile or surface-mounted spike strips but can be retracted completely to avoid damage to any vehicle no matter which direction they’re driving.
Roadshark offers both surface-mounted and low-profile electric spike strips.
Here at Roadshark, we’re experts at providing and installing road-mounted spike strips. If you have any questions about your specific needs, please be sure to contact us to get pricing or learn more about which specific product might be best for you. We’re happy to give a free no-obligation quote!
2. Portable and deployable spike strips
Portable spike strips are lightweight and compact tire deflation devices that can be easily carried in a vehicle or on foot.
They can be deployed quickly to stop a fleeing vehicle or to block off a road. Portable spike strips are best for situations where a quick response time is needed from mobile security or law enforcement personnel. If used in the proper situations, they can effectively disable vehicles without causing any harm to the occupants.
Users of these types of spike strips must be trained professionals, as they are usually deployed on active roadways during high speed pursuits. If used incorrectly, they can harm the spike strip operator or vehicle occupants.
Extendable spike strips
These are usually in a suitcase-like container or roll and can be deployed by personnel at the desired location, usually on active roadways. They are easy to carry in vehicles or on foot. They’ll sometimes have a cord attached to them so that the operator can pull them into the path of a vehicle if it’s trying to swerve to avoid them, and to be pulled out of the way after being deployed on the target vehicle. They should be long enough to cover the entire width of a roadway so that vehicles can’t drive around and avoid them.
Hose-style spike strips
These tire shredders are made up of flexible hoses with spikes inside them. They can be laid across a road or driveway and are often used to stop fleeing vehicles. They’ll also sometimes have a cord attached to them so that the operator can pull them into the path of vehicles trying to avoid them.
Placeable spike strips
These are smaller standing spike strips that can be put in front of or behind tires of parked vehicles to cause deflation if somebody tries to use the vehicle to flee. They are often used in situations like sobriety checks, border patrols, or by SWAT teams.
Are spike strips legal on any private property?
It depends on the laws in your jurisdiction, but generally speaking they are not permitted for use on private property. They are usually only allowed to be used by law enforcement, military forces, or professional security agencies.
If used by civilians on private property like driveways, they can be classified as a booby trap, which is illegal. They may also prevent emergency access, or accidentally damage vehicles, becoming a civil liability issue.
For those reasons, we recommend they not be used by civilians. Be sure to check your state or region specific laws or consult a legal or security professional before using or installing them on private property.
Who uses spike strips?
Spike strips are often used by police to stop suspects who are attempting to flee in a vehicle, as they can effectively disable the vehicle without causing any harm to the occupants.
Spike strips may also be used by private security companies and by military forces in certain situations.
For example, a private security company may use spike strips to protect a high-security facility or to prevent unauthorized vehicles from entering a restricted area.
Individual homeowners may also use spike strips as a security measure to protect their property, but only if permitted by law. In some cases, spike strips may be used in combination with other security measures, such as gates, fences, or cameras, to create a layered security system.
It is important to note that the use of spike strips can be dangerous and may cause damage to vehicles and injuries to individuals, so they should only be used with caution and in accordance with local laws and regulations.
Where Can You Get Spike Strips?
Spike strips can be purchased from a variety of sources, including online retailers and specialty law enforcement equipment suppliers. They may also be available at some physical stores that sell security and law enforcement equipment. It is important to note that in some jurisdictions, the possession or use of spike strips may be restricted or regulated by law. Therefore, it is important to check local laws and regulations before purchasing or using a spike strip.
Roadshark International is a distributor for Magnumspike portable spike strips for Military and Police use.
How Much Do Spike Strips Cost?
The cost of a spike strip can vary depending on a number of factors, including the size and materials used, the brand and model, and the supplier. In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars for a spike strip. For example, a basic model made of plastic and designed for use by individuals or small businesses may cost a couple hundred dollars, while a larger, more durable model made of metal and intended for use by law enforcement agencies may be more. It is worth noting that the cost of a spike strip may also include additional expenses, such as shipping and handling fees, taxes, and any required permits or licenses.
In conclusion, spike strips can be an essential tool for security personnel or law enforcement to control the movement of vehicles. Each type of spike strip has its benefits and is best suited for specific situations. It’s important to choose the right type of spike strip for the situation to ensure that it is effective and safe.
By understanding the different types of spike strips available and their benefits, security personnel can make informed decisions and effectively control the movement of vehicles in their area of responsibility. Contact us if you have any other questions!
In addition to being a distributor of Magnumspike portable spike strips, Roadshark International also offers a number of different traffic control solutions for police, military and security uses.