If you’re an auto enthusiast, you probably love beautifying and modifying your car. But, be aware of the laws in the state where you intend to modify your vehicle beforehand. For instance, squatted trucks, also known as ‘Carolina Squats,’ are now illegal in some states. Here’s what you need to know about the squatted truck ban.
Where are squatted trucks illegal?
Currently squatted trucks are illegal in North Carolina and Virginia. There are indications that South Carolina may also ban them.
In May 2021, North Carolina lawmakers approved legislation making squatted trucks illegal in the state. The legislation went into effect on December 1, 2021.
The North Carolina General Assembly law states that a private passenger automobile must not be modified/altered by elevating the automobile to more than 3 inches from the manufacturer’s specified height in the front. Also, you cannot lower the automobile by more than 2 inches from the manufacturer’s specified height in the rear.
The legislation further states that ‘a private passenger car changed or altered in contravention of this paragraph must not be used on any highway or public vehicular area.’
Those who violate this law might face a one-year license suspension.
In March 2022, Virginia followed suit. Virginia’s governor signed a ban on squat trucks into law some weeks after an incident that killed a 27-year-old man. The bill, signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, restricts modifications that raise a vehicle’s front bumper 4 inches or more over the back bumper.
According to ABC15, a bill to ban squatted trucks is also on its way to South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster’s desk.
While all this is happening, another petition on Change.org also wants to keep Carolina Squat trucks modifications legal!
With all this brouhaha happening over squatted trucks, let’s look at what a squatted truck is and why some folks want it banned while others swear by it.
What is a squatted truck?
A squatted truck is essentially a pickup truck with a lift kit fitted on the front end while the rear end stays at stock–or even lowered–ride height. Since the back end is near the ground, the truck appears to be squatting, thus the name.
Where did squatted trucks originate?
Contrary to what its name ‘Carolina Squat’ indicates, the squatted truck trend did not start in Carolina. It, in fact, arose from Baja racing in California and gained popularity as hundreds of drivers shared images of their squatting automobiles on Instagram.
And that’s not the only name that it has. Others call it a truck or SUV with a ‘California Lean’ or a ‘Cali Lean.’ Finally, some people refer to a squat as a ‘Tennessee Tilt.’
Why squat a truck?
Baja racers squatted trucks because when they fly over a jump and crash onto the earth, the rear hits first. The reason behind this was that it would help avoid major accidents. Racers can then do daring leaps without the danger of collapsing.
Since desert racing is no longer a thing, there is no genuine functional need for folks to squat their trucks. Instead, drivers mostly do it for ‘aesthetic’ reasons these days, probably helped by its social media popularity.
The Carolina Squat is kind of popular on social media. This sort of customized car has its own Facebook groups and Instagram profiles. In addition, due to market demand, several manufacturers have created their own squat kits that are available for purchase by anybody.
Are squatted trucks dangerous?
The upward tilt of the front of the truck or car is what makes this modification dangerous since drivers may not be able to see well ahead of them when driving. This might result in traffic accidents. In addition, the higher the truck’s front, the more difficult it is for the driver to see ahead. This consequently increases the odds of a crash.
Furthermore, the truck’s tilt prevents the headlight from adequately illuminating the road as the automobile manufacturer intended. As a result, it may blind other incoming cars, perhaps leading to an accident.
The vehicle’s suspension wears down faster due to the upward tilt of the truck and the lowering of the rear. This modification also has a detrimental influence on the braking system. Therefore, these modifications to the vehicle may potentially result in traffic accidents.
Another downside to squatting your truck is that it loses its ability to tow or haul.
The science behind why squatting is bad for your truck
When your truck squats, more of the underbody is exposed. This increases frontal area and, as a result, aerodynamic drag. Aerodynamic drag is the most significant factor affecting engine efficiency while driving at high speeds, according to the EPA. In addition, when towing, squats may cause the front of your trailer to dip, damaging the aerodynamic design that the trailer manufacturer may have designed.
When weight distribution is uneven, rolling resistance (also known as rolling friction) increases. This, in turn, reduces engine performance. Add to that the excessive and unequal tire and brake pad wear caused by improper weight distribution, and your squatted truck might really start to hurt your wallet.
It’s for these reasons that there’s a growing call to ban squatted trucks.
You’ll want to be sure you’re covered in the event of an accident caused by a squatted truck or just plain reckless driving. Way.com can help you save money on auto insurance by comparing prices from the best providers.
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