Flat tires are odd. By the time you notice you have one you are usually miles away from where you got it. Maybe even days away. However, I have found that there are some scenarios where nails and other metal nasties appear in pretty big numbers in places we drive. Here are my three top scenarios to avoid, or take action on to prevent a flat tire.
The first odd way nails find their way into tires I discovered is from street-sweepers. I have been an avid walker most of my four decades (4.7, but who’s counting). Long ago, I noticed that after a street-sweeper would do a run on the street I walked I would see a lot of nails lying around. My theory is that the nails end up being dropped on the road by contractors hauling stuff from the jobsite to the dump. They are then brushed to the side of the road like everything else by passing cars and rain. This past summer I was in a vehicle that got a flat after driving down a newly swept street. Coincidence? When I see a street seeper now, I turn off that road at the first opportunity.
It being late fall, you are very likely going to either clean your gutters, or have them cleaned. This might not seem like a risky tire puncture scenario, but it is. I am not sure how or why, but even years after a new roof is put on a home or other building the old nails and those that are not properly driven-in end up in the gutters.
Maybe they can wiggle themselves free. Maybe they hide in the gutters and avoid being cleaned for a year or two before finally being grabbed and thrown out. Who knows? This nifty collection shown above was left on my driveway this past week after my gutter-guys came and did a neat and thorough job. They took away the leaf clumps they threw down, but left these hiding in plain sight on the driveway in front of my garage doors. There are enough nails here to flatten most of the tires I own. Whenever you have your gutters cleaned, police the area yourself for stray roofing nails.
Finally, if your town has a “transfer station” or dump, as most people call it, where residents take trash or recyclables, beware. Having gotten a flat after returning from the dump I now stay as far away from the other cars and the dumpsters as possible. Most of the time I am at our town dump I pick up a nail or two lying on the loop road. There is a contractor’s dumpster at the very start of the series of bins and my guess is that after 99 percent of the construction debris is hauled out of pickup beds and thrown in, a few fasteners remain on the tailgate or bumper waiting to drop.
If you have discovered any hazard-rich environments we should be aware of, please let us know in the comments section below.