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View Full Version : Can I use Caltrops in my driveway? If so, where can I buy some?


Pencil Pusher
10-08-2003, 10:35 AM
I told my wife to just find a traffic cone, but she gets vindictive...

We live a couple of houses into a cul de sac. On the other side of the cul de sac is an elementary school that doesn't allow parking. People turn into the cul de sac and park on the street to walk their kids to school. People also sometimes nose into driveways in order to turn around (apparently because they are too impatient to drive all the way to the end of the cul de sac to turn around). Nobody has any issues with either of these.

The problem is there are a couple of people who pull all the way into our driveway to turn around. This really irks my wife. Especially after my 4 year old almost got run over... The garage opened, which apparently didn't stop someone from pulling into our driveway. Meanwhile, my 4 year old ran out into our driveway to grab the newspaper (he never goes into the street -- he just likes to runs down and grab the paper).

The driver was unrepentant and still regularly pulls into our driveway. This really, really irks my wife. Apparently the police will come out during the appropriate time frame to monitor, but I don't know if that will work.

Anyway, do you think I could put caltrops on my driveway? ( picture here http://cia.gov/cia/information/artifacts/caltrop.jpg ). Of course I don't want anything dangerous to pedestrians. Something that is blunt enough that will only damage a tire, and not a person. I don't think there is a danger of a school kid walking off with one of these and causing havoc, the street is generally pretty calm otherwise.

Anyone have a feel for the legality of such a device?

Yarster
10-08-2003, 11:16 AM
Something tells me you would get yourself in trouble for this. I think people have an expectation that they can pull into a driveway to turn around, and certainly a delivery person would make this assumption if they were bringing something to your home.

Even if you posted a warning sign, you can bet people would ignore it and the caltrops are likely too small to be noticed as anything other than a twig in the driveway when someone pulls in.

The other problem you have is that it would basically flatten the tires of the offender very fast. Now you've got a pissed off guy who wants to beat the tar out of you AND he's stuck in your driveway with flattened tires. Good luck with that.

I'd stick with the traffic cones and a sign asking people to please not use your driveway to turn around

Otto
10-08-2003, 11:18 AM
IANAL etc. My feeling is that you would be opening yourself up to way more liability than it's worth. All it takes is one person tripping and falling over or on one of those spikes, or one kid walking off with one (calm street or otherwise) and injuring someone or himself with it to land you in a world of tort.

Take the money you'd spend on them and get a security camera instead. Tape the ne'er-do-wells and then press charges for criminal trespass.

gluteus maximus
10-08-2003, 11:25 AM
In addition to the impracticality mentioned by Yarster, you run the risk of driving over the caltrops yourself. That, plus the annoyance of needing to set them out and take them up everyday, and the possibility of your child falling on them... anything that's going to put a hole in an automobile tire is going to hurt a kid that falls on it...


How about a gate?

KP
10-08-2003, 12:11 PM
The caltrops you linked are hollow tubes, and were (at least when I was in a position to use them) fairly uniquely American (with some NATO use) intended to deflate self-sealing tires (which -oddly- none of our anticipated enemies used at the time, but we did)

The standard caltrop deployed by insurgents, counterinsurgents, and many militaries is little more than two short pieces of stiff steel wire, cut on a bias, and twisted firmly together as in barbed wire. In fact, if you really want to go through with this decidedly unwise notion, barbed wire is probably a better deployment modality for your intended use: it won't scatter or 'wander' off your property due to wind, rain or curious children; it's easily removed when you want your driveway clear; etc. (However, barbed wire is regulated in some jurisdictions, so check you local statutes.)

I think a gate is a *far* better idea. It denies access without doing damage. "Vindictiveness" rarely leads to good ideas.

zut
10-08-2003, 12:20 PM
How about some yellow caution tape strung between two posts on either side of the driveway? I doubt anyone would intentionally run it over. Cheaper than a gate, not very confrontational, easy to set up and take down. It's possible that, once you've "trained" drivers not to use your driveway, you can get rid of the tape without further incident.

Or maybe a portable stop sign?

Scumpup
10-08-2003, 12:25 PM
Anything which the po-po can construe as a "boobytrap" capable of causing bodily harm is going to be bad news for you legally. Unbelievably bad news, both in criminal court and civil court if somebody is actually injured by your caltrops.
There are better things you can do. First would be to post "no trespassing" signs on your property. Second would be to install a gate or chain across your driveway. The gate should pretty much keep people out of your driveway and posting gives notice that your property is verboten. If that is your goal, then you should be happy. If revenge is your goal, probably it won't be enough. In that case, I'd google "police supply" and look at the many, many tire deflating products on the market. Just be prepared for legal fallout.

Quartz
10-08-2003, 12:33 PM
Perhaps a better bet than caltrops would be an electronically retractable Stinger affair.

stuyguy
10-08-2003, 12:42 PM
Please tell your wife I like her style.

pestie
10-08-2003, 01:42 PM
Am I the only ex-MegaTF player who saw this thread title and immediately thought, "OW! CALTROPS!"

micco
10-08-2003, 02:17 PM
I have a relative who was sued for damages because they put a chain across their driveway to prevent access. Someone drove into it and claimed it wasn't sufficiently visible. So goes personal responsibility in this nation.

You might try buying a cheap tricycle to set in the middle of your driveway like a traffic cone. You could get some wire cable and a tie-down stake to secure it so no one swiped it, and just roll it out of the way like you would a gate. This would be unobtrusive in a neighborhood and should catch the eye of any parent no matter how self-involved.

Doomtrain
10-08-2003, 09:28 PM
Originally posted by pestie
Am I the only ex-MegaTF player who saw this thread title and immediately thought, "OW! CALTROPS!"

Of course not. I think the OP just needs to change to Engy and put up one of those guns.

Larry Mudd
10-08-2003, 09:52 PM
MegaTF?

I thought of Interstate '76.

SirRay
10-08-2003, 10:30 PM
Originally posted by Larry Mudd
I thought of Interstate '76

It's 1976 - A very different 1976...
That game used up a few hundred hours of my spare time...


And BTW, just go with the gates - if it's a community where no one has front yard fences, maybe one of those triangle pipe gates so it doesn't look too odd.

Zenster
10-08-2003, 11:12 PM
Originally posted by micco
... You might try buying a cheap tricycle to set in the middle of your driveway like a traffic cone. You could get some wire cable and a tie-down stake to secure it so no one swiped it, and just roll it out of the way like you would a gate. This would be unobtrusive in a neighborhood and should catch the eye of any parent no matter how self-involved. Ding, ding, ding ... we have a winner! Just run an anchor bolt into your driveway to leash (using wire rope) the tricycle in question. No person in their right mind (I realize this only rules out a minor fraction of the population) would steamroll a tricycle, if only for fear that they just didn't see the kid crouched behind it.

Good call, micco!

NevarMore
10-08-2003, 11:20 PM
Get a cone or one of the new kid warning signs, it looks like a small child holding a flag that says 'SLOW DOWN'. Its a good attention grabber.

Moirai
10-09-2003, 12:06 AM
Booby traps and mantraps are totally illegal and you could be sued so bad you'd never find another pair of clean underwear.

Even those pointy ornamental tops on wrought iron fences are a liability nightmare.

So, in short, caltrops might be a Fun Idea, but don't put it into practice.

Lynn Bodoni
10-09-2003, 12:10 AM
Originally posted by Scumpup
Anything which the po-po can construe as a "boobytrap" capable of causing bodily harm is going to be bad news for you legally. Unbelievably bad news, both in criminal court and civil court if somebody is actually injured by your caltrops.
There are better things you can do. First would be to post "no trespassing" signs on your property. Second would be to install a gate or chain across your driveway. The gate should pretty much keep people out of your driveway and posting gives notice that your property is verboten. If that is your goal, then you should be happy. If revenge is your goal, probably it won't be enough. In that case, I'd google "police supply" and look at the many, many tire deflating products on the market. Just be prepared for legal fallout.

I'm afraid that everything I've read indicates that Scumpup is right about boobytrapping one's property. Personally, I feel that putting up harmful or even deadly boobytraps should be legal, but the law does not take my feelings into account nearly often enough.

I'd probably go with a "No Trespassing" sign and possibly a videocamera, set up during the worst time of the day, and then press charges if I felt like it. Or possibly ask the cops to monitor from a hidden location.

Manduck
10-09-2003, 01:16 AM
How about hiding around the side of the house, and when the offender appears, run out screaming and revving a chainsaw?

Zenster
10-09-2003, 02:02 AM
Originally posted by Lynn Bodoni
... Scumpup is right ... Aahhhhhhhhhhhh!

Run for your lives!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Short
10-09-2003, 02:11 AM
I don't know the law, but I did see a "severe tire damage" sign at a parking lot today, along with some convincing looking (and presumably retractable) spikes. They were trying to convince people to not enter the wrong direction and thus avoid paying the parking fee.

The tricycle is a far more clever idea, however.

spinky
10-09-2003, 04:27 AM
I like the tricycle idea too. Maybe you could rig up a cable on some pulleys that moves it to the side of the driveway automatically when your garage door opens, so you could use the remote control and drive right up and into the garage without getting out to move the trike. :)

cookeze
10-09-2003, 07:06 AM
Is there any reason you can't park your car in the driveway? I'm assuming you have one. Just pull it out till it's near the street. Can't pull in if there's no room.

Can't get sued, either.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
10-09-2003, 08:36 AM
Make a hole in the blacktop in the middle of the driveway, 2 feet from the curb. Insert a 4 inch section of steel pipe, 2 inches in diameter. Pour cement around it to hold it in place. We shall refer to this as the socket.

Get a 4 1/2 foot length of steel pipe, 1 inch, or 1 1/2 inches in diameter, which we shall call the pole. Spray paint the pole Day-Glo Yellow. Let cement & pole dry.

When both are dry, insert pole into socket.


This will be a highly visible barrier that can block driveway access without being a booby trap. It is also easy for you to remove.

Add a "Private Driveway: No Tresspassing" sign, & all should be well.

stuyguy
10-09-2003, 09:41 AM
The OP is not suggesting that the offending driver be sprayed with bullets when he/she drives on his property, only that his vehicle be disabled. I hardly see how such a scheme, with proper signage, constitutes os boobytrap or mantrap. Some car-disabling mechanism, installed with the intent of protecting the homeowner's familys from a persistant and potentially lethal threat, seems every bit as legit as a parking lot's "severe tire damage" spikes, and those seem to be pretty common and (presumably) legal.

mapsmith
10-09-2003, 10:59 AM
Since the police have agreed to monitor. Have them start ticketing people for Improper turn or trespassing. That should be the most effective deterrent.

DrDeth
10-09-2003, 01:57 PM
How far do they pull into "your driveway"? The reason I ask is that here in CA, the part of "your" driveway up to the edge of the side walk is usually considered public "right-of-way". Thus, yes, they can pull into "your" driveway up to the edge of the sidewalk (by that, I mean the edge closest to your home). Often here in CA, we would have (starting at the street)-1. The curb. 2. a "strip" about 3' wide with grass & maybe a tree 3. The sidewalk 4. Your lawn/yard. The driveway portion from the curb to your lawn likely doesn't belong to you (belongs to the City in many cases), and is very likely public right of way- although you are also likely responsible for maintenence. You have no right AT ALL to block any portion of "your" driveway from the curb to your lawn in that case. In fact, here in CA, you can get a ticket for blocking the sidewalk, even if you're only parking in "your" driveway. Thus, if they pull no further than the edge of the sidewalk- they are legal- although I admit annoying. Anything blocking that area- tricycles, tape, cones, whatever- would be illegal.

Whatever you do- no booby traps. Scumpup & Lynn are very very right.

Moirai
10-09-2003, 03:52 PM
Originally posted by stuyguy
The OP is not suggesting that the offending driver be sprayed with bullets when he/she drives on his property, only that his vehicle be disabled. I hardly see how such a scheme, with proper signage, constitutes os boobytrap or mantrap. Some car-disabling mechanism, installed with the intent of protecting the homeowner's familys from a persistant and potentially lethal threat, seems every bit as legit as a parking lot's "severe tire damage" spikes, and those seem to be pretty common and (presumably) legal.

I think you are wrong (IANAL but I sleep with one). Even if someone is injured on your property while committing a heinous crime, guess who's potentially liable? That's right kids, the homeowner who erected the (insert bright idea here).

For og's sake, consult a knowledgable, expert attorney before doing anything like this to your property!

msmith537
10-09-2003, 04:13 PM
I like the idea of the tricycle with this slight alteration:

-Keep the tricycle hidden behind some bushes
-Place a small, lifelike, child-sized dummy in the tricycles seat.
-Have a length of strong fishingline set up to put the tricycle into the path of a car that crosses into your driveway.



About the chain thing:

One time I put my car in a parking lot and was not able to retrieve it before they closed the lot for the night by placing a chain across the exit. Well..it being 2 am, I did not feel like waiting around for someone to remove it so I basically drove through it, snapping it like the ribbon at the end of a 50 yard dash. Can I sue for the scratches on my POS car?

DrDeth
10-09-2003, 05:18 PM
Let's look at some scenarios: 1. A neighbors kid rides across your driveway and blows his bike tire, falls down and hurts himself. The kids parents can sue, and can collect.

2. The UPS truck with a delivery for your house pulls into your driveway, and blows a tire. They can sue and collect.

3. Police or fire pulls into your driveway for an emergency- ditto. I'll bet you could be criminally charged.

4. Go back to scenario #1. If the kid falls and hits his head into one of those caltrops, and dies- does the term "manslaughter" mean anything to you?

Pencil Pusher
10-10-2003, 08:40 PM
To answer your question, Dr. Deth, We are actually in CA also (not far from you). And I do realize that they are legally allowed to pull in the driveway to the top edge of the sidewalk, but some people put their entire car into the driveway, pulling up almost to the garage door. This is where I have a problem.

p.s. In case there is any doubt, this is pencil pushers wife--the vindictive one

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
10-10-2003, 09:31 PM
Try my suggestion, P.P., or P.P.'s Wife, whichever is applicable.

Easy to do, cheap, & effective.

Emilio Lizardo
10-10-2003, 09:43 PM
In addition to the other issues already noted, it is worth pointing out that caltrops, being small and portable, could easily be removed from your driveway and used for malicious purposes elsewhere. That being said, the factual answer to the second part of your question is: e-mail me, and I'll let you know where to buy them.

DrDeth
10-14-2003, 01:00 PM
PP, if they pull that far in, then it is definately a matter for the police- they are trespassing. A sign would be good.

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