Can I use Caltrops in my driveway? If so, where can I buy some?

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 ). 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?

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

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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

Perhaps a better bet than caltrops would be an electronically retractable Stinger affair.

Please tell your wife I like her style.

Am I the only ex-MegaTF player who saw this thread title and immediately thought, “OW! CALTROPS!”

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.

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


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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

How about hiding around the side of the house, and when the offender appears, run out screaming and revving a chainsaw?


Run for your lives!!!