Dangerous lug nut prank on social media ‘is not a joke,’ towing company says

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CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) — Another social media challenge is pushing safety limits, and this one involves loosening or removing lug nuts on car tires.

Police in Massachusetts have said the prank, called the “lug nut challenge,” has been seen in their communities, and an unnamed WWLP viewer said their family fell victim to the prank, which led to a wheel falling off of their moving vehicle. 

Interstate Towing in Chicopee, Massachusetts, confirmed fixing loose lug nuts for drivers who may have been the target of the prank. 

“This is not a joke, people can get seriously hurt or die,” said Operations Manager Stephen Gonneville. “If a tire comes off and you’re driving at a highway speed bad, things could happen. Somebody could hit a tree. Someone could hit a telephone pole, become maimed or fatally injured, and it wouldn’t be good.” 

Daniel McCarthy, of Long Island, New York, who was in town for work, said he’s uneasy about his car being in a foreign place with this trend going on. 

“I have to tell you I don’t check my car as often as I should, and I definitely don’t check the lug nuts,” said McCarthy. 

It’s illegal to tamper with a vehicle, and punishment for doing so could result in jail time and restitution to the car owner. Authorities are encouraging motorists to stay vigilant and check out their vehicles before driving.

Earlier this month, TikTok said it was removing videos that show students bragging about stealing items from their schools after the “devious licks” trend started to take off. The trend resulted in students stealing items from their schools, or, in some cases, literally ripping off school bathroom fixtures, according to educators in numerous districts. Videos later posted by some of the students showed them removing the goods from their backpacks, bragging about the “devious licks,” or thefts.

In August, TikTok removed videos of people partaking in social media’s “milk crate challenge,” in which users attempted to ascend and descend makeshift staircases made of unsecured milk crates. At the time, the trend had been called out by local police and health departments across the country — and even the FDA — as being dangerous.

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