It's called the lug nut challenge, and it can be fatal.
The recent Facebook blackout gave us a glorious seven-hour glance at a world without social media. We're pretty confident the number of daily accidents went down significantly, but, unfortunately, there's no way to prove this.
As if smartphones and social media weren't enough of a distraction, people continue to discover new and unique ways to put themselves and others a risk. Social media challenges started innocently enough with challenges like planking and owling, but the downward spiral began with the Tide Pod challenge and teens standing on expensive cars and posting the images to social media. But possibly the most dangerous challenge of all surfaced recently. Following kids in New Zealand filming themselves stealing cars and people filming themselves doing high speeds with Snapchat's controversial speed filter, TikTok users are now stealing people's lug nuts to see what happens.
The new challenge, called the Lug Nut Challenge, was first reported on 22 News in Massachusetts.
The challenge is to loosen a car's lug nuts to see what would happen. Not your own car, though. Just any random vehicle is acceptable. The idea is then to film the aftermath to see what would happen. A more extreme version of the challenge is removing the lug nuts entirely.
22 News spoke with Interstate Towing in Chicopee. "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."
As you can imagine, teachers across the USA are afraid of driving to school, because their Toyota Camry or Corollas or whatever they're driving are easily accessible to kids who want to partake in the challenge.
If you do tamper with someone's wheels, you could be liable for the damage. If someone dies, you're in for a world of pain.
It should go without saying what happens when lug nuts are removed. The wheels come off and the car crashes. Even if only loosened, a car's handling can become severely impacted. If you're lucky it's just the car that gets damages, but if someone is injured or dies...
It seems TikTok already removed all videos of the challenge, but we found footage of one Honda S2000 losing a wheel. We're not entirely sure whether it's related, but it perfectly illustrates what would happen if the lug nuts aren't tightened correctly.