If you’ve spent any time on North Carolina roads you might have found yourself wondering about the way some local motorists have modified their vehicles to look like the front end is pointed up towards the sky.
It’s known as the “Carolina Squat,” though the concept actually was born out West. Whatever its origins, and whether you prefer to call it the “Carolina Lean,” or even the “Tennessee Tilt,” lawmakers in the Tar Heel State have made it illegal and drivers who ignore the new measure could lose their license.
The move came in response to a Change.org petition presented to the North Carolina House of Representatives that garnered the signatures of more than 70,000 of the state’s residents.
Roots in racing
The Carolina Squat is traditionally a truck or SUV, though sedans and coupes may also be modified by lowering the back of the vehicle several inches and then raising the front end by three inches or more.
The origin of the practice appears to trace back to California’s Baja racing circuit. It not only shifts the center of gravity toward the back wheels but helps when landing jumps on uneven pavement.
Today, its origins are largely irrelevant. Like the lowriders popular in many urban communities, it’s all about the look.
A risky move
But while the Carolina Squat may have its fans, there are plenty of folks who hate the approach. For one thing, the vehicles now have their headlights pointing up, rather than straight ahead, and that can reduce visibility for other drivers. Experts also warn that the modified vehicles are less stable and less safe in a crash.
“These trucks blind people with their headlights pointed to the sky,” the Change.org petition read.
Some mechanics contend the approach also risks damaging a vehicle by draining oil from the drivetrain.
Drivers could lose their licenses
Signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper, House Bill 692 went into effect this month and declares, “A private passenger automobile shall not be modified or altered by elevating the automobile more than 3 inches from the manufacturer’s specified height in the front and lowering the automobile more than 2 inches from the manufacturer’s specified height in the rear. A private passenger automobile modified or altered in violation of this subsection shall not be operated upon any highway or public vehicular area.”
Drivers who ignore the law will initially face fines of up to $50. But if they continue to flout the regulations they could have their licenses pulled for a year.