Why would there be giant spikes on semi-truck wheels?

I was driving the other day and I passed a big semi-truck that had giant spikes on the wheels.  I can’t quite understand what the point of such things is.  Is the idea to provide an incentive for people not to crash into the giant truck?  If so, I think it’s redundant.  Maybe it’s in case they get into a race with Ben-Hur?

Are there any truckers out there who can explain what these things are to me?

UPDATE: Did some searching.  Here is a post with a picture of a similarly-outfitted truck.  The author of the post seems to share my sentiments.  According to some of the comments, the spikes are plastic.  Well, I’m sure that’s what Messala said to Ben-Hur, too.

UPDATE II: Nearly three years later, this is inexplicably the most popular post I’ve ever done, by far.  Apparently, lots of other people had this question too.  Well, hope you enjoy the blog and while you’re here, check out my book. There’s nothing about semi-truck wheel spikes in it though, I’m afraid.

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