We both see the black strips down in the lane, but given the traffic to our right, we slowed as much as we could and were able to swerve to miss hitting the strip with the back tire. However, the front wasn't so lucky. As soon as we hit it, ES immediately noticed the "tire" light on the dash. ES managed to get the car over to the side without too much trouble. We'd just driven over a spike strip.
In the midst of standing outside the car, staring at the tire, and calling AAA, we saw a purplish flash. Actually, we heard it before we saw it. This, we surmised, was the actual target of the strip. Unfortunately, others had gotten pegged by the strip as well, their cars farther along the road than ours. Flashers on and looking to change a tire (or two).
No sooner had I given AAA my info, when two deputies pulled up behind us. They asked if we'd seen the strip and tried to get over. Yes, we explained we'd seen it, but given its placement in the road and the amount of traffic, we weren't able to safety avoid hitting it. They'd apologized at that point and said they'd charge our tire. Even pay for a replacement. Fantastic, especially since neither ES or I had ever changed a tire on this car. Took about 30 min and we were on our way. As we pulled out and passed the other sorry folks who got caught up on the strip too, we also saw the purple flash. Turned out this was a Dodge Charger which the deputies said was going in excess of 130 mph. In other words, really, really fast.
The bottom line is...you can't just buy 1 tire. Like other sets of things, they at least come in pairs. For us, given our car is AWD, we had to replace all 4 given 2 new tires would still be out of tread depth with the two best remaining tires. Sigh. Plus they found damage to the rim in putting on the new tires.
Playing phone tag to get re-imbursed. Hoping this will go smoothly and quickly.