When thinking about potential situations, we oftentimes think about the bad guy lurking in the shadows while you’re walking to your vehicle late at night. We think the biggest threats will be out in shopping malls or parking lots. However, one of the biggest threats to people is road rage events. Over the last 20 years, there has been a number of cases where individuals have had to use their firearms in self-defense as a result of road rage. A quick google search will show just how many cases have been reported over the last few years. From these incidents, we can learn a few things and try to look at solutions for safely getting away from a situation. Let’s take a closer look at self-defense in road rage cases.
The Problem With Road Rage For Carriers
Being caught in a case of road rage for someone carrying concealed is literally a no-win situation. No matter what, you’re thrown into a very bad situation. Your actions in that event will determine if the shooting was justified or if you were actually the aggressor. These situations can happen extremely quickly with little time to process information. Because of the short duration of these events, it’s really important to think about things before you’re stuck in the middle of a terrible situation. Don’t get me wrong, we have all gotten frustrated with drivers at some point in our life. The simple facts are it just happens but the key is to keep your composure and a level head.
The biggest issue with road rage when it comes to carrying concealed is the fact both drivers can become emotional. Your job as a law-abiding concealed carrier is to be the bigger person and have the level head in this situation. It’s easy to become emotional and be in a reactive state instead of trying to be proactive and defuse the situation before it even has a chance to escalate. Avoidance is truly paramount when it comes to road rage situations.
Avoidance and Passive Behavior Is Key
The best way to win a gunfight is to never get into one in the first place. You win 100% of the gunfights you don’t get into so it’s important to consider a few factors. Avoidance and putting space in between you and the threat before a confrontation will save you almost every time. Rather than reacting and engaging with drivers who are overly aggressive, it’s important to become more passive in your mindset. The reality of the situation is you have a tool that will easily allow you to protect yourself. With that power comes a responsibility to be the bigger person and avoid conflict rather than escalate it.
Typically just having basic situational awareness will be enough to spot someone out of the ordinary. Seeing them early on will give you enough time to either slow down and give them distance or look for a place to turn off and remove yourself from the situation. In the moment, it may seem like a dramatic move to turn off a road you’re currently on to avoid a driver, but the extra 2-3 minutes it adds to your day can really make a difference in keeping you safe. We’ve all seen aggressive drivers and people who are impatient on the road. Avoiding them entirely can be the first step in deescalating a situation.
This type of mindset is almost a daily process for some making commutes in and out of various cities. Provoking people and brake checking should completely be a thing of the past if you’re carrying a firearm. Being passive is just being any other driver on the road minding their own business. I like to think of it as being the “gray man” individual but on the road. Just going along with traffic and minding to yourself is sometimes the best policy when dealing with short-fused people that live in society today.
In certain situations, you may just end up having bad luck. There are a number of stories online where people were targeted for no reason and became victims of road rage. This is either because the aggressor snapped and picked the first person they saw or a result of an influence of drugs. Sometimes bad luck just strikes and we have no choice but to react. If this is the case, the key to these types of situations is to keep moving.
Movement is life and gives you the ability to have options in what you can do. If you’re forced off the road, just know you’re going to be locked into a confrontation in which most likely one or both individuals are going to get hurt or even lose their life. In various circumstances though it may not always be possible to move which truly is the absolute worst-case scenario. Whether it’s the fact you’re stuck in traffic, your car’s no longer working, or you’re pinned in, that may be the time to draw your firearm and prepare to defend yourself if there’s no other choice and the aggressor is being violent.
In this situation, they will have you completely trapped and are attempting to get into your vehicle. This is when it’s finally time to start considering whether or not it’s the proper time for self-defense actions. If you have the opportunity to get away and continue moving, acting in self-defense shouldn’t be a consideration at that point. A ton of people think the initial sign of aggression is the right moment to start considering self-defense action and that’s just not true. It should be the last option rather than the first thing to come to mind.
When it comes to vehicle-based training, there are a few options for practicing. The easiest way to start practicing is just drawing from concealment inside your car and figuring out which way is fastest for you. There are several different techniques for drawing with a seatbelt so it’s never a bad option to check out various training videos online to see what style will work best for you.
For people who want to take it to the next level and actually fire from their vehicle, there are typically ranges around the country with large bays that you can set up targets around your vehicle to really understand what it’s like to have a field of view on targets when in your car. I typically won’t go this route just because weird things happen when shooting around nice objects. I don’t really want a round ricocheting off steel and hitting my vehicle. Some people feel comfortable with training in their vehicle but I advise against it for obvious reasons.
The final option is doing something like a Vehicle CQB class where you can learn exactly what to do in a stressful situation. The best thing about these classes is how it shows different options to defend yourself in a vehicle. Fighting in a confined space can be challenging to say the least, so it’s important to practice so you’re not doing it for the first time in a dangerous environment. Out of all the training courses I have taken over the years, probably the most valuable is the VCQB class by Will Petty. He breaks everything down so well and gives you time to understand the science behind vehicle fights. Again, it’s not a requirement to take courses like this, but it’s definitely a good way to learn when it comes to self-defense.
Road rage incidents have been on the rise over the last few years and some even say it’s one of the most likely situations where self-defense will be used. For the majority of the time, keeping a level head and removing yourself from the situation will be everything you need to deescalate the situation. Certain things happen and it’s not always an option to get away which may lead to you defending yourself. Simple things like calling 911 ahead of time and keeping the police informed are great ways to be transparent and show you’re doing everything to avoid a conflict. Other skills like simple drills drawing from concealment to taking courses are options as well if you are on the road a lot. The biggest thing is to keep a level head and don’t let emotions get the best of you.
Let me know what you guys think about the struggles of road rage when it comes to carrying a concealed firearm. Is it best to avoid conflict entirely or do you believe something else? Let me know what you think down in the comments section. If you have questions about carrying concealed or firearms in general, don’t hesitate to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeopeartor. Stay safe out there.