Road Rage and Concealed Carry

I live in the great state of Florida, and we happen to be the capital of road rage. I blame it on all the tourists coming to visit. Clearly, it’s y’all who can’t drive, and you bring that famous north eastern anger with you. Regardless, road rage happens to the best of us, well, if not road rage, road anger.

Everyone meets a lousy driver or a good driver who makes mistakes. Being cut off, tailgated, or not allowed to merge will drive anyone crazy. Something about being stuck in a small tin can and someone else creating a dangerous situation fills the best of us with rage. When you’re (legally) packing a piece, you have to give up your rights to road rage.

No More Road Rage For You

Heck, you need to give up your rights to road anger too, or even road ticked off. Specifically, what I mean is that you cannot do all the typical road rage actions. No blowing your horn, no rude hand gestures, no lowering your window, and yelling. All of that goes out the window when you’re carrying a firearm. Do a Dennis Reynolds and express your anger to yourself and your steering wheel.

Road rage spreads like the coronavirus, and your reaction to another idiot driver can devolve quickly into a dangerous battle of will… and ego. These road rage situations can become violent. Violent road rage is way more common than you’d expect—more than once, it’s turned into a gunfight.

As a concealed carrier, your firearm isn’t there to settle scores; it’s to protect your life. If you express road rage that becomes violent, you’ve introduced a deadly weapon into the mix. This could create a legal and moral issue with you being in the wrong. Your ‘right’ to road rage goes away when you express your right to carry a firearm.

Get a stress ball, breathe deep, pull over and take a minute, blast DMX and rap your anger away. Do whatever it takes to achieve a little inner piece.

Dealing With Road Rage

Let’s flip the situation and put you in the crosshairs of someone who can’t rap their way out of road rage. Maybe you cut someone off by mistake, or maybe you did something someone interprets as rude, or maybe you did nothing. It doesn’t matter once someone starts expressing their reign of road rage on you.

First, if someone begins to aggressively follow you, be prepared to call the police. If they are practicing some extreme tailgating or even swerving at you trying to run you off the road, you need to get on the phone and call the police. Do not meet their aggression with aggression. Don’t yell, utilize rude hand gestures, or flash your gun.

Maintain a safe speed and attempt to maintain a safe distance from the road rage enthusiast. I would never advise you to pull over and just stop. That opens you up to a violent and dangerous encounter.

Most people on the road are just trying to get somewhere, so appeal to that if possible and safe to do so. Move to the right lane and slow down if safe to do so. Going below the speed limit slows down the person following you and may cause them to disengage and go on their way. People who experience road rage likely do not want to slow down. Slow also typically equals safer, especially when you are jacked on adrenaline.

Taking a Left

Taking an exit or making a turn may also diffuse the situation. If people want to get where they are going, they are unlikely to take a side trip to keep harassing you. Yet, exercise caution. If they are truly enraged, the last thing you want to do is stop at a red light or stop sign and give the road rage enthusiast an opportunity to personally engage with you.

Do not lead someone to your home in an attempt to escape them. The road rage situation may occur a mile from your house, but that doesn’t mean you lead them to your home. Drive past and away from them. If they are that dedicated to following you and harassing you, then drive to a police station or next to an officer pulling traffic duty.

Blow your horn to gain attention, but do not leave your vehicle until officers arrive. If that’s not enough to end the situation, you now have law enforcement on the scene to deal with the issue.

Attacked On The Road

Everything went to hell! You’ve found yourself stuck between a rock and a road rage driver. Your vehicle is stopped, and the road rage driver pulls beside you or has exited their own vehicle. If possible, to do so safely, escape. Ditch the scenario and get out of there as soon as possible.

If you’re pinned in and approached, be apologetic, even if you never did anything wrong. Do not roll down your windows farther than necessary to speak, which is not very low, and ensure your doors are locked. Show empathy and understanding if possible, but be ready to respond to violence with violence.

If attacked, obviously exercise your right to defend yourself accordingly. At this point, you’ll be wishing you took a class on fighting from a vehicle. Most of us spend a healthy amount of time inside a vehicle, so it’s wise to invest in a class that focuses on road rage encounters and in-vehicle self-defense. Shooting in and around a vehicle effectively takes training and practice. You’d be surprised how quickly a vehicle starts to feel like a prison when you try to maneuver and fight inside it.

Parting Shots

A dashcam can do wonders for your self-defense case. Front and rear dash cams provide a visual representation of the event and can help explain your actions when self-defense comes into play. More so than that, they can capture the actions, the color, and even the tag of a vehicle committing illegal actions towards you in a road rage scenario.

Road rage situations are like any other crazy guy on the streets issue. Deescalate, disengage, and escape if you can safely do so. No need to pick a fight or return anger with anger. It won’t end well, and you owe it to yourself and your family to take the safe way out of the situation.

Be smart, exercise caution, pay attention while driving, and get some vehicle training. I’m trying to line up my own in-vehicle training for the year too, so maybe I’ll see you there.

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.