Video: As Temperatures Go Up in Texas, So Does Road Rage

U.S. Law Shield

A recent national television report asserted that road-rage incidents are becoming more common and more deadly. One of the latest incidents took place in Pennsylvania, in which a man is alleged to have shot and killed a teenage girl during a traffic merge. Click to watch level-headed advice from your Independent Program Attorney about what to do—and what not to do—in these situations.

Hello, my name is Edwin Walker. I’m an Independent Program Attorney with Texas Law Shield.

I want to talk to you today about an issue that we see on a daily basis. In fact, you will encounter it on a daily basis—the subject of road rage. I am sure that you have all seen road rage. You may have actually been involved in a road rage incident.

Now, if you’re a responsible gun owner, I’m going to give you a few words of advice on how to react when you find yourself in one of these unfortunate road-rage incidents. While on the roadways, we all observe something that makes us upset, whether it’s poor driving, unsafe driving, or just simply somebody being very discourteous.

By all means, you should restrain yourself from engaging that person and telling them how bad their actions were because this can be perceived as an act of road rage. If you’re a lawful gun owner and have a firearm in your vehicle, you do not want to be viewed as the aggressor in a road-rage situation.

Now, about a situation where an individual has chosen to rage against you, and you are the actual victim of road rage, if you and the other individuals are still in their automobiles, do not use your firearm to respond to any of the rager’s activities. This is because law enforcement views the fact that you’re both still safely in your metal boxes as removing any threat of immediacy that you may be harmed.

So please, if you have a gun, and somebody is raging against you, forget that you have a gun, don’t display it, don’t brandish it, don’t show it, don’t point it, and for God’s sake, don’t fire it. This could result in a lot of trouble for you. Now let’s look at a situation where a road rage incident has escalated to the point where one of the participants has actually gotten out of their vehicle. We recommend that you stay in your vehicle at all times. Do not exit your vehicle because the person who left their vehicle is going to be looked at as the aggressor.

If the other individual has exited his or her vehicle and the person is not in contact with your vehicle, and they do not have a weapon, then do not feel that you can display your weapon in the act of self-defense. People are allowed to just simply stand there and scream at you—scream whatever they want—until they make a demonstrative effort to try to harm you. There is no immediate threat that would justify displaying or shooting or brandishing your firearm.

Now, if the person shows a weapon, in particular, a firearm, the existence of a weapon would give you reasonable belief that there was an immediate threat of harm that would justify an act of force or deadly force.

Even in this situation, I would be very cautious. Now, if this situation escalates even further, where the person has actually made physical contact with your vehicle, whether they are beating on it with an instrument with their fists or they’re attempting to open your door, this would give you the facts that you would need to show that you had a reasonable belief that that individual is unlawfully and forcefully attempting to either enter your vehicle or remove you from your vehicle. This is very very important because this falls under what is commonly known in Texas as the Castle Doctrine.

The Castle Doctrine provides that an individual is given a presumption of reasonableness if they use force or deadly force in a situation where they believe that the person is unlawfully and forcefully either attempting to enter their occupied vehicle or remove somebody from their occupied vehicle. This legal presumption can be very very important because this legal presumption then says that you are allowed to use force or deadly force in response to this other individual’s actions.

We want to keep you safe out on the roadway, so keep these words of advice in mind and try to have a little less road rage out there. If we have a little less road rage, maybe we’ll have a safer world.

Have you ever been involved in a road rage incident? What happened? Was a firearm involved? Share your answers in the comment section.

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Comments (10)

  1. Ohio has a castle law that seems to coincide with Texas. It is imperative for everyone who carries to know the laws where ever they carry and abide by them. Not every state has a cast walk. Road rage is a choice. You can choose to respond in and an enraged manner or you can let it slide (far wiser choice). There is no shame in avoiding a confrontation by withdrawal. In many states that is what is required. So turn off and change your route or pull over and let the other fool be on his way. The biggest Takeaway is if you are traveling to other states no before you get there what their laws require.

  2. I was stationed in Everett, WA on an aircraft carrier… One weekend I drove down to Seattle with my family in the car. Passed a van, and may have come into his comfort zone. He flipped me off, passed me then slowed-down immediately after he came back into my lane. I changed lanes, and the guy changed lanes (repeatedly). When the highway branched the guy turned his van across two lanes and stopped. After nearly colliding with this idiot’s van, I quickly changed lanes and took-off as fast as my car could go. I was very upset by this incident, and much later I was thankful that I did not have a firearm in my car that day.

  3. This is a very complex problem with drivers trying to enforce their “laws” and rules of etiquette on everyone around them. In a world without the anonymity that a vehicle provides, courtesy is nonexistent.
    I have resolved to be the most courteous driver on the road and treat everyone else as if they where my mother in the other car having an emergency or some other catastrophe. Killing them with kindness will only de-escalate the situation at worst and at best keep you out of jail for letting a moron control the situation.
    What is worse, letting a moron continue to be a moron or taking it upon yourself to become a moron too? If by being the most courtesy driver someone still has it in for you, then by all means defend yourself with all means necessary.
    Discourteous drivers are the rule now, not the exception, adjust your driving to accommodate these mental midgets or you could have a very bad experience, when it turns out that the moron that is blocking traffic, bright lighting you, etc. is an off duty cop! How well do you think that will end for you?!
    The privilege of our constitution affirming our God given right to self preservation only works when you are willing to take responsibility for any of your actions that may lead to agitating a moron into acting like an imbecile. DRIVE LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!!

  4. It’s out there for sure!
    I myself have gotten mad when there are 5 lanes of traffic and the speed limit is 65 and I find we are moving at 50 mph due to the 2 left lanes being taken by people doing 50 or 55 mph.
    State law says the left lane is for passing!
    I am thinking we would see a big reduction of road rage if the police would start enforcing the laws about the left lane.

    1. Amen to that Auggie Will! People driving slow in the left lane on the interstate is the most dangerous thing going on on the roads that cops most places choose to ignore. Every now and then I’ll be happy to see a “left lane for passing only” sign but I don’t think these idiots even know what that means.

  5. Been close to having to pull my weapon out, but never to that ” point of no return”.
    I ride a Harley, and was riding down the interstate. The car ahead of me had a smoker driving it. Am sure he knew I was behind him( loud pipes). He threw a cigarette out his window, but instead of just throwing it out ,they flicked it UP into the air which made it fly right into my windshield.
    Naturally I was mad after this, so I pulled up next to this idiot, and motioned for him to roll his window down at 75 mph. I politely yelled “Thanks for the cigarette Buddy”, and he proceeded to give ME the finger.
    I went to another lane and this guy was trying to pull me over. I attempt to get away( which I did ) but this guy chased me for several miles at 80+ mph, flashing headlights. I was carrying concealed. As long as I was moving, there was not an immediate threat. If we stopped in city traffic, or I had pulled over, it might have been a different story.
    Haven’t had to have a fist fight since I was a teenager, but nowadays, everyone carries knives, or guns, pipes, etc.
    I don’t take any chances.
    Best if not to engage, but to LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY.
    Go in peace.

    1. You read that right. He was trying to hit you with that lit butt, probably because he felt your Bike was too close to his cars “space” with your loud pipes messing up his tunes… doesn’t matter. You screwed up when you pulled along side and interacted with this already agitated stranger, in a vehicle that could easily Flatten you and wreck your bike. Yeah, I know, it’s hard to let every as*hole walk without notice but 2 wheels vs. 4 just doesn’t fly. it doesn’t matter how fast or how bad you are. You, Robert… are very fortunate to have walked away.
      Here’s a Tip from 2 million miles on the road: If you notice the driver ahead using their mirrors a lot they are one of 2 things;
      1. A professional always keeps track of everything around him/her at all times so he doesn’t impede traffic flow and is always prepared for evasive maneuvers.
      2. An as*hole always keeps track of everything around him/her so they can control the movement of other vehicles. example: left lane larry/lucy.

      I’ve found an extremely loud PA speaker mounted under the hood, firing forward, will cause even brain dead zombies to move over for you Quickly if they don’t like the music… so have a variety!

    2. Sorry, but I think if you actually went to the trouble to install a PA speaker for the purpose you stated, you are one of said as*holes.

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