Road Rage / Brandishing

This is a discussion on Road Rage / Brandishing within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I was driving to work one morning on an interstate highway. Both lanes were moving at the speed limit, which made a lot of drivers ...

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Thread: Road Rage / Brandishing

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array jofrdo's Avatar
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    Road Rage / Brandishing

    I was driving to work one morning on an interstate highway. Both lanes were moving at the speed limit, which made a lot of drivers impatient. I usually drive in the righthand lane, about 5 mph over the posted limit; pretty conservative. Finally the pacesetter at the front of the line in the left lane moved over so that lane started to speed up. The right lane was still at the speed limit, which was even too slow for me.

    I saw a gap several car lengths long behind me in the left lane so I signalled a lane change and moved left. This infuriated the driver who I moved in front of and he accelerated his turbo Saab hard to close the door on me. I didn't fully realize he had taken this action until I had completed my lane change and noticed him right on my bumper, screaming at me and gesturing crudely. I didn't engage in any return gestures, and as soon as I had passed the slower right lane traffic, I signallled and changed lanes to the right, leaving him free highway ahead. He passed, but cut in front of me and hit his brakes to demonstrate his wrath. I continued to not engage him, and only slowed to avoid his attemped contact. He then roared ahead into the distance. Stupid me, I thought it was over.

    About three miles ahead his lefthand land of hares had slowed as it approached the portal of an under-river tunnel. All of us slower tortoises in the right land were being swept right past them. Sure enough, as I was about to pass him on the right he reengaged me, swerving into my lane in front of me and braking hard. I moved right in my lane, and we were actually side-by-side in the right lane; my wheels right on the shoulder paint stripe as we enterred the highway tunnel. Drivers behind us were slamming on brakes and swerving to avoid this maniac; some of them could have been injured if I hadn't done something to end it.

    I felt I was under attack with a deadly weapon (his car at 55 mph) and slipped my pistol out of its holster in the passenger seat and held it up to my side window where he could see its profile. I never pointed it at him, or even gripped it in a firing position. That was enough to convince him that I could defend myself if he wanted to continue, he broke off his attack and sped to the first exit ramp. I never saw him again.

    Was I justified in displaying the gun, or was I illegally brandishing? I felt I was under potentially deadly attack and displaying the gun ended the attack. I consider that the same effect might have been achieved by displaying the holstered gun.

    PS I saw a turbo Saab just like his all cracked up on a flatbed truck about 6 weeks later on the same route. I'm kind of hoping it was him finally getting his just desserts.

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  3. #2
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    Despite the guy's behavior I don't think your action was too sensible. You made no mention of calling in his behavior and the fact that you had ''displayed'' a gun, even in non threatening manner.

    Had he called in quick and reported you - it could have been your butt on the line possibly! You seemingly displayed great restraint and I feel that should have been maintained - noting his licence plate info, at least for the time when you were off the freeway and then calling that in.

    I do not want to try and be judge and jury - not being there - and can imagine it got pretty hairy but while there was a threat to you and considering the density of traffic (witnesses) - I don't think the gun should have come out.

    I split your post into para's to aid readability.
    Chris - P95
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    St. Louis also has crazy drivers. I myself have wanted to do the same thing many times. I agree that this man is threatening your life with a deadly weapon but I bet the law will say you were brandishing.

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    Member Array exit42's Avatar
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    Wow, tough question. Here in TX you can not show your weapon. You can only pull it when you are truly under threat for life. It sure sounds like you were, but if that guy would have reported you, I bet the police would have arrested you or at least a real bad road side chat.
    I have also had to do the same. One time after leaving a gig at 3am, I had a suburban full of toughs try to force me off the road in Dallas. I showed them my sp101 and they took off. I knew they were into it and I saw no other way out.I did see them messing with somebody else later down the road and I called the cops.
    ...one jagged hole!

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    Ex Member Array Phil Elmore's Avatar
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    When you encounter road rage, STOP THE CAR.

    Once you exit the vehicle you can present your handgun if and only if the other driver comes after you in a way the presents the credible threat of bodily harm. You would be justified in warning him off before that point with appropriate verbiage.

    Under no circumstances should you display a handgun in traffic. That will only work against you. The driver could call the cops and, in the absence of other witnesses, tell them, "There's a crazy guy waving around a gun on I-Whatever Eastbound!" Then, when the cops find you and pull you over, the fact that you do have a gun will really work to burn you.

    I had a guy follownig me on the New York State Thruway not more than a few weeks ago. I slowed down to 40 mph to get him to pass, even put my blinkers on, and that ******* just did the same thing. So I floored it to gain some distance, pulled into a rest stop, and prepared to get out of my vehicle and confront him (with my .38 if he acted threatening). Fortunately for both of us, he didn't follow me. Do not, however, play games in moving traffic. It's an accident waiting to happen.

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    Senior Member Array jofrdo's Avatar
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    After the event happened, I reflected on it and came to the same conclusions as presented in most of the responses. I believe I did illegally brandish, I should have called in his description to authorities, and I should have continued to restrain my behavior. Massad Ayoob's writings repeatedly emphasize that a victim should call the police so that he does not look like the BG and I didn't do it. Lesson learned.

    But if I had just relocated the holstered gun inside my car, say from the passenger seat to the top of the dash, and the other driver had just "happened" to see me do it, it would have accomplished the disengagement without brandishing, don't you think?

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    In my state, that against the law also. There are certain places you can put your weapon in the car and the dashboard is not one of them.

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    Distinguished Member Array RSSZ's Avatar
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    I agree with Phil for the most part.

    Would like to add,never show the BG or innocent bystanders your weapon if possible. If you do this,when the LEO arrives and someone sez that you pulled/showed,brandished a firearm,I would ask the cop to have them describe it. This my not be conclusive but if they can't.......you didn't. -------

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    Senior Member Array Ride4TheBrand's Avatar
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    I'm with Phil on this one.

    Your obligation and responsibility as a CCW holder is to defuse a situation, not encourage an escalation.

    What if that driver also had a weapon and he showed you HIS? Now what?
    "We must remember that one man is much
    the same as another, and that he is best
    who is trained in the severest school."
    ~Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

  11. #10
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jofrdo
    Was I justified in displaying the gun, or was I illegally brandishing?
    Yes, you were being 'attacked' (or, at least, certainly harrassed) by a 3500-lb 'weapon'. However, like others, I'll bet the law would find you guilty of brandishing.

    I've run this scenario through my head and would likely proceed this way, if such an apparently-violent driver came along and had singled me out. I'd pull aside, off the road. I'd stay inside the car. I'd draw and be ready. If the idiot chose to pull aside, exit his car and approach my vehicle, he'd be finding himself face down, quiet and awaiting the police. I would be at 7-8 yds distance. He would remain quiet and prostrate to the last, else he'd be stopped by every measure of force required to keep him at bay. Every single action would have been caused by the idiot, and he would have exited his vehicle and approached ... with apparent bad intent. (Couldn't possibly be benign and good intent.) Thus, there would be little for the law to grab onto, if attempting to wrap itself around my neck. No guarantees, but I think this sequence would be far easier to defend than overt displays.

    BG's are. IMO, they deserve what they get. They certainly deserve to be stopped. But, the law is one tricky animal. Stay safe out there.

    - Michael
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  12. #11
    Senior Member Array cagueits's Avatar
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    While what you did worked that time, you should have, at minimum, called 911 or drove to a police station before showing your gun - you could have been the one who ended in jail had the other driver called the police before you did.

  13. #12
    New Member Array fadlan12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm
    Yes, you were being 'attacked' (or, at least, certainly harrassed) by a 3500-lb 'weapon'. However, like others, I'll bet the law would find you guilty of brandishing.

    I've run this scenario through my head and would likely proceed this way, if such an apparently-violent driver came along and had singled me out. I'd pull aside, off the road. I'd stay inside the car. I'd draw and be ready. If the idiot chose to pull aside, exit his car and approach my vehicle, he'd be finding himself face down, quiet and awaiting the police. I would be at 7-8 yds distance. He would remain quiet and prostrate to the last, else he'd be stopped by every measure of force required to keep him at bay. Every single action would have been caused by the idiot, and he would have exited his vehicle and approached ... with apparent bad intent. (Couldn't possibly be benign and good intent.) Thus, there would be little for the law to grab onto, if attempting to wrap itself around my neck. No guarantees, but I think this sequence would be far easier to defend than overt displays.

    BG's are. IMO, they deserve what they get. They certainly deserve to be stopped. But, the law is one tricky animal. Stay safe out there.

    - Michael

    In Texas you are still required to leave, if he gets out of the vehicle you need to leave in your vehicle and leave him holding his wad. You should have the 911 operator on the phone prior to pulling over. You can't use a gun unless the BG is using deadly force. There is no way I would leave my vehicle.

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array Ti Carry's Avatar
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    Was I justified in displaying the gun, or was I illegally brandishing? I felt I was under potentially deadly attack and displaying the gun ended the attack. I consider that the same effect might have been achieved by displaying the holstered gun.
    I would have to agree also that you were under attack and most people with brains would see that. But we are talking about the law! Remember the saying, "It's the law, it doesn't have to make since" judges can rule anyway they feel like and just make or interperate the law as they see fit. (Even though I agreee that what you did was considered brandishing) law or no law agsinst it, they can and will make up one for it anyway.

    I would also do as the others have said and just pull over. The only other thing I would have done was get on the phone with 911 when he pulled this crap the first time, give them his plate number and car info, make, color, etc.

    I have seen this work twice now! I posted about the first one awhile back.

    I saw a lady being road radged! I did not see the start of this but saw the during and end of it. I followed this from my rear view as they were approching at a higher rate of speed than the majority was going. I saw the lady when she passed and she was on her cell phone looking into her rear view at the aggresser. This guy was acting nut's and being violent towards her (with his car and his behavior) and I believe he was trying to run her off the road from his actions. I stayed with them thinking, this guy is going to kill this lady or cause a major wreck. I couldn't let it go so I thought about what I was going to do if he did get her stopped, I agreed with myself that I was going to help her and got in the ready.

    About this time I see a MSHP (Missouri Sate Highway Patrol) hawling a$$ to catch up to them from behind us. HP from the rear and another local LEO was approching from the outer road towards us up ahead. The HP officer intercepted the van the road rager was driving and he pulled over instantly and the lady kept on going. I remember being proud of the fact that this happened and felt a since of satisfaction as well as justice being served when the good guy's pulled up. I did exit and come back to where they were pulled over to see the rest of what was going to happen and they did end up puttting him in the back of the patrol car cuffed but that is all I know as to what happened to him if anything.

    I saw this same thing again happen just the other week and it worked again for another lady. This time though I think this guy was a disgruntlled boyfriend/husband/ex? I'm not sure, because this one was taking by felony stop, hands up, walk backwards, lay on the ground the whole nine. So my point is calling 911 does help and you have a very good chance of taking care of business just by calling it in and letting the cop's handle it for you. I did notice during both road rages the women stayed on the line (it looked like) with 911 the entire time so that could have been the difference in catching them to.

    Point is, call 911 and if you have to take extra measures to protect yourself so be it, you atleast have it called in and 911 knows what is going on.

    Calling 911 doesn't make you a it makes you smart. Remember you are representing all CHP holders in this country everyday and giving the media and anti's nothing that they can use against us is always positive even though we will never hear about it, we will only hear about how some lunitic pulled a weapon and pointed it at a driver of another car not hearing the whole story and it will look bad.

    ETA: Sorry for the long post, gee's! not sure what got into me?


    Ti.
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  15. #14
    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    Dude, you were brandishing. It's a good thing nothing bad came of it.

    Turn it into a real positive by learning something good out of it. The responses I've read on this thread a great for that.

    I'm thinking pull over, do the 9-1-1 thing, and get to where you can get to the rifle....

  16. #15
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    Sounds like you have gotten the same answer over and over. I just want to add that with all the cutting and braking you should have gotten a PEN and his tag number. That way you could have made one great call to 911...... And you'd know for sure if it was the same car you saw on the tow truck.
    Rick

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