Road rage

oaktree

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Last night had a guy follow me to place were my wife worked. As he got out of the car I could tell by his "wanna be gangster clothes" he was up to no good. As I sat in the car locking my doors he told me to step out of the car of course not knowing if he was carrying a weapon or had other people in his car I smiled and declined he then talked about shooting me and made gun gestures with his hands to my window. Now things became a lot real.

I watched him carefully waiting to see if he would attack the window, or waited to pull of a gun, As I was watching him I was thinking what point am I justified to take his life if need be? Do I have to wait till he branish the weapon or was the verbal " I am going to shoot you" with using his fingers enough to justify action?

I did think to drive away however I did worry he may try to follow me again and this time pull out a gun. So I waited in my car to see if he would just monkey dance and blow off his steam and leave. Eventually he left. What I feared the most was not him shooting me but me having to defend myself and possibly taking his life.

I like to hear LEO's input, I think I did the right thing by not stepping out and engaging and would like to know if there was anything different I could have done or done better
 

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I'm not an LEO, but I think you did the right thing. You avoid escalating the situation. You stayed alert for any escalation on his part. You thought about contingencies. And nobody got hurt.
That's a win.

The only thing I might have done differently is that I'd have called the police (and told him I was doing so, as an incentive to go away). I'd have had my gun in my other hand, but below the window, out of his line of sight.

I think the verbal "I'm going to shoot you" should be enough, especially if he reaches for someplace a gun could be concealed.

Glad things turned out ok.
 
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oaktree

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I had my phone out ready to call, I didn't have my gun with me and I had a friend who went through a similar situation and he had his gun pointed below like you said.

I am just glad my pregnant wife wasn't in the car at the time and have my gun I may have just shot. My only means of defense as I was thinking was if he did pull the gun near the window, to peel out and try to hit him with the car. It's a difficult situation to be put in especially life and death
 

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I'm not an LEO, but I think you did the right thing. You avoid escalating the situation. You stayed alert for any escalation on his part. You thought about contingencies. And nobody got hurt.
That's a win.

The only thing I might have done differently is that I'd have called the police (and told him I was doing so, as an incentive to go away). I'd have had my gun in my other hand, but below the window, out of his line of sight.

I think the verbal "I'm going to shoot you" should be enough, especially if he reaches for someplace a gun could be concealed.

Glad things turned out ok.
I agree with these points. If I'd had my gun with me, that would have been a valid point to put it in my hand, though I'd have avoided brandishing (showing it to him). And, yes, call the police immediately. As DD says, this can be a deterrent. Beyond that, you won't have time to call them during an actual altercation, so best to call them when it looks highly probable, so maybe they show up in time. It probably also helps to be the one who gives the first version of the situation, during that call.

There's always a defensive problem in these scenarios. Staying in the car avoids common fights and doesn't escalate the situation, but it also leaves you more vulnerable should they actually have a weapon (even something to break the window). If there's going to be violence, you'd want to be out of the car, but getting out makes that violence more likely.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice. I am no longer in law enforcement either, and haven't been in many years. However, this is my opinion.

Last night had a guy follow me to place were my wife worked. As he got out of the car I could tell by his "wanna be gangster clothes" he was up to no good. As I sat in the car locking my doors he told me to step out of the car of course not knowing if he was carrying a weapon or had other people in his car I smiled and declined he then talked about shooting me and made gun gestures with his hands to my window. Now things became a lot real.

I don't know what your circumstances were, but in similar experiences, I did not let anyone approach my car on foot after a road-rage incident. Once they are at your car door, your options are very limited. In my case, I backed up my car and left as soon as he got out of his car. I did not let him get near me.

I had made up my mind that if I had no other way to leave, I would drive right over him. Full speed, gun it, smash him with my car. Damned right.

Why? I am in fear of my life at that point. It is night, I have no idea what he has in his hands, he has demonstrated he is very angry and he is coming right at me. I tried to escape by driving away from him but [insert reason here] could not, so I ran him over.

I watched him carefully waiting to see if he would attack the window, or waited to pull of a gun, As I was watching him I was thinking what point am I justified to take his life if need be? Do I have to wait till he branish the weapon or was the verbal " I am going to shoot you" with using his fingers enough to justify action?

Too late, you're dead. Doesn't matter at that point.

I did think to drive away however I did worry he may try to follow me again and this time pull out a gun. So I waited in my car to see if he would just monkey dance and blow off his steam and leave. Eventually he left. What I feared the most was not him shooting me but me having to defend myself and possibly taking his life.

Driving away would have been a very good thing to do, IMHO. Depending on where and when you were located, driving with lights on bright, horn blaring, getting lots of attention. I always know where I am in relationship to my local PD and I will drive right into the parking lot if need be. I will stay on main roads, avoid residential areas and back roads, look for bright lights and lots of people around.

I like to hear LEO's input, I think I did the right thing by not stepping out and engaging and would like to know if there was anything different I could have done or done better

Don't get out of the car. Don't let the guy near your car. Do what you have to do to escape. Drive away using whatever escape route you have, even if you have to make one by merging him with the tarmac.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I had my phone out ready to call, I didn't have my gun with me and I had a friend who went through a similar situation and he had his gun pointed below like you said.

I am just glad my pregnant wife wasn't in the car at the time and have my gun I may have just shot. My only means of defense as I was thinking was if he did pull the gun near the window, to peel out and try to hit him with the car. It's a difficult situation to be put in especially life and death

For what it may be worth, holding up your phone with a photo of his license plate can calm down certain situations. I don't like to let anyone near my car, but when I've seen others near me in road-rage situations, the first thing I do is get a photo of the angry guy's license plate. They have seen me doing this a time or two and decided to drive away flipping everyone off instead of continuing to berate whomever it was they were angry at.

For some reasons, it calms folks right down when they realize if they continue they are definitely going to jail, lose their job, etc.
 

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Last night had a guy follow me to place were my wife worked. As he got out of the car I could tell by his "wanna be gangster clothes" he was up to no good. As I sat in the car locking my doors he told me to step out of the car of course not knowing if he was carrying a weapon or had other people in his car I smiled and declined he then talked about shooting me and made gun gestures with his hands to my window. Now things became a lot real.

I watched him carefully waiting to see if he would attack the window, or waited to pull of a gun, As I was watching him I was thinking what point am I justified to take his life if need be? Do I have to wait till he branish the weapon or was the verbal " I am going to shoot you" with using his fingers enough to justify action?

I did think to drive away however I did worry he may try to follow me again and this time pull out a gun. So I waited in my car to see if he would just monkey dance and blow off his steam and leave. Eventually he left. What I feared the most was not him shooting me but me having to defend myself and possibly taking his life.

I like to hear LEO's input, I think I did the right thing by not stepping out and engaging and would like to know if there was anything different I could have done or done better
Why'd the guy follow you?
 

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drive to a cop shop. If he wants to get out and gangster there. Then good luck to nim.
 
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oaktree

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Why'd the guy follow you?
Supposedly I cut him off, however, there was more than a car length in front of him, turn signal was on notifying my intent to turn so driving protocol was followed as I did not side swipe or cut in front of him causing him to swivel or even have him honk which is why it was strange he pulled in front of me.
 

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Supposedly I cut him off, however, there was more than a car length in front of him, turn signal was on notifying my intent to turn so driving protocol was followed as I did not side swipe or cut in front of him causing him to swivel or even have him honk which is why it was strange he pulled in front of me.
So all you did was cut a guy off and he was so pissed off he followed you to work? And he pulled in front of you, but followed you? Doesn't add up. I don't get it.

It seems like you handled the situation fine after the fact, but it also seems like you should give some thought to what you can do in the future to avoid angering other drivers to the point they follow you to work.
 

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Standard caveat that I am not a lawyer and not providing legal advice applies...

I don't know (and really don't care) what precipated the incident. You handled it pretty darn well; nobody got hurt and nobody went to jail. Things I might have done differently, were I in that situation, might include driving to a police -- or even better, fire, since they're more likely to be there -- station, while calling it in; pulling out of the lot without engaging the guy; driving somewhere other than my regular destinations (do you want some yahoo like that to know where you work/live/exercise?); confronting the guy, maybe with an apology to blow him off his script.

When might you have been justified in employing force against him? Let's remember a basic definition for a defense of justification in the case of self defense: You may use the force reasonably necessary to safely resolve the situation. Some of the factors that go into determining reasonably include imminence of the attack, your reasonable belief that the attacker can carry out an implied threat (ability), and your options other than using force - especially lethal force (preclusion). Let's try to analyze this encounter along the way, and see if we can pinpoint when you might be able to articulate a justification for what level of force... (Yeah, folks, this is what articulation comes down to. Practice it often, because when you need it, you won't be thinking straight.)

Some sort of traffic incident happened, and the other driver followed you to your destination.
Force presented to you? Nothing really, he's just following you. Might be time to change your destination, but you probably can't justify pulling a Secret Service ramming reversal and escape yet. Or winging shots out your window as you drive on... (Yeah, hyperbole, quite confident it wouldn't have entered your mind to do either.)

You're both in the lot, and you realize he's followed you there.
Has he blocked you in, or can you drive on? Unless he's blocking you in, he still hasn't really done anything other than follow you. Not much justification for using force yet, huh? If he's blocked you in, maybe... but you might want to wait to be able to better articulate an ill intent towards you. After all, he might just have been stopped behind you looking for a space (I know, unlikely, perhaps, but not unreasonable) or he might have been trying to tell you about a flat tire or other issue with your car (again, unlikely, but not unreasonable).

He exits his car. Things are escalating. You can read and interpret his body language tolerably well; there's a difference between someone coming up to warn you about your car and someone ticked off at you. I'd encourage calling the cops now. Takes time to get through, takes time for cops to get there might want to get that clock started. Also, especially with speakerphones on a cell phone, it's easy to give a play by play to dispatch. But you're probably still not really justified in using much force. Your options are limited (you're in your car, you may or may not be armed...) since your mobility is limited. You're probably not justified in running him down just to get away without really making a solid case for why you feared significant bodily harm... is weapon visible? is he alone? His shooting gesture isn't the same as brandishing a real gun; nobody's been killed by a pointer finger gun yet, as far as I know... But... Pair that shooting gesture with a motion towards a waist band as if to access a gun? Maybe. A lot depends on how you describe that motion. A visible gun? Certainly has escalated things. So... are you precluded still? Depends. Can you drive away? Can you drive away with only property damage? (which is more valuable a life or somebody's planters?) Can your car power through what might be in front of or alongside you? All of that figures into whether or not you could articulate either driving over or at him, or shooting him -- because the way you apply lethal force (force likely to cause serious bodily injury or death) doesn't matter.

So... as you can see, not a yes or no, bright line point... and I'll bet the whole encounter was probably less than a couple of minutes once you were in the lot.

Let's look at a variable... what if you exited the vehicle? Your escape options may increase (you can't drive through a parking garage wall, but you can run along it) as well as your force options... but you become much more vulnerable, too. Your car may not be cover (it won't stop bullets in any meaningful way, unless you happen to have armored your car!), but it's still a heck of a barrier for a person to overcome in grabbing or striking you. Now you have a new range of articulations to deal with. And I guarantee that the first thing an opposing attorney will ask is going to be along the lines of "if you were so afraid of my client, why did you get out of your car?"
 

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So all you did was cut a guy off and he was so pissed off he followed you to work? And he pulled in front of you, but followed you? Doesn't add up. I don't get it.

It seems like you handled the situation fine after the fact, but it also seems like you should give some thought to what you can do in the future to avoid angering other drivers to the point they follow you to work.
Happens more than you might think, Steve. People feel safe and inviolable in their cars -- and they can take the actions of other drivers very personally -- especially if they're already stressed (like, oh, dealing with holiday shopping and traffic) or the supposedly offending driver violated some perceived norm of behavior like being in the wrong neighborhood, driving the wrong car (part of including this here is the OP's original description of "wanna be gangster clothes"), or there are other factors priming the pump (like showing off for buddies in the car).
 

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I'd like to be clear that I'm very interested in what precipitated the encounter, because, to me, that's self defense.

If we can have discussions about what a coed can do differently to avoid being raped at a frat party, we can surely have a discussion about what a driver can do differently to avoid inviting an incident like this. That is, of course, presuming we can get the entire story, which I don't believe we have.
 

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Happens more than you might think, Steve. People feel safe and inviolable in their cars -- and they can take the actions of other drivers very personally -- especially if they're already stressed (like, oh, dealing with holiday shopping and traffic) or the supposedly offending driver violated some perceived norm of behavior like being in the wrong neighborhood, driving the wrong car (part of including this here is the OP's original description of "wanna be gangster clothes"), or there are other factors priming the pump (like showing off for buddies in the car).
Sure. But at the same time, if we throw our hands up in the air and say, "I wasn't doing anything and was just a poor victim" then that's exactly what you are. I prefer to focus on what I can do,to avoid the situation in the future.

And a lane change as described above by oak tree. Come on. "Gee. I don't know what happened! I was just minding my own business and, gosh, a gangster who was clearly up to no good followed me to work."

On another note, seems like I was being told in another thread that road rage doesn't happen often at all. I'll have to dig that up, as I can't recall off the top of my head. Edit: it was juany in the mma as a test for martial arts thread.
 
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Most people are saying here you did the right thing and sure knowing what we know now yeah it was but honestly I think you should've acted.

He made a threat to kill you and you were obviously worried about it. As soon as he made that threat I'd have made a move. Because if he had a gun the best chance is to stop him before he takes it out if he did have a gun and had drawn it you wouldn't have been able to do much. You talked taking his life but you had no reason to at that point as soon as he made the threat I'd have jumped out pin his to him so he couldn't reach for anything then put him in a wrist lock get him to the ground and get someone to call the cops.
 

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Sure. But at the same time, if we throw our hands up in the air and say, "I wasn't doing anything and was just a poor victim" then that's exactly what you are. I prefer to focus on what I can do,to avoid the situation in the future.

And a lane change as described above by oak tree. Come on. "Gee. I don't know what happened! I was just minding my own business and, gosh, a gangster who was clearly up to no good followed me to work."

On another note, seems like I was being told in another thread that road rage doesn't happen often at all. I'll have to dig that up, as I can't recall off the top of my head.
It's going to be hard to document. No cops in this account, for example. I've responded to plenty that were cleared service, so wouldn't easily show up in stats without someone digging.

And I'm not assuming complete innocence; most of these start with some crossed wires. "I had my signal on, I had a gap, I changed lanes" -- from one side. From the other "the guy wanted to change lanes, I was moving faster than him, and I had to ease off/slow down/brake/he invaded 'my' following space..." Often, if we had an objective source, like a traffic camera that happens to catch the incident, neither is truly wrong (or right) -- it's just crossed signals. Complicated by other frustrations and factors in the mix. I'm reminded of an old Disney cartoon...
 

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Standard caveat that I am not a lawyer and not providing legal advice applies...

I don't know (and really don't care) what precipated the incident. You handled it pretty darn well; nobody got hurt and nobody went to jail. Things I might have done differently, were I in that situation, might include driving to a police -- or even better, fire, since they're more likely to be there -- station, while calling it in; pulling out of the lot without engaging the guy; driving somewhere other than my regular destinations (do you want some yahoo like that to know where you work/live/exercise?); confronting the guy, maybe with an apology to blow him off his script.

When might you have been justified in employing force against him? Let's remember a basic definition for a defense of justification in the case of self defense: You may use the force reasonably necessary to safely resolve the situation. Some of the factors that go into determining reasonably include imminence of the attack, your reasonable belief that the attacker can carry out an implied threat (ability), and your options other than using force - especially lethal force (preclusion). Let's try to analyze this encounter along the way, and see if we can pinpoint when you might be able to articulate a justification for what level of force... (Yeah, folks, this is what articulation comes down to. Practice it often, because when you need it, you won't be thinking straight.)

Some sort of traffic incident happened, and the other driver followed you to your destination.
Force presented to you? Nothing really, he's just following you. Might be time to change your destination, but you probably can't justify pulling a Secret Service ramming reversal and escape yet. Or winging shots out your window as you drive on... (Yeah, hyperbole, quite confident it wouldn't have entered your mind to do either.)

You're both in the lot, and you realize he's followed you there.
Has he blocked you in, or can you drive on? Unless he's blocking you in, he still hasn't really done anything other than follow you. Not much justification for using force yet, huh? If he's blocked you in, maybe... but you might want to wait to be able to better articulate an ill intent towards you. After all, he might just have been stopped behind you looking for a space (I know, unlikely, perhaps, but not unreasonable) or he might have been trying to tell you about a flat tire or other issue with your car (again, unlikely, but not unreasonable).

He exits his car. Things are escalating. You can read and interpret his body language tolerably well; there's a difference between someone coming up to warn you about your car and someone ticked off at you. I'd encourage calling the cops now. Takes time to get through, takes time for cops to get there might want to get that clock started. Also, especially with speakerphones on a cell phone, it's easy to give a play by play to dispatch. But you're probably still not really justified in using much force. Your options are limited (you're in your car, you may or may not be armed...) since your mobility is limited. You're probably not justified in running him down just to get away without really making a solid case for why you feared significant bodily harm... is weapon visible? is he alone? His shooting gesture isn't the same as brandishing a real gun; nobody's been killed by a pointer finger gun yet, as far as I know... But... Pair that shooting gesture with a motion towards a waist band as if to access a gun? Maybe. A lot depends on how you describe that motion. A visible gun? Certainly has escalated things. So... are you precluded still? Depends. Can you drive away? Can you drive away with only property damage? (which is more valuable a life or somebody's planters?) Can your car power through what might be in front of or alongside you? All of that figures into whether or not you could articulate either driving over or at him, or shooting him -- because the way you apply lethal force (force likely to cause serious bodily injury or death) doesn't matter.

So... as you can see, not a yes or no, bright line point... and I'll bet the whole encounter was probably less than a couple of minutes once you were in the lot.

Let's look at a variable... what if you exited the vehicle? Your escape options may increase (you can't drive through a parking garage wall, but you can run along it) as well as your force options... but you become much more vulnerable, too. Your car may not be cover (it won't stop bullets in any meaningful way, unless you happen to have armored your car!), but it's still a heck of a barrier for a person to overcome in grabbing or striking you. Now you have a new range of articulations to deal with. And I guarantee that the first thing an opposing attorney will ask is going to be along the lines of "if you were so afraid of my client, why did you get out of your car?"
Also, if he got out of his car, what's his wife doing in the car? He might improve his options to escape in theory, but as a practical matter, he's not likely to leave his wife, so he's just putting himself at more risk. Isn't he?
 

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It's going to be hard to document. No cops in this account, for example. I've responded to plenty that were cleared service, so wouldn't easily show up in stats without someone digging.

And I'm not assuming complete innocence; most of these start with some crossed wires. "I had my signal on, I had a gap, I changed lanes" -- from one side. From the other "the guy wanted to change lanes, I was moving faster than him, and I had to ease off/slow down/brake/he invaded 'my' following space..." Often, if we had an objective source, like a traffic camera that happens to catch the incident, neither is truly wrong (or right) -- it's just crossed signals. Complicated by other frustrations and factors in the mix. I'm reminded of an old Disney cartoon...
Exactly. I don't disagree with your posts at all. I'm simply suggesting that if the purpose of the thread is to examine the event, it would be helpful to the op to consider the role he played in it. And we can't do that if he isn't being entirely up front about what happened.

Once again, other than not calling the cops, I think he handled it well after things got out of hand. What might he have done to keep things from getting out of hand in the first place?
 

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I'd like to be clear that I'm very interested in what precipitated the encounter, because, to me, that's self defense.

If we can have discussions about what a coed can do differently to avoid being raped at a frat party, we can surely have a discussion about what a driver can do differently to avoid inviting an incident like this. That is, of course, presuming we can get the entire story, which I don't believe we have.
In the big picture, I agree. Understanding why these incidents happen is important. In answering oak tree's original questions... not so much. It's easy to say "avoid the whole mess..." and take that to a hyperbolic extreme of never leave the house lest you inadvertently offend someone... But for this instance, he was there. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt over the guy who followed him and threatened him, absent some reason to suspect he's omitted a detail like giving the other driver the finger as they passed.
 
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