This is a topic that comes up quite a bit, despite statistics, when I'm talking with friends about safely carrying handguns. We all experience road rage to some extent every so often, whether we are the ones projecting the rage or we are on the receiving end. Is it wise to carry a gun then?
I protest that it is wise, regardless, and if we're experiencing road rage, What can we do about it?
Before reaching for your gun, there are some things to consider. If you're the one projecting the rage, take a second to breathe and sweat out some of the anger for a second. Ask yourself this important question: Am I escalating this situation to a point that might prevent me from making it home tonight?If you are, chances are that escalating the situation any further won't get you anything that you want. When you go to give the bird to that person in the left lane doing 55, instead give them a nod and a wave and thank them for taking traffic control into their own hands and getting in your way. If you're the one on the receiving end, then try to remain calm, your reaction could infuse or defuse the other motorist rather quickly. While your instinct might be to return fire, maybe try something similar to this woman's advice before reaching for your gun. Of course, if the situation breaks and sends you into a red zone, life threatening situation, then your gun is there for you to help keep you alive. One afternoon my wife and I were heading north on 183 when traffic built up rapidly and we came to a stop. After about twenty minutes we were moving again, when some jack@ss decides to come flying down the shoulder on the right and cut in front of us, forcing me onto the break hard and swerving just to avoid a collision. This sent me over the top. The driver didn't stop and kept swerving in front of me to try to get around more people. I decided that it was appropriate to alert everyone to this person's behavior and so I gave a long extended honk, I laid on the horn for at least 15-20 seconds, which is almost an eternity in this kind of situation. Then my wife reminded of something, "Hey cut it out" she said, "Do you have your gun?"... Hmm... That's interesting, I didn't actually have my gun on me. I wasn't too worried about anything anyways, and just said "meh don't worry, I'm just honking". Suddenly the guy put his truck to a stop and jumped out, he climbed in the back and then I figured, "well damn", and then motioned for my wife to put her head down, because come on, he was probably going to produce a shotgun. Alas, to my relief it was only a tire iron! So here I am staring at this guy, who is in motion about to baseball pitch a steel rod at my car and I look over and see that he has a young child peering through the back window of the truck. I flinched as I grabbed for my cell phone and dialed 911. As it turns out he decided not to throw the item, instead tossed it back into the truck and drove away. I reported his license plates and behavior, and that he had a kid in there with him. Of course, I never heard back from the police. This got me thinking about a lot of things. Well if I had my gun, would I have reached for it? My heart was pounding, but the guy wasn't charging the car, so I wasn't in a red zone yet. If he actually threw the item, that would have done it, because he wouldn't be able to stop then, he would come to my car. More than what happened, what could have happened? I have to consider that I would have reached for my gun at that point, but there still wouldn't have been any shooting, however, without it, if he had decided to escalate the situation and approach the car, there would have been little I could do. I was boxed in, I narrowly avoided rear-ending him and the driver behind me narrowly avoided rear-ending me. There was nowhere to go. Forever more, I rarely go travel anywhere without it. I still honk my horn at people that surprise me, nearly hit me, or are driving like idiots, but I do it in short bursts to just give them the message to wake up, or that they were too close that time.
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