Road rage. What would you have done?
Okay, so I thought about this for a while before I posting it. I'm going to do my best to describe everything that happened so both sides are clear.
The other night a friend and I were heading back into town. I was merging off the interstate onto a 4 lane highway that was fairly crowded with traffic. I was forced to merge in front of a car that was most likely 3-4 car lengths behind me, but because of his speed, I most likely caused him to have to brake (though not severely). Rather than pass me, he stayed on my bumper close enough to where I could not see his headlights. I then merged, into the passing lane, hoping he would pass me. Instead he merged with me and proceeded to tailgate. About a quarter mile from where I merged is a stop light. When we stopped, the guy proceeded to lay on his horn. Now this is where the fault on us comes in. Unbeknownst to me, my "friend" (I actually haven't talked to him since) gave the man the one finger salute out his window. The light turned green and he followed us for another quarter mile where I was stopping at a gas station. When I realized he was going to follow us in, I turned on the video camera on my phone. I came to a stop and he jumped out and walked to the passenger side of the car and began yelling at my friend. "I'm not in the mood," "who do you think you are?" And so on. The buddy stayed calm and explained his part, that we were just trying to merge and there was no need to tailgate and honk.
That was when the man came back with "do you want to live or die tonight" and at the same time reached behind his back. My buddy is a big guy (6'3 and 280lbs) and rather than back down he stepped forward, put his hand on his .380 in his front right pocket and asked "are you threatening me?" At this point I'm walking around the other side of the car. There was a car full of people behind me and behind him. I'm trying to clear line of fire both behind the guy and behind me. I also put my hand on my USPc which was small of back but nothing more. The guy seemed surprised that my buddy didn't back down and paused. My friend asked the same question and the guy backed down. He said "no I'm not threatening you" and got back in his car. He backed out of the parking lot and took off. He didn't have a front license plate so I was unable to get a number.
So, I apologize for the very long write up. This is the first time since I've started carrying that I remotely felt like I might need my firearm. I also wanted to give as much background as I could so anyone who wants to share an opinion can see where I should have done something different.
Some key elements:
I have crappy friends, and without them I probably would have avoided this.
As fast as it happened, I was thankful that I was smart enough to position myself to where if I became a target, I didn't have anyone behind me and I was able to move where there was no longer anyone behind him.
Neither of us drew, and it seemed like the fact alone that we didn't back down surprised him. Most likely he expected to scare us and didn't have any weapon at all.
Since we did not get a plate number and no weapons were seen we did not call the police.
So now I ask. What could/should I have done. Be brutal, I don't care. Keep in mind that I understand that the largest and crucial mistake was my friend giving the finger. This instigated the entire incident. However, this was beyond my control. I'm asking for opinions as if you were in my shoes.
Thank you all!