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Old January 11, 2014, 09:01 PM   #1
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Road Rage Incident In PA

I apologize if this incident has already been covered in another thread but I'm trying to find out what people suggest would be the appropriate tactics for dealing with incident that occurred in Pennsylvania. Apparently in the incident the driver of one vehicle followed the driver of another vehicle for more than 10 miles while ramming and shooting at him. Eventually, the road rage driver ran the other car off the road before shooting the driver to death. The victim apparently had been calling 911 while he was trying to avoid the aggressive driver.

What do people on this forum recommend that the appropriate response would have been being that the deceased driver didn't have a firearm? Also what would be the appropriate response for someone in that situation who did have a firearm but was being pursued a driver who was ramming and shooting at his vehicle?

Here's a news article about incident:
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Old January 11, 2014, 09:09 PM   #2
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Call 911, ask where the nearest officer / station is and which way to close the distance, and slow down a little to ensure vehicle control.
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Old January 11, 2014, 10:31 PM   #3
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This is not too far from where I live. Sobering thought.
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Old January 11, 2014, 10:36 PM   #4
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Heck, even with your CCW Permit, if you show a gun to an enraged motorist, it's a "road rage" incident, and you are the one in trouble!!

Cop one time tried to nail me with "aggressive driving" when I told him "the sign say's yield, NOT surrender"...
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Old January 11, 2014, 10:51 PM   #5
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Okay, this is the Tactics & Training Forum. So the question is whether there is anything we can learn from the incident.
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Old January 11, 2014, 11:10 PM   #6
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Id say learn how to use your car as a weapon, even if you have a gun along.

Getting them in front of you, gives you more options than letting them push you. Assuming theres only one person in the car, they'll have a harder time shooing you too.

I live in central PA, and it can be quite a challenge driving here. For some reason, there are a LOT of control freaks out here, and that bleeds over into the highways, making driving quite the aggravating experience sometimes. Im really surprised there arent more instances of road rage.
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Old January 12, 2014, 12:29 AM   #7
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Agreed on learning to use your car as a weapon. Knowing when to slam on the brakes is as important as knowing when to hit the gas. If you can make them blow right by you, you may be able to escape or at least gain some valuable distance. Whatever you do, do NOT let them pull directly alongside you. If you cannot prevent them from overtaking you and doing that, slam on the brakes.

I drive a Toyota FJ Cruiser, which has a lot of power and speed for its size (particularly if you add the TRD Cold Air Intake). In situations like that, I may take advantage of my offroad capabilities to go places my pursuer cannot. I can cross dirt medians and drive over curbs that would slow or disable a lesser vehicle.
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Old January 12, 2014, 02:21 AM   #8
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Road rage events, stress....

There are a few lessons this incident can provide.
A lot like the NY area biker attack last year(2013).
Common sense & good judgement are a start.
Avoid aggressive drivers or vehicles you see swerve/drive unsafe.
In reality, some drivers are just obnoxious or distracted(phones, texting, radio, eating, yelling, etc). Your honk or lane change may set them off. Just hang back if you can & avoid them. If you can get the vehicle's tag # & description. Note the location of the incident too. It will help dispatchers or troopers find the area or know where the responding officers can intercept the road rager.
Use tablet DV/cell phone video to document the actions.
I'd keep a spare, small cell phone as a back-up. If you are run off the road or you wreck, you'll have quick access to either phone to get aid.
Id get into the habit of having a extra extended pistol magazine or 2 also. If you run dry or get into a protracted incident you may need the extra rounds.
If you get into a road rage incident & it looks like you'll be attacked, be ready to act quickly & decisively. Use cover & try to put the road rager/attacker at a disadvantage.
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Old January 12, 2014, 04:59 AM   #9
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A few things of note:

Caliber: You want a heavier caliber in case you need to shoot through a car door. Army tests with submachine guns have shown that 9mm sometimes has a problem penetrating car doors, and can deflect significantly, but .45 ACP goes through like a hot knife through butter.

Ammo type: You should consider using FMJ for the same reasons. You need something that will penetrate and hit the bad guy.

Gun type: You want a soft-recoiling gun for better control, as you may need to shoot it one-handed while driving. This also reduces the risk of accidentally dropping it.
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Old January 12, 2014, 05:44 AM   #10
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If he was pursued for ten miles, wouldn't there be the possibility of going to a populated area where many people were around? How about driving to a police station?
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Old January 12, 2014, 05:59 AM   #11
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Road rage freaks me out.

It is one of those behaviours that is pretty unpredictable (OK, some cars seem to scream "My driver has esteem issues"), and as the term suggests, people react out of all proportionality and rationality.

Cars often magnify people's faults but not necessarily their virtues and seem to be a conduit, like the internet, for actions/attitudes that they would usually not be prone to. I see A LOT of it here: there is a fairly common neanderthaliod macho-man mentality in this country. Some guys never get passed puberty...

When I ride my motorbike, I very often have been subjected to aggressive, hazardous driving. On two wheels my only option is evasion. Agility and acceleration are my friends.

In the case of that poor driver, evasion is made harder, especially if the antagonist was driving one of the very large models you often see in the States.

If possible and if speed is not your strong suit, then trying to manoeuvre so that your car is on the other side from the driver to make shooting harder. Make lots of turns. If vehicle size is equal or in your favour, try and get behind and nudge the rear wing, hopefully causing the other car to spin around the engine block's axis.

All hypothetical and very hard to do under pressure, but what else can you do?
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Old January 12, 2014, 06:27 AM   #12
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Caliber: You want a heavier caliber in case you need to shoot through a car door. Army tests with submachine guns have shown that 9mm sometimes has a problem penetrating car doors, and can deflect significantly, but .45 ACP goes through like a hot knife through butter.
I found just the opposite to be true.

Back in the mid 70's, my buddys uncle had a junk yard, and we shot into a number of late 60, early 70's vintage cars, using .45acp, 9mm, .357mag and .44mag, and the .45acp had the most trouble getting through the doors, especially when it encountered the heavy steel cross members they started to put in the doors back then. The 9mm usually zipped right through, and through the 3/4" piece of plywood that was our "target" inside. Some made it through the door on the other side. Both the 9mm and .45 we were using were FMJ. The .357's results were very similar to the 9mm, and the .44's usually had no troubles getting through both sides. The .357's and .44's were a mix of JHP and LSWC's.
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Old January 12, 2014, 08:04 AM   #13
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The victim was from a local town, so the story has gotten a lot of press here in Maine. Very sad. He was at a huge disadvantage because it was late at night, and he was driving in a rural area that he didn't know.

Plus he was trying to avoid the shooter while calling the police. I doubt he even knew where to find a populated area. And he was unarmed. Keep in mind that he was driving back to Maine from Florida. That route takes you through either NY or NJ, and MA. So legal carry would have been a real challenge.
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Old January 12, 2014, 08:15 AM   #14
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WardenWolf wrote:
Army tests with submachine guns have shown that 9mm sometimes has a problem penetrating car doors, and can deflect significantly, but .45 ACP goes through like a hot knife through butter.
I have never heard of this test.
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Old January 12, 2014, 09:11 AM   #15
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Apparently, the pursuer only fired on the victim when he had a stationary target.
As much time as we spend in our cars, maybe knowing how to drive better would have helped.
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Old January 12, 2014, 09:51 AM   #16
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As much time as we spend in our cars, maybe knowing how to drive better would have helped.
Theres knowing how to drive, and theres knowing how to purposely annoy. Not saying that was the case here, but it does seem to happen quite a bit.

As I said, there are a lot of people around here who are control freaks, and I suppose for many, the only power they have in their lives, is when they are in their cars, and unfortunately, ahead of you.

Around here, one of the big games is, drive 40 in a 55 (when most want to go 70+) and when one of the few passing zones pops up, and the person behind you, who has been going nuts just poking along on your bumper, wants to pass, they speed up and wont let you pass, matching your speed, until the passing zone runs out and you have to drop back, then its back to 15 miles under the limit.

Another game is get in the passing lane on the four lane, and do the speed limit, next to someone in the right lane who is also doing the speed limit (or under). PA has a law that the left lane is for passing only, and its fairly well posted on the main highways, but I have yet to see it enforced.

I drive a lot for work, and Ive seen quite a bit this going on, and of carrying on between people over stuff like this, but usually nothing more than words and gestures. We did have a shooting locally a couple of years back over it. It too happened after a prolonged drive/chase, and when they finally stopped at the intersection of a busy highway.

I think your best bet, it to "try" and contain your anger, and use your head. Most people dont think of using their car as a weapon, and I suppose most people arent of the mindset to think about using anything as a weapon, at least until its to late. I dont think when its happening, is the time to try and figure it out.
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Old January 12, 2014, 11:13 AM   #17
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Not the military study, as I can't find the link, but here's a civilian testing handgun rounds against a Buick:

Now, note that all rounds penetrated, even 9mm. Point is, your car offers next to no protection from handgun rounds. Your best bet is to try to place multiple layers in between you and the shooter. The trunk of a car, the bed and back cab of a pickup, the spare tire, rear door, and multiple rows of seats of an SUV.
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Old January 12, 2014, 12:24 PM   #18
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Rounds, PD sub-stations....

First, contacting LE or the area's highway patrol are good ideas but pulling into a office/troop barracks/sub-station may not always work.
Many rural sheriffs departments, state police or patrol troops and/or other government offices may not be occupied/open 24/07/365.

Some state agencies use troop offices rarely & just go there to get patrol vehicles serviced or review reports/paperwork then they split.
Many US police agencies have budget cuts or are under-strength so I wouldn't count on a small sub-station or building being the "best" place to run to in a road rage event.

I would agree with using a handgun or weapon you might need to use one-handed. A high cap magazine helps lower recoil & gives you more shots. A laser-aimer/white-light could help too but mostly in low light events.
Using FMJs or +P+ type rounds in extra magazines is smart.
I plan to buy a new 9x19mm pistol soon to carry on security details. I'll load Hornady Critical Duty +P 135gr in my regular magazine & then carry 2 extra mags with either PowRball, Ranger T 124gr 9mmNATO or Buffalo Bore's powerful 9mm +P+ FMJ 124gr Penetrator.
It's important too, not to panic or emotional. If you drive erratic you may injury or hit someone then look like your at fault.
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Old January 12, 2014, 01:33 PM   #19
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Always remember that the one who initiates action usually has the upper hand.

In the case of being pursued, . . . your brakes and your rear view mirror are your friends, . . .

Accelerate and pull away, . . . but let him think he's catching you, . . . and slam on the brakes, . . . make him rear end you.

Generally speaking the rear car makes out worse, . . . possibly losing a front tire, tie rod, radiator, headlights, . . . which can end the chase if not right there, . . . a few miles down the road as the engine seizes up, . . . tire goes flat, . . . etc.

But even if they pull along side of you, . . . a quick braking action, and turning into their rear quarter panel, . . . can flip their vehicle.

Remember, . . . the winner is almost always the one that got aggressive enough, . . . quickly enough.

I was chased by a teen aged thug a number of years ago, . . . I was afraid he had a gun, . . . and as he came up behind me in a slight left hand curve, . . . I allowed him to get his front bumber almost to my drivers door when I took the left lane, . . . the wrecker had to play out just about all the steel cable they had to drag him out of the corn field.

Running almost never solves the problem, . . . confronting it might get you hurt, . . . but at least by confronting and acting, . . . your future is in your hands, . . . not his.

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Old January 12, 2014, 02:41 PM   #20
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Remember children, the "stars" come out at night. Lonely roads in the wee small hours is one way to enhance your risk experience. Some of us appreciate the fact that our world is not as safe as some would have us believe.
If you whistle your way down enough dark alleys, someone is bound to hear you. Have a care! Darwin and the Devil snare whom they may. This is a cautionary tale at best.
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Old January 12, 2014, 08:28 PM   #21
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I don't think it's a good idea to think that you're going to be driving 55 miles an hour on a dark rural road and trying to shoot one handed at the same time. It's a nice romantic gesture of self-defense, but how many of us have the driving AND shooting skills to do it?

My mom grew up in an area where road rage was very bad, and although her teaching me to drive was a pain (I hate doing more than 5 over the speed limit) I did learn some things to minimize it. Stay out of the left lane if you're not doing a decent number of the speed limit. If someone comes flying up behind you, just let them over and let them do whatever insane speed they want to be doing. If you're on a two lane road and you see someone behind you driving erratically, in my opinion, it might be the better option to do a few over the speed limit until you can find a place to pull off and let them pass, as usually that will help pacify them if you're like me and like to do exactly as the signs say.

If someone's acting very aggressively for a long time, get on the phone with 911. Some cars, like our Kia, have a system built in that will connect to your phone through bluetooth and allow you to call simply by pressing a button on your steering wheel. This is preferable to a handheld flip phone because it leaves both hands free.

Your car is a weapon. Also, think outside the box. People have a tendency to follow societal rules even in emergencies (Pax at the corneredcat has done a good article on this, and I like to point to the Station Night club fire where people were trampled to death all insisting on exiting the way they came in) but do you have other options? Can you get into the oncoming lane and slam your breaks? Can you cross a median they can't? Does your car have offroad capabilities, and if so, are there any chances for you to leave the main road long enough to escape?

Finally, my gun does ride with me in the car when I go places. It's in its gun case (must be "securely encased" in Florida and it doesn't fit in the center console) and I have it loaded full 16+1 with an extra 15 rounds of 9mm JHP. I don't imagine I'll likely have to shoot it one handed while driving, but there are road rage cases of people being followed home and cornered at stop lights where they're shot or pulled out of their car and beaten.
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Old January 12, 2014, 10:27 PM   #22
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This was a difficult situation for the victim because he was likely driving in unfamiliar territory late at night and in bad weather with icy roads.

Maybe the take-away is to try to drive unfamiliar roads in the daylight hours so you are less likely to be alone on the road with a homicidal lunatic.

It seems like the victim's SUV should have been able to out-drive a Ford Ranger pickup. I owned a Ranger once and it was no speed demon.

In hindsight, it might be a good tactic to speed up and drive as fast as possible while flashing the hazard lights. This might get the attention of a highway patrol officer if he is waiting to enforce the speed limit. Otherwise, try to maneuver to the rear of the assailant so he will have less opportunity to shoot.

If the assailant is to your rear, throw things out your window to distract him. Any heavy object might crack his windshield and cause some distraction but you also run the risk of enraging him further.

If you have a gun and you can not outrun the perp, then you might need to exit the vehicle and take cover in a field. Then, be prepared to defend yourself if he pursues you.
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Old January 12, 2014, 10:29 PM   #23
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I appreciate posts like these because they remind me to appreciate where I live that much more. I can't imagine spending my life in a place where I may get murdered for frustrating a fellow motorist.
So many little time....
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Old January 12, 2014, 11:14 PM   #24
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I have been the victim of a few incidents of road rage where people were following me. Here are some of the tactics I tried to lose them:

One time I jammed on the brakes to lock up forcing the other driver to pass me. Then I slowed to half the limit. The other driver slowed and we were almost at a stop on a 45 mph highway and a big rig sounded its horn. Thats when the other driver pulled into a gas station and I floored it losing him.

Another time I was being followed in a city and made a dangerous right turn at a red with a no red turn sign.

Quite a while back I drove a Mustang 5 liter and there was a Caddy following me. I had that car up to 130 losing them and then ducked into a rest area watching as the Caddy flew by.

When people want to get you its amazing what Dukes of Hazard style driving they are willing to do with their car. Try not to anger anyone on the road, but if you are on the road a lot like me its not a matter of if but when. Eventually you will cut someone off by mistake.
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Old January 13, 2014, 12:12 AM   #25
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From what I read, it was around 2A.M. How do you put someone in such a rage at 2A.M.? Was there really that much traffic? I don't think it was road rage. I think it was either a sick game, or premeditated. Harder to track down someone close if it was done on a highway.
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