Road Rage in Texas
“You’re always responsible for how you behave, regardless of how you feel.”
These words are very true, especially if you’ve ever experienced driving in Texas. I chose this quote because it perfectly illustrates what I have taught for years.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Texas leads the nation in deadly and violent road rage incidents. If you live here, you see the bad behavior every day. Just this week a man has been charged with pointing a firearm at another driver as she caught it on video.
I cannot claim to understand why we are so angry when we slide behind the wheel. I can say, it starts with each of us controlling our own behavior. This is something I teach in my License to Carry classes.
We are busy, there is a ton of traffic, lots of bad drivers, and don’t get me started on the ladies putting on makeup! However, that should not control us. We allow our emotions to get so out of control that we literally scream at other cars, spew profanities and show hand gestures to anyone who doesn’t drive as fast as we do, or who squeezes in front of us when their lane runs out. It is frustrating dealing with rude, inconsiderate, pre-occupied idiots on the road, but do we really need to be one of them? Its not about you and it isn’t personal, unless you make it personal.
I personally don’t like other people controlling me. I’m in charge of that. But if we allow their actions, for whatever reason, to anger us, we give them control. This is a dangerous place to be especially while driving. When we drive, we see cars, not people. Its easy to stop thinking of other drivers as human beings. I get that, and I have felt and experienced that myself. Regardless of what you feel, I want to talk about some reasons it’s a really BAD idea to flash a weapon in traffic.
I mentioned a story earlier about a road rage incident which happened over the weekend. It isn’t unique. In fact, I see things like this on the news weekly. Many time we don’t hear what ends up happening to the driver who points a gun or shoots someone else while driving. Fortunately, in this situation nobody was shot, or wrecked, but that isn’t always the case. Below are some reasons you need to think twice about threatening behavior on the road.
- If you do have a firearm in your vehicle, and someone else calls 911 and says you pointed a gun at them, you WILL be investigated. There may be no charges, you may be 100% legal and cleared of anything. But do you need that kind of publicity? It will go on the local news and social media. Your family, friends, and possibly your employer, colleagues and clients will know about it. Bogus or not, you will be judged in the court of public opinion. The news may not portray you in a good light, even if the other driver is lying. The news only wants viewers, they don’t care how it affects your life.
- Unfortunately, anyone can sue you for anything. People will sue you if they think they can get something from you. If you drive an expensive car, a marked company vehicle, or use an aggressive maneuver on the road, it could cause people mental anguish or to be late for work. Frivolous law suits happen all the time and you don’t need the headache or expense of hiring an attorney.
- You could be in hot water legally if you do decide to waive a piece of pipe out the window or point a gun at someone. The License to Carry does NOT provide you the right to point your gun because you are angry at another driver. Even if you are “in fear for your life” and had a legitimate reason for pulling out your gun, you WILL have to answer for your actions. Just like everywhere else you carry your gun. If you use it, show it, point it, or remove it from the holster, you need to be prepared to defend yourself in criminal and civil court. What many people don’t understand is, even though there are defenses in the law for using force and deadly force, it isn’t always an automatic “no charges”, type situation.
- Think about the effect it may have on your ability to work. If you are charged with anything criminally, you will have your License to Carry suspended until the case is resolved. If convicted, it will be revoked. Do you have other professional licenses that could be effected in the same way? Real estate license, teaching, nursing, insurance licenses? Think about it. Those licenses allow you to earn a living. Is a stupid driver really a good reason to risk your ability to provide for your family?
- What about the danger you and another driver pose to other vehicles if you are playing cat and mouse in traffic? It won’t cross your mind at the time, but someone who is obliviously enjoying their music decides to change lanes while you’re gunning it to catch up to someone and you have a problem. If you cause an accident, you are liable.
There is so much more to consider, but you can ponder that on your own. How can we deal with these situations? Well, that’s just it, we all live in this world together and you have to learn to deal with people. Like it or not.
Try changing the time you leave home by just 5 minutes, it could make all the difference in the flow of traffic. Find something to take you mind off traffic and the stresses of life. Find an outlet to take out your frustrations, such as a self-defense class or work out. I challenge you to drive to work tomorrow without cussing, getting your adrenaline pumping or flipping anyone off in traffic. If you feel someone else’s driving is a danger or threat to the safety of others, call 911 and report it. Try putting distance between you and them if possible.
Remember, for every moronic move someone else makes, you have done one too in your lifetime. We are human, not just cars. You won’t remember the car, the situation or what you were mad about once you get to work, so why let it get you there in the first place?
If you want more information on the Use of Force Laws in Texas, feel free to contact us for a private course.