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Posted: 5/22/2002 7:04:16 PM EST
The other day, I had a somewhat [i]invigorating[/i] experience.  I was driving back from the airport and was in a less than patient mood.  (Being stuck on a flying cattle car for 6 hours is something I've never learned to love, no matter how many times I do it.)  I was almost home when the following went down:

It's dark.  I'm on a 2-lane 1-way street, in the left lane because I want to turn left at the next intersection.  Someone in a land yacht (Lincoln Navigator, I think) passes me on the right, shoots directly in front of me and slams on the brakes in order to turn into a driveway on the left side of the road.  Not wanting to risk slamming into him, I threw a quick glance over my right shoulder before swerving into the other lane.  I had just enough extra concentration to spare to lay a long honk on the horn as I passed this wonderful individual.

This is where it gets interesting.  He backs out of the driveway in a hurry and comes tearing after me.  I'm a fairly aggressive driver, so I'm used to squeezing the most out of my non-sportscar.  A manual transmission is the only thing that makes a 4 cylinder bearable.  I race to the next intersection, taking a hard right turn on the yellow light.  Before you ask, yes, I could see that there was nobody in the crosswalk.  I'm not too familiar with this part of town, but I don't want to try to outrun him on the main drag, so I cut to the right again into a side street.  I kill the headlights as I pull in, hoping that he's a couple of cars back and won't see me.  No luck.  I see a pair of truck headlights pull into the street fast, so I take off again (lights on).  Around the block we go again, and I shave the yellow light even closer.  This time, there's a steady stream of traffic from the cross street, and the guy can't follow me.  I take a roundabout route home.

I didn't just want to evade him; I wanted to stay far enough away to keep him from getting my plate number.  I know people who can look up plates; it's not that hard.  I don't want to go out some morning to a trashed car just because this individual can't stand a passing criticism of his rude & dangerous driving.

Even more importantly, however, I didn't want to get into a physical confrontation with this guy.  My Glock 19 was in the trunk separate from the ammunition, but I can have it in my hand & hot in 3-4 seconds after exiting the vehicle.  Given the darkness & the isolated setting, I would have gone for the Glock over the more readily available blunt instruments in the passenger compartment.  I usually carry a Spyderco, too, but I don't have enough practice with a knife to be comfortable.  In any case, I really didn't want to end up having to draw down on this guy in a dark alley.  I'm not worried about coming out alive; I'm a reasonable shot in low light.  What I am worried about is a petty traffic dispute turning deadly.  I'm not skilled enough in self defense to stop somebody [i]without doing serious damage[/i].  At my last belt test, I felt like crap because my conscious brain turned off and I beat the heck out of my partner.  By the time I noticed, he was on the ground making "the face" and breathing funny.  (You know what I mean.)  And that wasn't anywhere [i]close[/i] to real; it was just the tiny bit of adrenaline from testing.
Link Posted: 5/22/2002 7:05:15 PM EST
So, my question is:  Do you think my actions were reasonable or not.  At all times, I was attentive of the side of the road, crosswalks, side streets, and so on.  I sure as heck didn't want to hit some kid on a bike just trying to outrun my pursuer.  But I did want to get the heck out of Dodge.  Like I'm said, I'm scared of a physical confrontation like that.  I'm not afraid of getting hurt; I've been knocked around enough that that doesn't bother me much.  I'm afraid that an attacker won't know when to stop, and I'll end up using more force than I'd like, be it hands or ASP or JHP.

Thanks for the input!
Link Posted: 5/22/2002 7:14:57 PM EST
well, they say hindsight is 20/20, so what do you see?  [:)]

i've been in a similar situation at least once before (i was taking a ramp that connected from one highway to another, realized i was going too fast for the ramp and had to slam on the brakes to avoid jumping the ramp; apparently the guy behind me thought i was trying to piss him off).

since no one got hurt and you avoided confrontation with an obvious moron, i'd say mission accomplished.

i'm a fairly aggressive driver too.  the main thing i think one needs to keep in mind for a situation like this is always KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING.  don't just drive to avoid the guy behind you.  drive to lead him to a place he doesn't want to end up.  like a police station or a mall with lots of people.  still may not avoid a confrontation, but at least there will be lots of witnesses.
Link Posted: 5/22/2002 7:16:31 PM EST
Hitting the horn was your only mistake in my opinion.. I just keep telling myself when dealing with impaitent, or asinine drivers, "They're NOT worth the bullet"..

Sooner or later, they run into someone with a worse attitude than theirs..And probably a bigger truck..

Link Posted: 5/22/2002 7:23:03 PM EST

Yeah, that was my first thought (shoulda, coulda didn't) even before the excitement was over.  I didn't have a clear plan in place about where to run [b]to[/b].  That's something that you need to have in your mind before a situation arises.  I have plans of action for other scenarios, but I need to think a lot more about how to handle things on the road.  Especially since half of my other plans end up with me in the car.  [;)]
Link Posted: 5/22/2002 7:30:12 PM EST
Well, you're asking for opinions, so here's mine.

If you drive like a maniac or not; if there's is no negative result (accident, injury) then who cares. Anything else (the old "you could have killed somebody) is just hypothetical. Of course if there is negative result, then the penalties or consequences will be higher.

As for not wanting a confrontation...you are exactly right. The fact is that part of carrying is being even more cognizant of confrontation because the likely result will be very serious.

The only thing you might want to consider is whether or not to lay on the horn next time (like I said, even MORE cognizant of confrontation), though is easier said than done. I myself am extremely nasty behind the wheel. But then, I used to drive cab.

You know, I've heard a lot of bluster out here from time to time about airing people out for doing this or that. But this little "hobby" of ours is a very serious one and using armed force in anything but the most grevious circumstances would be the exactly wrong thing to do. I may not have phrased that quite right but I'm sure you know what I mean.

Seems to me you did fine.
Link Posted: 5/22/2002 7:30:58 PM EST
Hitting the horn was your only mistake in my opinion.. I just keep telling myself when dealing with impaitent, or asinine drivers, "They're NOT worth the bullet"..
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I hear ya: like I said, I'm an aggressive driver.  I have very little tolerance for your average jack@ss on the road.  Nothing p!sses me off more than having to put up with the waste of DNA who fails to signal while drifting across 4 lanes of 70 MPH traffic as he chats on his cell phone.  I'm really anal when I drive.  I don't cut people off; I don't hog the fast lane; I always leave at least 2 seconds in front of me.  My parents raised a polite child, and I expect the same from others.  The unfortunate side effect is that I get really mad when some @sshole risks my life & his with some ridiculous maneuver in traffic.  So I really need to work on the temper.  As you say, it's not worth the bullet...
Link Posted: 5/22/2002 7:37:24 PM EST
The fact is that part of carrying is being even more cognizant of confrontation because the likely result will be very serious.
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I couldn't agree more.  I've been in the habit of keeping a gun as close at hand as the [sh!tty unconstitutional Ohio] law will allow.  And since then I have not been in one single violent confrontation.  It's just not worth it.  I can't believe how many people I see in bars or on the street starting fights over petty stuff.  When you realize how quickly things can go sour even without weapons, you don't even want to think about using force for anything short of a life or death situation.
Link Posted: 5/22/2002 7:37:26 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/22/2002 7:45:56 PM EST
Agreed about the horn.  IMHO, if you are going through driving maneuvers to try and avoid reshaping sheetmetal, you don't really have time to honk the horn.  Waste of energy anyway; the people you are honking at know they are stupid, but it will take a wreck to get their attention, at the very least.
The horn was your only real mistake.
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Yeah...  The temper definitely is the thing to work on.  As it happens, this time I had enough space & time to spare the honk.  Yesterday, when somebody tried to turn left in front of me from a side street, I didn't have the time and so didn't try.  But the "Oh Sh!t" look in their eyes as they finally decided to check for oncoming traffic halfway through the turn was somewhat satisfying.  [:)]  

Seriously, though; I think the trick is to only use the horn to get somebody's attention when they don't know they're doing something stupid.  If, as you say, they know they're being stupid, it won't help to rub it in.
Link Posted: 5/22/2002 11:42:01 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/23/2002 12:04:38 AM EST
You saw where he was pulling into... leave a dead skunk in his mailbox.

okay...leave a live one... it's your call.

But always remember... you know where he lives, and he didn't get close enough to get a plate number.  heh heh.  [insert semi-serious smiley here].

Edited to add... you avoided a confrontation with an idiot.  Good work.  Honking aggravates idiot road ragers, but it also lets the half asleep idiots know they've just screwed up.  I can find no fault in laying on the horn when someone cuts you off and puts you in danger.

Link Posted: 5/23/2002 12:07:16 AM EST
No blood, no foul. My opinion is if you're going to drive aggressive, be prepared to react just as aggressive. I spend [b]A LOT[/b] of time driving, whether it's at work in a marked sector car or in my personal vehicle and I've seen plenty examples of "poor road manners"

BTW, the Lincoln Navigator probably committed a huge mistake in chasing you. He cut you off to pull into a driveway...would that be his home?[}:D]
Link Posted: 5/23/2002 2:59:55 AM EST
BTW, the Lincoln Navigator probably committed a huge mistake in chasing you. He cut you off to pull into a driveway...would that be his home?[}:D]
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Originally Posted By Stealth
But always remember... you know where he lives, and he didn't get close enough to get a plate number. heh heh. [insert semi-serious smiley here].
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You guys had the same semi-evil thoughts I did.  [}:D]  From the minute he pulled back on the street, I knew I had that advantage:  I knew where he lived (probably) and what he drove, and he knew (maybe) what I drove.  I'm not going to do anything to him because I don't think it's appropriate (there's a [b]world[/b] of difference between an "aggressive defense" and [i]revenge[/i]), but it's always good to keep a little edge.  Same reason I take corners wide when walking down the sidewalk and never let somebody who approaches me ("spare some change?") get too close.  
Link Posted: 5/23/2002 3:39:58 AM EST
I would definately agree with avoiding any type of confrontation.  There was an incident that occured when my wife and I were on our way home.  Another driver pulled out in front of us, forcing me to hit the brakes pretty hard.  I honked the horn and my mild-mannered wife gave him a one-fingered salute.  Two mistakes.

I turned onto the dead end road that we live on.  Unbeknownst to me, he had turned aorund and decided to follow us.  So there he is at the end of the driveway yelling that he knows where we live.  He sped off before I could get a good look at his plates.  

I really try to blow off stuff like that, but sometimes I react without thinking.  I am much more likely to just ignore other bad drivers now.  The reality is that you never know how irate or crazy someone is.  
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