A recent national television report asserted that road-rage incidents are becoming more common and more deadly, with the latest incident taking place in Pennsylvania, in which a man is alleged to have shot and killed a teenage girl during a traffic merge. Click to watch level-headed advice from Justin McShane, your Independent Program Attorney, about what to do—and what not to do—in these situations.
One of the major benefits of U.S. Law Shield is you have that emergency 24-hour line. It goes directly to me. It doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas Eve at 2 o’clock in the morning. We had one of those.
You are encouraged to give us a call as soon as possible when it involves a critical incident to make sure that we get out in front of it. I’d rather that you call me with anything and not need me, and I say “Hey it’s not a big deal” when you describe it to me, then saying “Oh, I don’t want to bother him,” and then all of a sudden it turns into this big deal on something that we could have head off at the pass earlier.
The number-one call that we get has to do with negligent discharge, and we had a video about that a couple of months ago. Number two are what we call road-rage incidents. Road-rage incidents is a matter of interpretation, right? You know your right to defend yourself doesn’t stop just because you’re behind the wheel of a car. If you think about a car, and what is frequently said about a car, it’s either a half-ton, or sometimes a ton, or you know, a smaller amount of energy that’s going, that has to do with that and it is a deadly weapon our courts have held. So simply saying that “Oh some guy was driving into me or towards me and you know you could have driven away” it’s not as simple as that. Maybe some prosecutors think that.
Maybe some police officers think that, but the truth of the matter is whenever someone has a vehicle at speed going, that is a potentially very dangerous event. So what we have to do when it comes to a road-rage incident, is we have to apply our good old standard fashions of self-defense. Under the totality of the circumstances, everything that is known to you at the time, is it reasonable for you to fear serious bodily injury, death, kidnapping, or sexual assault? That’s our general formula when it comes to lethal self defense. If the answer to that is yes, then you may use lethal deadly force, or you can display a firearm, or something like that.
Now, is that a formula for get-out-of-jail-free card Absolutely not. What should you do if you’re involved in a road-rage incident? What I would suggest is, number one: Be safe. Disengage from the idiot. Oh man, there’s so many idiots out on the road. Be situationally aware. Use your three mirrors. Look around. Do all the things that have to do with that. Stop the car. Drive to a public place. Drive to a police station. Do what is ever necessary to avoid and escape. Number two: Give us a call before you talk to the police.
We’ll go through this kind of checklist that we have, and each situation is different. Whether or not we want to call 911 or not? Sometimes we may want to, and sometimes we’ll just let sleeping dogs lie. And so it’s all fact dependent. There’s no magic formula that I can give for you. But what I can do is tell you this: That it’s not as simple as some people make it out to be when it comes to any type of automobile. Because it is a dangerous situation when you start getting into those silly games with bad drivers, and people who mean to do your harm. So what we have to do is remember and recall those general guidelines when it comes to self-defense.
When you are safe, give us a call, so we can run down what you want to do in order to protect yourself legally. And each one of these things we have to remember is very important in how you conduct yourself. So don’t be the hothead behind the wheel, but also just don’t blow it off. This is our suggestions in corporation with the law of Pennsylvania.
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