The In’s & Out’s of Vehicles

For a large majority of us we spend a lot of time in our vehicles. I spent a lot more than I wanted sitting in Los Angeles traffic not so long ago so it got me thinking.

Road rage

The funny thing about traffic is folks are always trying to gain an inch by lane changing and crawling up your rear. I definitely am not use to that type of behavior nor would I expect to be on a daily basis. But, I did start thinking how I would deal with things from a tactical point of view and how best to prepare to defend myself from attack while sitting in a parked vehicle, exiting/entering a parked vehicle and upon provocation.

Driving tips

The first thing I tell people when it comes to driving is leave early. I know it sucks, but it truly puts you in a different mental state. If you plan to leave a little bit early you will find yourself making better decisions when it comes to driving. You won’t feel “rushed” to try and make that red light, change lanes without checking your blind side or merging into traffic recklessly because you are in a hurry. How much time is early, that will depend on you, but 10 minutes seems to be the sweet spot. It truly is the best thing you can do to “arrive alive.”

Keep your head on a swivel

I’ve said it before, but when it comes to driving you really do need a high level of situational awareness. Things are coming at you fast…literally. You don’t have as much time to process everything. Keep these simple concepts in mind the next time you are behind the wheel; never stop driving the vehicle, look for drivable terrain and look where you want the vehicle to go. So, with all that being said let’s talk about what you might want to consider for vehicle defense.

Know your vehicle

It should go without saying, but lock your doors the moment you get into your vehicle. Try to make that as much a habit as putting on your seat belt. Speaking of seat belts, before you buckle up; look around you and make sure it is safe to do so. You are somewhat vulnerable in a parked vehicle and dismounting should be an option, but difficult when buckled up for safety. Also, be mindful of automatic vehicle locks that unlock the doors when you put the vehicle in park. I’m not a fan of these at all simply because it could compromise the “seal” of your vehicle. Most of these can be disabled and if you don’t know how, take it into the factory and ask them to do it for you.

Improvised weapons

You should keep improvised weapons at the ready for those close quarters fights when you cannot or don’t have time to get to your firearm. Remember, your firearm will be difficult to access in a seated position and especially when buckled up. These improvised weapons can vary obviously and I’m sure if you use your imagination you can come up with plenty of ideas. They shouldn’t be your final choice, think of them as a transition to a better weapon system. The interior of a vehicle is somewhat confined so for them to be useful they need to be employed from tight spaces such as the interior of your vehicle.

Think twice before you bail

Lastly, the decision to dismount your vehicle. We have seen some examples of road rage that ended bad for the good guy. If the vehicle followed you for several blocks or miles I highly suggest you stop at a police station or other public location. If your vehicle is mobile it is your best defense and weapon. If you are in fear for your life, you are in fear for your life so do what you got to do to get off the “X”. If you decide to exit the vehicle at least have a plan. That plan should include not discussing the issue in traffic. Take it to the side of the road. If you dismount the vehicle consider you may not be able to get back to it so make sure you have your “stuff” with you, at the very least a cell phone to call for help if you have to high tail it out there.

These are just some simple ideas to think about when you spend time in or around a vehicle. When in doubt, don’t stop; keep the vehicle moving.


I’m a former Navy SEAL and preeminent Weapons and Tactics instructor, learn more about what I do at tridentconcepts.com.

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