Here’s a real-life situation that I came across in my newsfeed recently.
A Porshe and a BMW collide on the street, and the male driver of the Porshe storms out of his car.
He circles the BMW while yelling at the female driver… He bangs on her hood with his hands… Then he tries to force open her doors open… Threatening behaviours all round.
Next he goes to check out the damage to the front of her car.
Unfortunately this places him right between the two vehicles, and the other driver accelerates right into him – BOOM – two heavy vehicles colliding with a fragile human trapped between them.
His legs are instantly crushed between the two bumpers and he collapses to the ground in agony. He’s no threat to anyone, and it looks like several surgeries are going to be required for him to have a chance at walking normally again.
What does this have to do with self defense?
(If you want to check out the horrifying footage you can watch it below, or you can scroll down to read a little bit more of my analysis…)
If road rage incidents have taught us anything it’s that an angry or scared driver is a very dangerous animal.
People’s cars are their castles, and they really, really, really hate it when you threaten them in those castles. Not to mention that so many guys are so possessive and proud of their cars that they would would prefer you sleep with their wives rather than scratch their rides.
Anyway, emotions get ramped up really quickly on the road, and when emotions are high then rationality and good decision making go out the door pretty quickly.
Just to make things worse, you have to consider that everyone in a car is armed.
First of all, a TON of people carry knives, tire irons, or guns in their car just for the purpose of expressing their road rage, so if anyone ever gets out of a car in a confrontation you have to assume that they’re coming at you with one of those items.
But even more fundamentally, the car itself is just one giant improvised weapon.
According to the Guiness Book of World Records the fastest punch ever recorded is 44 miles per hour; most cars can easily travel at least 3 times that fast… And the average car weighs about 15 times more than a heavyweight boxer…
My high school physics (force = 1/2 mass x velocity squared) tells me that a normal car can generate an insane amount of force very easily, enough to maim you or kill you many times over.
Essentially you’d be better off with Mike Tyson hitting you as hard as he can, 10 times in a row, rather than getting hit by a car travelling at even a moderate speed.
Can’t afford a handgun? Left your knife at home? Can’t find a stick?
Well the car itself is a deadly weapon available to nearly everybody.
I’m not saying the female driver was justified in crushing her antagonist’s legs, but if someone much bigger than you was circling your car and banging on it you’d be kind of worried too, right? In response she simply used the nearest weapon – her car – and directed it towards the closest target.
Too many martial artists spend all their time worrying about how to escape a bear hug, block a shin kick, or disarm a knife and don’t give any thought to how badly an angry person with an improvised weapon can screw up your day.
So what do you use in a violent confrontation with a driver and the gigantic 3,000 lb sledgehammer he or she is driving?
First of all, don’t go yelling, screaming, banging on someone’s hood and trying to forcibly open their doors. They might just assume that they’re in danger and escalate the situation exponentially.
Also realise that you can’t downward block or side kick a BMW if you’re in its path of travel (forward or backwards).
That driver couldn’t have stopped the car and he would have had to be a parkour ninja to leap out of the way. His best and only real option was to stay the hell away from the front of the car and not voluntarily venture into the kill zone between the two bumpers.
In other words, the main tool to survive situations like this is awareness.
In the past we’ve talked about how awareness is the single most important attribute on the street. It’s way more important than your clinch and hip toss, your parry and counter-punch, and your armbar to triangle choke combination.
You’re not tougher than 3,000 lbs of metal, so don’t take any vehicular confrontation lightly.
Consider everyone in a car unstable, armed, and potentially rageaholic until proven otherwise.
And never, never, never put yourself in a position where an angry driver can put you in the hospital (or the morgue) simply by stomping his foot down on the accelerator.
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