What should you do if protesters surround your car?

protesters surround your car

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Nyle Clay founder of the Patriots Network and Op-ed contributor

The tips below may be needed at one time or another. What should you do if protesters surround your car? Street protests are all too common these days, and blocking traffic has become one of the favorite methods of public protest. If you, as a motorist, round a corner and find yourself in the middle of a protest march, or if protestors suddenly surround your car, you need to take action quickly.

Dave Young, founder and director of Arma Training, stresses that immediate action is important, but such action requires forethought and a thorough understanding of the laws of self-defense in your state.

“Most state’s self-defense laws allow you to use reasonable force to defend yourself and your family, but you may not use deadly force unless you are facing an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm,” Young said. “Some prosecutors could see using your car to drive away from a protest as using force, even deadly force. So the first thing you must do is assess the threat level.”

If the protestors are merely blocking your way, you may be able to use a reasonable level of force to get out of the situation, but you must remember that someone who was not at the scene will evaluate your decisions.

In Wisconsin, the use of force is outlined in state statute 939.48, which reads:

A person is privileged to threaten or intentionally use force against another for the purpose of preventing or terminating what the person reasonably believes to be an unlawful interference with his or her person by such other person. The actor may intentionally use only such force or threat thereof as the actor reasonably believes is necessary to prevent or terminate the interference. The actor may not intentionally use force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm unless the actor reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself.


Here’s what to do If protesters surround your car.

Call 911

Local law enforcement may already be aware of the protest and may even have people on the scene. If you make them aware that you are trapped in a large, angry crowd they may take action to attempt to disperse the crowd and facilitate a rescue, but don’t count on it. Officers at the scene may not be ready for a riot situation, and it may take several minutes or more before police feel they have the resources to take on a large crowd. You could be injured or killed waiting for help.

Capture the Images

One of the best ways to show what you were facing and begin the basis for an effective legal defense of your actions is to record video of the incident. Most cell phones have video recorders these days. If you are with a companion, have the companion record as much of the incident as possible. Try to remain quiet while recording so as to caption the words as well as the actions of the protestors.

Do not attempt to record video and drive if you are alone. In that case, start the recorder, capture as much of the action as you can, then leave the recorder on, put it down and focus on your escape.

Keep Moving If You Can

Turing around and immediately leaving the area, if possible, is your best option. If you cannot turn around or go around the group, driving your car slowly through a group of protestors may be seen as a reasonable use of force. But unless you can articulate a reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm, you can’t use your car as a deadly weapon by driving over people or accelerating through the crowd.

“If you can drive away, do so. That might mean driving on the sidewalk or on the shoulder of the road or through the median,” said Young. “Escape is your first option.”

If Things Turn Violent

If the protest turns violent and people begin throwing objects, striking your vehicle or attempting to overturn your vehicle, you have to act quickly. If you reasonably believe the protestors are going to attempt to enter your vehicle, drag you out and injure you, the time to use force — perhaps even deadly force — has come. Young suggests the following:

  1. Immediately get your family to lay down in the car while shielding their eyes and covering their skin to protect them from breaking glass or hard objects thrown at or into the car. If possible, pull the back seat down and take cover in the trunk area.
  2. Get your car out of the danger area. Drive where you need to in order to escape. Avoid areas where your car might get stuck or hung up. If you can’t see effectively, driving “blind” is dangerous — but you have to weigh that danger against the danger of remaining where you are. If you have to use your car to push people out of the way or drive over people trying to stop you, then you must do it. Remember that you will be held accountable for your actions, so make sure you can prove that you believed you were in immediate danger.
  3. Get out of sight of the protestors. If you are in contact with the police, tell them where you are going. If not, call them immediately after you get out of the dangerous situation and be prepared to make a full report.

If Your Car Is Stopped, Stalled, or Disabled, then protesters surround your car

If you can’t move and the crowd does not appear to be dangerous, you might just be better off sitting tight and waiting for things to disperse. But if the crowd appears to be dangerous, you are now in a very serious, life-threatening emergency. And this requires a plan (and likely some very intense actions on your part). You will have to determine if you can safely and effectively leave your car and move to a protected area.

Again, if protesters are not attempting to make entry into your vehicle, it may be better to just sit tight until things subside. But Young suggests immediately leaving the vehicle if any of the follow things happen:

  1. The vehicle is not operational, has stalled or will not move.
  2. There is fire inside or directly outside your vehicle.
  3. Protestors are smashing your windows or attempting to make entry into your immobile vehicle.

This is where an effective plan is all but required. If you are planning to leave your vehicle, remember that you will likely be fighting your way out of your vehicle and fighting your way to safety. Do not leave in a panic. Think things through. First and foremost, Young suggests looking for an area that could provide relative safety and determining a direction of travel to that area.

If you are responsible for family members or others who are with you, explain the importance of trying to stay together. This may limit your movement and defensive options, especially if you have young children, but is it paramount that you keep everyone accounted for.

Access your defensive situation, taking a quick inventory of all the items you may be able to use as weapons when fighting your way to safety. In addition to your personal firearm, do you have knives, impact weapons or anything else you can use in your defense?

Do not leave your car without ensuring you take important items with you. This includes your identification, house keys, cell phone and any weapons.

Young suggests you consider the following as you prepare to fight your way out of the situation:

  1. Can you use your firearm effectively from inside your vehicle?
  2. Have you ever fired through glass? (Flying glass could cut you or damage your eyes.)
  3. Are you and your companions prepared for the discharge of a firearm in a confined space? (This is extremely loud.)
  4. Is everyone prepared to move when the time comes?

“Fighting through a large, violent crowd is one of the most dangerous situations in the world. Often the sheer number of attackers can overwhelm even heavily armed and well-trained individuals. Exiting your vehicle is the last resort in a very dangerous situation,” said Young. “The first and best option is to avoid such situations. If you happen upon such a protest, do your best to get away immediately because there is no telling when the crowd can turn violent.” If protesters surround your car, and you are trapped, you’re in the wrong place.  The best overall solution is to stay out of areas of unrest and watch it on Television.


Nyles Notes: It’s a sad commentary when we live in a country today where law enforcement is restrained by our government to take action to protect law-abiding citizens from such criminals and punish them accordingly.

Nyle Clay founder of the Patriots Network and Op-ed contributor

About Nyle Clay 62 Articles
Recently retired, Nyle now spends his time fighting to save America. Through his website and facebook group The Patriots Network, Nyle is fighting the good fight to bring conservatism back to our country!

13 Comments on What should you do if protesters surround your car?

  1. Better to be tried by twelve than to be carried by six. There is NO way in hell I would tell my loved ones to get out of the car surrounded by thugs!! WTH are you smoking????

  2. BS! HIT THE GAS! Sort it out later! IF surrounded by violent thugs, take all measures to protect you and your family! This is NOT a kumbaya moment !! Think Reginald Denny and take whatever means necessary to protect yourself and your family! Screw those terrorist anarchists!

  3. So if I stay in my car and keep my head,I’m screwed, no way out with hundreds trashing my car. The law needs to stand up to these thugs and arrest their asses. Not just a slap on the wrist either. Time for tears and rubber bullets we are not safe enough.

    • EXACTLY.. IF THEY ARE WILLING TO BLOCK TRAFFIC AND THROW THINGS AT YOUR CAR, THAN JUST KEEP YOUR VEHICLE MOVING, SLOW PACE,VIF VIOLENCE GET WORSE AND WINDOWS START BREAKING SPEED UP THE PACE..
      THEY HAVE WEAPONS TOO, YOURS IS BIGGER..

  4. I don’t know about anyone else but I will be running them over with my eyes closed!!! Its my life and my families or theirs!!! I have to protect my family first!!!

  5. Too may if’s, and’s, or but’s to be used in an instantaneous judgement situation to save one’s life or their loved one’s life. All of this to be Monday morning quarterback by a black mailed/criminal judicial system who will be comfortable while judging your instant decision to save lives. These laws are invented to benefit lawyers for drawn out court cases and for profit prison systems. When surrounded by violence, or potential violence, reacts 10 times harder if you want to save your own as well as loved ones lives. After all that is what our police do. Remember: NICE GUYS FINISH LAST!

  6. You vehicle is the greatest protection and weapon. Don’t abandon that…..use it. By blocking your way thry have already shown intent. By touching your vehicle in any way they have shown will. By breaking windows , kicking or trying to open doors they have shown capacity…..drive yourself to safety….don’t worry about their life….worry about yours and your family. Drive out of the area any way possible hotting the horn all the way. If they continue to block you…..oh well. Save your own life first….they will not have the same consideration for you. Mob mentality is violent and unrelenting.

  7. I would brake torque it…let em see that you are fixing to take off like a Drag racer..then if they don’t move..see how many points you can earn ! 10 points per kill..first to 100 wins !

  8. Faced with a mob of strangers ginned up on some agenda, most people are not able to keep a cool head. We live in a time when there is plenty of history of ethnic mobs turning violent or fatal. Dealing with a racist mob is hardly facing off against hippies with peace signs. Cars should move forward slowly and determined. Vehicles have the right of way and on many of these highways and bridges there are no pedestrians allowed. If people start smashing your windows, how is that any different than a home invasion?

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