Shotgun – The Rules that Decide Who Gets the Front Passenger Seat

Have you ever gone on a trip with your friends/family or just ridden around town with your fraternity/sorority/work/shiftless friends?  Has one or more of these friends (or maybe you) ever called shotgun, then proceeded to try to explain the rules of why they should be allowed to ride in the front passenger seat?  My son does this all the time – and he’s the only one in our family who’s ever called it. 

Well, now you can whip out a list of shotgun rules and put those friends/family in their place (the back seat or trunk).  My son asked me to print two copies and put one in each of our vehicles – again, he’s the only one in our family who has ever actually called shotgun.  My habit is to yell, “Last one to the car has to drive” – Hey, it works for me!

Here are The Shotgun Rules:

(These are found at TDY Shotgun Rules, compiled by the Airborne Early Warning Association on their Library Page)

version 1.1

The rules listed below apply to the calling of Shotgun (the front passenger seat) in an automobile. These rules are definitive and binding.

Section I – The Basic Rules

  1. In order to call Shotgun, the caller must pronounce the word “Shotgun” in a clear voice. This call must be heard and acknowledged by the driver. The other occupants of the vehicle need not hear the call as long as the driver verifies the call.
  2. Shotgun may only be called if all occupants of the vehicle are outside and on the way to said vehicle.
  3. Early calls are strictly prohibited. Shotgun may only be called while walking toward the vehicle and only applies to the drive immediately forthcoming. Shotgun can never be called while inside a vehicle or still technically on the way to the first location. For example, one can not get out of a vehicle and call Shotgun for the return journey.
  4. The driver has final say in all ties and disputes. The driver has the right to suspend or remove all shotgun privileges from one or more persons.

Section II – Special Cases
These special exceptions to the rules above should be considered in the order presented; the case listed first will take precedence over any of the cases beneath it, when applicable:

  1. In the instance that the normal driver of a vehicle is drunk or otherwise unable to perform their duties as driver, then he/she is automatically given Shotgun.
  2. If the instance that the person who actually owns the vehicle is not driving, then he/she is automatically given Shotgun, unless they decline.
  3. In the instance the the driver’s spouse, lover, partner, or date for the evening is going to accompany the group, he/she is automatically given Shotgun, unless they decline.
  4. In the instance that one of the passengers may become so ill during the course of the journey that the other occupants feel he/she will toss their cookies, then the ill person should be given Shotgun to make appropriate use of the window.
  5. In the instance that only one person knows how to get to a given location and this person is not the driver, then as the designated navigator for the group they automatically get Shotgun, unless they decline.
  6. In the instance that one of the occupants is too wide or tall to fit comfortably in the back seat, then the driver may show mercy and award Shotgun to the genetic misfit. Alternatively, the driver and other passengers may continually taunt the poor fellow as they make a three hour trip with him crammed in the back.

Section III – The Survival of the Fittest Rule

  1. If the driver so wishes, he/she may institute the Survival of the Fittest Rule on the process of calling Shotgun. In this case all rules, excepting Section I – #4, are suspended and the passenger seat is occupied by whoever can take it by force.
  2. The driver must announce the institution of the Survival of the Fittest Rule with reasonable warning to all passengers. This clause reduces the amount of blood lost by passengers and the damage done to the vehicle.

Please follow the above rules to the best of your ability. If there are any arguments or exceptions not covered in these rules, please refer to rule Section I – #4.


This might be Daisyfae -



3 responses to “Shotgun – The Rules that Decide Who Gets the Front Passenger Seat

  1. this is a hoot!

    I thought so too. My son asked for another copy so he could carry it around, just in case he needed to ride with someone else.

  2. I just noticed the woman with the shotgun…

    She must have stepped in a hole outside the front door of her double wide mobile home. She has her knee all wrapped up.

    …or she had been hunting with the V.P.

  3. Hilarious! Although, I’ve never been with anyone that didn’t inherently know all these rules.

    So, I guess #6, Section II comes in handy for you?

    I’d be offended, but I proudly wear my genetic misfitedness. And, yes, it works well for me – particularly on airlines. I often get bumped up.

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