top of page
  • Writer's pictureAndy Murphy

How to Protect Your Family from a Riot

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

What to do if Rioters Swarm Your Car

You can’t turn on your TV or scroll through Facebook today and see a lot of protests going on around our country. Unfortunately what is undercutting the power of these protests are people who only want to cause chaos. These are the people who turn a peaceful protest into a mob. These people are called agitators.

As I write this, I’m streaming a protest/riot that is happening about 20 minutes from my home. In this crowd has surrounded a personal car and they’re jumping on the hood, breaking the windows and all out destroying it.

Thankfully no one is in the car and the rioters don’t seem to be hurt either. But this is all too common a scene today. The police are moving in and are doing their best to restore order.

It’s important to understand that while peaceful protest may be organized and even sanctioned, riots are not. The dynamics of a riot change every minute and there’s no single voice of reason. Don’t try to reason your way out of a situation like this. It’s best to keep your family away.

Be Proactive

My first suggestion for you when traveling right now is to avoid any area that might be a hot spot for mob violence. This seems to be city centers right now. Near police stations. Also interstates that run through cities are a common target too.

So if you have to travel, avoid these areas. Take the long way. Take the back roads or just stay home. Avoid a riot at all costs.

Road Block

Let’s look at the scenario that you are traveling with your family in your car on an interstate that runs through your city. A mob has gotten on to the three lane interstate and they are blocking traffic.

Once traffic has stopped they are now moving through the stopped cars and are beating on hoods, trying to open doors and they are breaking windows. At this point you realize this is not a peaceful protest, but a mob inciting violence.

I like to ride in the far right lane when I can. This is the slow lane, much to my wife’s chagrin. I do this so that if there is an accident, I can escape the roadway on the right. You can’t do this from the center lane or the fast lane.

Once your car stops, do a three point turn and begin to go against traffic in the emergency lane or the shoulder if you are able. When you do this, honk your horn, put on your emergency flashers and move slowly.

Let other cars know you’re coming. You want to let your fellow motorist know that you’re moving against traffic and try to avoid a collision. If you get into a wreck your chances of getting out diminish.

Ride against traffic until you get to an exit and go up the ramp to avoid the mob. Have your passenger use Google Maps live traffic updates to help navigate you throughout the area. Look for red areas and avoid them. But you the driver need to have your eyes up and your hands on the wheel.

Blending in to Survive

If you are caught by a sudden mob while in a city (or you're just stuck) you might need to abandon your car. That’s not what you want to do, but it may be what you have to do.

Don’t wait to see what happens. The closer the rioters get to you, the more they can hurt you. Make a decision to act.

When you abandon your car, put on your mask. All of you. Yep that Covid mask might save your life in a way you didn’t anticipate.

Grab your kids and carry them if you can. If you can get your go bag before you leave your car, get it. In that bag you should have food, first aid and water at a minimum.

This might be hard with a family, but you can’t punch or shoot your way out of this situation, so blending in and escaping is your best option.

To blend in, hold up your free fist and yell things like, “Listen to us” or “We’re not scared.” This way you don’t have to bend your morals to say something you don’t believe in, but still look like you’re on the side of the mob. If you agree with the mob, chant what they are chanting. But there’s no shame in blending in if it saves your life.

Look for a way to get to the outside of the crowd. The middle of a crowd is the worst place to be. Here you can get trampled or hit with tear gas. Get to the outside and stay there. Don’t move against the crowd, hang back and look for ways to get out. Maybe there is a store that will let your family in, or a church you can get into.

The best thing is to get away quickly without drawing attention to yourself. If you can spot photographers on the outer edge, move toward them. Trust me, camera guys know how to get the action without getting hurt.

Call for Help

When it is safe, get your phone and call someone to come and get you. Call a friend, ride share companies won’t be sending cars into a riot. Make a plan with your friend to meet somewhere public that isn’t affected by the riot. Again, Google maps will help you out here.

Recoil OffGrid Magazine published an article about this back in 2018. It’s got even more advice on what to do including what to say to 911.


Andy Murphy

Andy Murphy founded The Secure Dad in 2016 with the aspiration to help families live safer, happier lives. What started as a personal blog about family safety has turned into an award-winning podcast, an Amazon best-selling book, and online courses. He focuses his efforts in the areas of home security, situational awareness, and online safety.


Andy is a husband and father. His interests include coaching youth basketball, hiking, and trying to figure out his 3D printer.

Get Updates from Andy
bottom of page