Shotgun Rules and Regulations

The purpose of calling “Shotgun” is to be the person who gets to ride in the front seat of the car. The front seat is so much better than the backseat.

Section I: General Rules

A) The first person to say “Shotgun” gets to ride in the front seat.

B) The remaining back seats may be divided up in the same manner, by being the first to call “Back right seat”, etc..

C) The word shotgun must be loud enough to be heard by at least one witness. When no witness is to be found, or in case of a tie, the driver has the final word. (Note: if it isn’t the driver’s car, and the owner is present, the owner’s decision is final. Owner must be sober, however, or he will defer his judgment back to the driver.)

D) Everyone must be outside of the building (including the driver) before shotgun can be called. Under no circumstances may a person call shotgun inside a building. For simplicity, an open garage is considered to be outside.

E) A person may only call shotgun for one way of a trip. After the destination is reached, the front seat is then open to anyone again.

F) Men have the same right as women to the front seat of the car.

G) One is allowed to ride shotgun as many times as he/she can call it.

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.

A) In the instance that the driver of a vehicle is unable to perform their duties as driver, then he/she is automatically given shotgun.

B) In the instance that the person who actually owns the vehicle is not driving, then he/she is automatically given shotgun, unless they decline.

C) In the instance the driver’s spouse or partner is accompanying the group, he/she is automatically given shotgun, unless they decline.

D) 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. (Note: If the backseat is less than full the ill person may be forced to sit back right/left depending on situation)

E) 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.

F) In the instance that one of the occupants is too tall or wide to fit comfortably in the back seat, then the driver may show mercy and award shotgun to them. Alternatively, the driver and other passengers may continually taunt the poor fellow.

Section III: Optional Regulations

These are optional regulations, some of which are regional. These regulations will not be valid unless the driver/owner of the vehicle agrees to the terms.

A) 3:00 minute rule: Once you call shotgun you have three minutes to depart or at least be sitting in the car. If the vehicle has not left, anyone is allowed to call shotgun again.

[Note: This challenge may be avoided by calling “Shotgun-no rock” in the beginning.]

B) Touch the Door: This rule pretty much voids calling shotgun and states that the first person to touch either the door or door handle receives the front seat.

C) Hitcher: If there is a passenger who is “Just along for the ride,” then he or she must sit in the back seat because the ride is not for them.

D) 2nd Call: This rule from Delaware states that if a given passenger calls a valid shotgun, then he or she may not say shotgun again until the destination is reached. By calling shotgun a second time before that time, he or she would automatically forfeit their seat and shotgun is reopened to the other passengers.

[Note: Other passengers are allowed to try to trick the person who originally said shotgun into saying it again, in order to claim shotgun for themselves.]

E) No Jerk: In the event that there are fewer passengers than capacity would allow, there must always be a passenger riding shotgun. This would include a couple. This is to prevent the driver from feeling like a chauffeur.

F) Navigator: The person riding shotgun must serve as a navigator to the driver.

G) Seniority Rule: In the event that one passenger is significantly older than the rest, they are automatically given shotgun.

H) Backfire Rule: This rule from Central NC states that if a passenger has shotgun on a trip, and then calls shotgun for the return trip, any passenger may call, “Double shotgun backfire,” to prevent a single passenger from dominating the front seat.

I) International: When crossing the border into another country. All shotgun claims are void and passengers may once again call shotgun. If another passenger gets it, the driver must pull over at his earliest and safest convenience for riders to trade seats.

J) Context Rule: A passenger may only receive shotgun if he says shotgun within the context of calling shotgun. For instance, a passenger may not be awarded shotgun if he says, “Did anybody call shotgun?,” or if he/she was talking about a literal shotgun.

Section IV: Tie Breakers

A) Rock, Paper, Scissors: Either 2 out of 3, or standard 1 game winner take all.

I wrote these rules from scratch about 10 years ago. It was good for a laugh back then, and still is now. Feel free to print it out and keep a copy in your glovebox. Touring bands, I’m looking at you.


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