How to Play Shotgun

One Methods:Responsibilities of Shotgun

You're walking to the car with your brother. You can't wait to plop down in that passenger seat, which also provides all access to the radio, both cupholders, and a great view. As you're about to open the door, your brother calls, "Shotgun!" and pushes you out of the way. He has now swept the passenger seat from you. Does this case scenario confuse you? Read on to learn how to play Shotgun.


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    Driver gets final say in the matter. Remember that the driver can veto any call of shotgun if he/she wishes.
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    Call out "shotgun" as soon as you are in the line of sight of the car. You are not allowed to call shotgun if you cannot see the car, and you cannot call shotgun in advance. It must be done when you are about to leave. Some other rules to follow are:
    • Entrance rule. If you call shotgun properly while approaching the car, and then return inside to get something, you have lost your position in the passenger seat.
    • Volume rule. When you call shotgun that no one else can hear, shotgun claiming is still fair game to anyone. Make sure that at least one person hears you claim your seat, or else anyone else is open to call it.
    • Barefoot rule. If you quickly grab your shoes, run outside, and then call shotgun, it doesn't count. You must have your shoes on while calling shotgun.
    • Touch car rule. Once someone is touching the handle to the shotgun seat, before shotgun was already called by someone else, they have automatically claimed the seat. You don't need to call out shotgun once you're touching the handle because you've already marked your territory.
    • When it's locked. You have called shotgun, and you are now waiting for the door to be unlocked. If you try to open the door while someone is unlocking the door, causing it to remain closed, you are excluded from participating in shotgun for the ride. Anyone else may then call shotgun.
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    Don't brag after you've called. People will be pretty steamed that you've gotten the best seat in the first place, and bragging won't help. If you really try to be as obnoxious as possible, it could even result in you being kicked out of the vehicle. So stay quiet and enjoy the seat.
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    Always be ready for shotgun calling. Don't assume that if you call shotgun once, you have passenger seat rights for the rest of the week. Shotgun only applies to the car trip at hand, and does not affect the seating of any car rides in advance. Always be ready to claim your territory.

Responsibilities of Shotgun

At all times the person riding shotgun must be willing to perform the following actions:

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    Spotting speed traps and police
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    Taking control of radio, air conditioner etc. *Note: Driver has final say over these settings as well*


  • Be aware that these are not all the rules to shotgun.
  • There are different versions of shotgun, so some rules that you play by might not apply to others. Make sure you know the rules of your travel buddies before the next car ride.


  • Don't get into fights over shotgun calling. We all know the passenger seat is great and all, but it's not worth getting into a fight over. Just keep cool, and remember: there will always be more car rides.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Cars