I would like to know if the Good Samaritan law makes it legal for a third party driver to try to break up/interfere with a road rage event while it is happening.

Say for example that you are driving on a highway and you start to pass up a pickup truck that is closely tailgating a small car in the lane next to you. You notice that the driver of the pickup truck looks to be a big man and he looks very angry. You also notice that the driver of the small car looks to be a young woman who looks frightened and is crying.

At this point, you figure that this is a road rage event that is in progress and you fear that the life of the young woman is in imminent danger. If you were to decide at that point to interfere with this event by ramming your vehicle into the side of the pickup truck and then that pickup truck goes off the road and crashes, would you likely be arrested and sent to prison for causing the crash and injury to the pickup driver, or would the Good Samaritan law protect you from being charged with a crime?

"...Good Samaritan laws offer legal protection to people who give reasonable assistance to those who are, or whom they believe to be injured, ill, in peril, or otherwise incapacitated.[1] The protection is intended to reduce bystanders' hesitation to assist, for fear of being sued or prosecuted for unintentional injury or wrongful death..." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Samaritan_law

Does the Good Samaritan law make it legal for a third party driver to interfere with a road rage event while it is happening?

  • 1
    The existence and boundaries of good-samaritan laws vary from state to state. Which one are you asking about?
    – bdb484
    Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 21:29
  • @bdb484, California
    – user57467
    Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 21:30

1 Answer 1


No. Self-defence law does

The right of self-defense (also called, when it applies to the defense of another, alter ego defense, defense of others, defense of a third person) is the right for people to use reasonable or defensive force, for the purpose of defending one's own life (self-defense) or the lives of others, including –in certain circumstances– the use of deadly force.

Whether you would succeed in such a defence depends on the exact circumstances.

Good Samaritan laws protect you from trying to help, screwing up, and causing further damage.

  • 1
    More exactly "Good Samaritan" laws say that if a person attempts to help, but makes an error that causes harm, the person will not be legally liable for thje harm so done, that is that the law will be a defense to a tort action. They do not,. unfortunately, prevent the screw-up. Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 23:33
  • 2
    More specifically, Good Samaritan laws primarily protect helpers from lawsuits in the nature of medical malpractice suits by the injured person against the person helping alleging that the helper's carelessness in connection with providing first aid aggravated existing physical injuries.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 20:54
  • Good learn! I had, apparently, some misconceptions that justified defense (what it is called in some European jurisdictions) is not extended beyond family in Cal./U.S.; does that have any basis?
    – kisspuska
    Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 23:37

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