The Official Rules for Calling Shotgun

Note: This post is part of the Donna G Project. This is written to and for my boys.

I hear a lot of silly variations on shotgun rules among your friends. Usually it’s them trying to weasel their way into an illegal shotgun call, but sometimes they just have bad parents who don’t teach them the right rules. I always put the hammer down, but as part of the Donna G Project, I will lay out the official rules with no uncertain terms. These rules are non-negotiable and not up for debate.

Here they are.

Basic rules:

  • First one the call “shotgun” sits shotgun.
  • You must be outside to call shotgun.
  • If you have called shotgun, but go back inside (no matter the reason), you have forfeit your right to shotgun. Shotgun is up for grabs the instant you go inside.
  • Being inside means your head breaks the plane of a doorway. If you can keep your head outside, you still have shotgun.
  • If a girl is driving and your buddy likes that girl, consider letting him have shotgun. That is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended 

Rules for professionals:

  • The primary job of the person sitting shotgun is to support the driver. A professional shotgun will manage maps, phones, beverages, food, music, etc., and do so in way that places the driver’s needs first. For example:
    • Following a drive-thru purchase, a professional shotgun will always make sure the driver is 100% situated before opening their own meal.
    • A professional shotgun will never hand a driver a cheeseburger that is still wrapped. A professional shotgun will unwrap that sandwich exactly the way the driver wants it, so the driver can focus on driving. You are the driver’s hands.
  • A profession shotgun never falls asleep. They are there to make sure the driver is awake, alert, and supported.
  • A professional shotgun takes the role of Iroquois Runner.
    • Iroquois Runner will run any and all quick errands that are required (put a package in the mail, pick up a pizza, etc.)
    • Iroquois Runner’s shotgun status is protected while running an errand, even if the errand takes them indoors.
    • Following an errand, Iroquois Runner is to get back into the car:
      • Through the open window (opening the door is not allowed)
      • While the car is driving away

These are important rules. Learn them.


5 thoughts on “The Official Rules for Calling Shotgun

  1. This is getting printed out and taped to the dashboard. Rules for calling shotgun in my car have been too fluid. NO MORE

  2. I found your blog through a friend’s facebook post. I have 3 boys, (13, 13, and 8) 2 who are very involved in baseball and the third in scouts so appreciate your writing about baseball. However, this post I found particularly fun as I grew up with Shotgun rules. I printed out these rules and showed them to my boys but got into trouble when they started calling Shotgun on me while my husband was driving. I got no support from my husband for my claim that these rules do not apply when 2 adults are in the car and only apply when Mom or Dad are driving and the other is not present. Thankfully, 3 boxes of Lucky Charms provided for my ability to get out of their claims and re-set the ground rules for no calling Shotgun on Mom. Dad already responded, “I wasn’t the one who printed out the rules, so it’s a given they won’t work on me!”

    1. This may be my favorite comment of all time. Thanks! My kids constantly try and call shotgun on my wife and she never goes for it. She claims “Mom is immune to rules”. Flatout refusal.

  3. We established over the past weekend.

    —-Shotgun does not transfer vehicles.

    —-Old men are also immune to Shotgun. (Especially there are more than 2 people in the back of the car)

    —-Old men can also call off an Iroquois Runner window jump when on the DL.

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