Is Brake Checking Illegal?

We’ve all experienced looking in our rearview mirror and seeing the vehicle behind us traveling too closely. It can be annoying and scary to be tailgated by another driver and in order to get them to slow down and stop following too closely, you may be tempted to tap your brakes. However, this is a very dangerous action that can lead to a rear-end collision where you may be found liable for this aggressive maneuver.

What is Brake Checking?

Brake checking is when a driver intentionally applies their brakes and suddenly slows down to force the vehicle behind them to slow down or stop. Brake checking is a dangerous action and is typically performed when a driver is being tailgated or followed too closely by another driver.

While tailgating is dangerous and aggressive, it is never a good idea to combat an aggressive driver with another aggressive action such as brake checking.

Is Brake Checking Illegal?

Engaging in brake checking is a form of reckless, or aggressive, driving which is prohibited by traffic laws. Intentionally and abruptly applying the brakes creates a hazardous situation that jeopardizes the safety of everyone on the road and increases your chances of causing an accident. In addition, when you brake check, you are typically more focused on the vehicle behind you than on the road in front of you, which can also increase your chance of being involved in front-end collision.

Who is Responsible in a Brake Checking Accident?

Although you may think in a rear-end accident that the driver that does the rear-ending is always responsible, this is not always the case. Since both tailgating and brake checking are forms of aggressive driving, either driver could be responsible. Drivers may also share responsibility in these types of accidents.

Determining responsibility in a brake checking accident is a complex matter and will depend upon the circumstances surrounding the accident and an examination of the actions and behaviors of both drivers.

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How Do I Deal with Tailgaters?

Although brake checking may seem like a good way to stop someone from tailgating you, it is not. When dealing with a tailgater, you should follow these tips to handle the situation calmly:

  • Stay calm and focused on the road. Do not let a tailgater provoke you into driving aggressively.
  • Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you.
  • Don’t make gestures, exchange words, or retaliate against the tailgater.
  • When it is safe to change lanes, consider moving over and allowing the tailgater to pass.
  • Pull over and let the tailgater pass you and create distance between your vehicles.

Brake checking is not a safe method to deal with a tailgater. Focus on driving defensively and making safe decisions to protect yourself and others on the road. Remember, your safety is the top priority.

Our Car Accident Lawyers Can Help After a Crash

If you have been involved in a brake checking accident, or any other type of accident caused by someone else’s negligence on the road, The Barnes Firm can help. Our personal injury lawyers are experienced in handling all types of car accidents, including those caused by aggressive driving behaviors. We will work hard to protect your rights and to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today at (800) 800-0000 for a free consultation with one of our car accident lawyers. We are available to answer any questions you may have and provide you with guidance and support throughout the legal process.

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