In this article, we will explore the dangers of brake checking, why drivers engage in this behavior, and steps you can take to avoid it on the road.
What is brake checking?
Brake checking is a dangerous driving behavior where a driver abruptly stops their car or slams on their brakes in front of another vehicle, usually as a way to signal frustration or anger. This dangerous practice can cause the following vehicle to rear-end the first car or swerve to avoid a collision, potentially causing a pile-up or multi-car accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 70% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving.
In this article, we will explore the dangers of brake checking, why it takes place on the road, who’s at fault in a brake-checking accident, and the steps you can take to avoid it.
So buckle up, and let’s dive in!
Is brake checking illegal?
When someone is tailgating you, you might be tempted to hit the brakes to teach them a lesson.
But is brake checking legal? The answer is a bit tricky.
Suddenly slowing down or stopping on the road can be considered reckless driving or even an intentional collision.
Some states don’t have any laws prohibiting brake checking (like Texas) while others expressly consider it a traffic violation (like California). Most states also have more general reckless driving laws that could apply to tailgating and brake-checking motorists.
Brake checking can be dangerous since it can cause other drivers to swerve or collide with your vehicle. So while it might feel satisfying at the moment, it’s usually not worth the risk of causing auto accidents that lead to serious injuries (i.e., brain injury) and wrongful death. Remember to stay calm, keep a safe following distance, and report unsafe or aggressive driving to the authorities.
Why Brake Checking Takes Place
There are two main reasons why drivers brake check:
Road rage is a common phenomenon often resulting in reckless driving, including brake checking. In the heat of the moment, drivers may experience frustration, anger, and aggression toward other drivers.
These emotions can overwhelm a driver’s ability to make rational decisions, leading them to brake suddenly or excessively. This endangers themselves and others around them.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, aggressive driving behavior, including brake checking, is a factor in over half of fatal crashes on US roads.
Understanding road rage incidents and remaining calm while driving can help prevent incidents like brake checking and keep everyone safe on the road.
To Cause an Accident
Believe it or not, some drivers want to cause an accident. Why? Three words: crash for cash.
By brake checking another driver and causing a collision, they can make an insurance claim or demand cash compensation for the damages. And it’s not just individuals doing this—organized fraud rings have also been known to stage accidents for profit.
It’s a dangerous game that puts innocent people at risk of injury and drives up insurance premiums for everyone. So if you ever suspect someone is trying to cause an accident on purpose, stay vigilant and report it.
Who is at fault in a brake checking accident?
Rear-end collisions are often the fault of the rear driver. However, a driver who brake checks can also be held partly or wholly liable if their actions caused the accident.
Generally, the person performing the brake check is considered at fault, as they create an unsafe driving situation. However, proving fault in these types of accidents can be challenging.
Drivers are responsible for maintaining a safe following distance and avoiding distracting behaviors that can lead to crashes. In other words, you could still be at fault if you are tailgating someone and rear-ending them when they brake check.
Here are some tips for proving that the brake checker was responsible for the incident:
- If your motor vehicle has a dash cam or you know of eyewitnesses who saw the brake checking incident, that’s your best evidence to prove fault. The footage can show the other driver aggressively slowing down, which is a clear sign of brake checking.
- If you don’t have video footage or eyewitnesses, you can still establish proof of brake checking by examining the physical evidence. For instance, you can provide photos of damages to the front of your car in cases of a rear-end accident.
- If cops were called to the scene of the accident, their police report could corroborate your account. They can also gather information and witness statements that can be used to build your case.
- Checking your car’s onboard system logs can help your case. Your car’s black box can record the speed and braking leading to the car crash. This information can support your claims that you were not following the other driver too closely or weren’t braking erratically.
But remember, even with all this evidence, proving fault for a brake checking incident can still be challenging.
If you are involved in a brake checking accident, the best thing to do is to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney. They can assess your case, gather evidence, and help you determine who is at fault and what compensation you may be entitled to.
What to Do If You See Someone Brake Checking
Here are some tips on what to do if you ever encounter someone that brake checks.
- Keep a safe distance between their vehicle and yours. Avoid tailgating them; give them enough space to brake without risking a collision. Signal to them that you are keeping a safe distance by turning on your hazard lights or flashing your headlights.
- Report the incident to the police. If someone deliberately puts you in danger by brake checking you, it is considered reckless driving and should be taken seriously. Provide as many details as possible, such as a vehicle description, license plate number, and incident location. This will help the police take appropriate action and prevent drivers from endangering others on the road.
- Avoid responding to road rage. It’s easy to get angry when someone tries to provoke you on the road, but always stay calm and avoid escalating the situation. Pull over at a safe location until the other driver drives away or contact law enforcement if needed.
Remember, safety should always come first when driving. Stay calm and focused, and don’t let aggressive behavior from other drivers get the best of you.
You may be entitled to compensation if you’ve been in a brake checking accident.
Don’t let the stress and financial burden of severe injuries and property damage from vehicle accidents weigh you down.
At Frantz Law Group, we have experienced professionals who can help you navigate the legal process and seek the compensation you deserve. Our personal injury lawyers have a proven track record of winning cases and dealing with insurance companies for accident claims and payouts.
So, what are you waiting for? Take action today and give our law firm a call. Our car accident lawyers provide free consultations and help you understand your options. With our help, you can focus on healing while we handle your personal injury lawsuit.
Don’t let this accident hold you back any longer. Let’s work together to get you the justice you deserve.