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Is Brake Checking Illegal?

Is brake checking illegal - traffic police officer discussing legal consequences of brake checking with a driver, pointing to a traffic law book

Answer: Brake checking, the act of suddenly braking to discourage a tailgater, is illegal and considered a dangerous driving behavior as it can lead to rear-end collisions and road rage incidents. It’s important to maintain safe driving practices and instead move over or allow aggressive drivers to pass to avoid potential accidents.

Read on to learn more.

Understanding Brake Checking: Definition and Context

Car suddenly braking on a highway with brake lights on, showing a typical brake checking scenario with a following car

Derived from the phrase itself, a brake check is an abrupt act of slamming on the brakes, typically executed by a driver who believes that the vehicle behind is tailgating or resorting to aggressive driving.

While this scenario may seem like an exercise of defensive driving, there are several repercussions to brake checking that extend beyond a simple car accident.

This action, largely influenced by road rage, can result in a rear-end collision, increasing the likelihood of injuries, damages, and even lawsuits given the question of liability that ensues.

The prevailing view is that the driver behind should uphold a safe distance to avoid collision should the vehicle ahead abruptly come to a halt.

In practice, however, this concept is questioned when the driver in front purposely elicits this response. In the realm of litigation, the fact that the lead driver performed a brake check doesn’t necessarily absolve them from liability, especially if it can be proven that their act prompted the rear-end accident.

The practice of aggressive driving techniques like brake checking poses considerable risks, legally and safety-wise, laying the groundwork for complex accident cases and compromising the safety of everyone on the road.

Legality of Brake Checking: Laws and Penalties

Dashboard camera capturing a car braking sharply, providing evidence in a brake checking incident

The act of a driver who suddenly slams on their brakes without any tangible cause, commonly known as brake checking, is illegal in many jurisdictions.

It’s not just detrimental behavior that promotes road rage and endangers lives, but if proven, it may also lead to severe legal repercussions.

The individuals found guilty of this act may be criminally charged and may also face a personal injury lawsuit if their actions result in a car crash.

The keyword here is ‘if proven’; the challenge many victims face is successfully establishing evidence to prove that the other driver deliberately brake-checked them.

Brake checking may manifest as a response towards a tailgater, or a driver following too closely, and while this act is deemed dangerous and threatening, tailgating is also considered an unlawful act in many places.

Both types of accidents, rear-end accidents caused by tailgaters or sudden braking, lead to the need to identify who’s at fault for the accident.

That’s where a car accident lawyer comes in, providing counsel on legal strategies and elucidating the nuances of laws surrounding such incidents.

Another driver, in trying to avoid a brake checker, might be obligated to suddenly change lanes, leading to another type of accident that puts even more individuals at risk.

Both tailgating and brake checking then, reflect poor driving choices with potential legal consequences.

The Dangers of Brake Checking: Safety Risks and Road Rage

Car accident caused by brake checking, showing two cars with rear-end damage on a busy road

Brake checking, an all too common form of aggressive driving, poses significant safety risks to all motorists on the road.

The act involves a driver abruptly hitting their brakes to scare or ‘check’ a driver who is tailgating them, often resulting in the rear driver being involved in an accident.

Ironically, even if brake checking is illegal in many jurisdictions, the driver who rear-ends another vehicle is typically found partially at fault due to most states operating under a comparative negligence system.

This system may hold the tailgating driver accountable for failing to maintain a safe following distance, thus contributing to the accident.

In some instances, brake checking can also be a means of insurance fraud, as the instigator may intentionally induce a brake check accident in hopes that the rear driver’s insurance will cover the car damage.

However, provided there are witness statements or video evidence, insurance companies may be able to identify the brake checker as the primarily negligent party, especially in a comparative negligence state.

Awareness and recognition of these factors can play a critical role in an insurance claim since a driver might be wrongfully accused of being negligent if the other party lies about the events leading up to the accident.

This, in turn, has serious implications on insurance premiums and, more specifically, potential denials of uninsured motorist coverage.

Tailgating and Brake Checking: A Dangerous Combination

On the road, various aggressive driving behaviors such as brake checking or tailgating are common but highly dangerous.

Tailgating involves following another vehicle too closely and poses tremendous risks; the situation can escalate if someone brake checks the tailgater—a willful act of hitting the brakes suddenly to scare or even intentionally cause a crash.

Indulging in tailgating and brake checking is, therefore, a perilous combination, not only endangering the drivers involved but also other innocent road users. Aggressive brake checking could even lead to multi-car pile-ups.

Brake checking involves one driver intentionally causing a potential rear-end collision by unexpectedly slamming on their brakes, which is often a response to being tailgated.

In such cases, the driver who performed the brake check forces the tailgating vehicle to react swiftly or face a collision, almost always resulting in stressful and dangerous road conditions.

Imagine a situation where the driver brake checked a tailgator, and due to brake checking, the tailgating car could not stop in time, leading to a car accident.

In such scenarios, the evidence collected by a car accident attorney may hold significant value; however, proving that someone intentionally performed a brake check can be an uphill battle.

So, drivers need to understand the risks involved with aggressive driving behaviors like brake checking and tailgating, and take steps to avoid such incidents.

Proving Brake Checking: Challenges and Evidence

Agitated driver looking angrily at another driver through the rearview mirror, depicting road rage in a brake checking incident

Delving deep into the elements of car accident litigation, one is sure to encounter the illegal driving practice known as “brake checking.”

This occurs when a driver slams on their brakes unexpectedly, usually to cause the tailgating car behind to crash into them.

Tailgating is also illegal, and proving a brake-checking accident brings up a challenging point: under state law, rear-end collisions are often considered the fault of the rear driver for failing to maintain a safe distance.

This is where the utility of an experienced car accident attorney shines brightly. Navigating these complex scenarios requires both knowledge and precision.

Collecting and presenting evidence to prove “brake checking” is not trivial, and pinning down the negligence of the other driver involves a deep understanding of applicable laws.

It’s not just about proving the brake checker was slamming on the brakes to provoke an accident, but establishing this as a deliberate, unsafe course of action.

Often, crash reconstruction experts and witnesses are utilized to verify if the driver’s brake testing was an intentional act that led to an accident.

Insurance Implications: Coverage and Denials

When exploring brake-checking incidents, the question of fault in an accident comes promptly into focus. Insurance companies use determinations of fault to decide who is financially responsible for the accident.

This directly influences a driver’s eligibility for compensation in a personal injury claim.

If the tailgating driver can prove that the other driver was intentionally brake checking—composing a dangerous situation—the driver who was brake checking may be deemed partially at fault or fully liable for any resulting damages.

Brake checking is one of the common types of accidents that are a result of road rage, where one driver follows another vehicle too closely, and in a way to get back, the lead driver suddenly hits the brakes causing a collision.

In these scenarios, determining who is at fault becomes a complex task, as insurance companies might view the tailgating driver as the main contributor to the collision.

However, if the tailgated driver was at least 50% at fault for causing an accident due to an intentional brake check, the victim of the accident may be able to deny a portion of their liability.

In such cases, guidance from a car accident lawyer can help resolve the confusion associated with such insurance implications.

Avoiding Brake Checking Incidents: Tips for Drivers

Brake checking, often seen as a way to retaliate back at the other driver in a fit of road rage, is not only a dangerous act but it can potentially lead to serious legal implications including the attempt to commit insurance fraud by orchestrating a situation to cause a rear-end collision.

Instead, the focus should remain on the road ahead. Defensive driving strategies are very important to avoid such incidents; these include always maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, which provides you enough time to stop and allows the driver behind you to respond accordingly.

This proactive driving approach can potentially mitigate the risk of becoming liable for the accident.

On the other hand, if you suspect that you are being tailgated, the best course of action is not to react in fear or anger.

Instead, persistently applying the principle of cautious driving can make a significant difference. Try to change lanes and slow down gradually to allow the tailgating vehicle to pass by.

Also, always keep documentation of any events on the road, a dash-cam can be an invaluable source of proof in case of an accident due to brake checking.

It provides solid evidence of whether to file a personal injury lawsuit or to deal with your insurance company. Consequently, understanding and following these tips can go a long way in eliminating the chances of brake-checking incidents.

Contact Lord, Kobrin, Alvarez, and Fattell for a FREE consultation.
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