Grimes & Fertitta, P.C.

Brake-checking: A type of road rage

Both tailgating and brake-checking are actions often seen on the road. One driver may be trying to pass another and speed up closely to them. Another may not be paying attention and get too close to the vehicle in front of them.

The driver in front, who may be irritated by another vehicle following so closely behind them, could put on the brakes without any legitimate reason to do so. This could cause an accident, as the driver behind is too close to the other driver to stop fast enough.

Brake-checking is a kind of road rage

Most people know that brake-checking is dangerous, but they also know that in rear-end crashes, it is generally the vehicle to the rear who is at fault. However, brake-checking is a kind of road rage, and it's a myth that the driver to the rear is always at fault.

If the driver behind the brake-checker was trying to pass, for example, they might be speeding up to exit the lane and go around a slower driver. If the slower driver suddenly puts on the brakes, they could cause a serious accident.

Brake-checkers can be held responsible for their actions. For instance, if you're driving behind another driver and they throw on their brakes when you're two or three car lengths behind them, you still may not be able to stop. If there was no reason for the sudden stop, then that irresponsible and unanticipated action could mean that they're at fault due to their reckless behavior.

Brake-checking can also cause accidents that don't involve the brake-checking driver. For example, if a vehicle is following at a fair distance and the brake-checker thinks it's too close, they may slam on their brakes. That driver might be able to stop soon enough to avoid a crash, but if they have another vehicle behind them that can't, then they could be involved in a collision that doesn't involve the person who truly caused the act.

How can you protect yourself against brake-checking?

To start with, try to leave enough space between yourself and the vehicle you're following. Next, get a dash cam. A camera will give you the evidence you need if someone speeds in front of you to slam on their brakes or is being aggressive before trying to cause a collision. With evidence, it's easier to hold people responsible for their dangerous and reckless behaviors.

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