Brake checking is the practice of hitting the brakes to make a tailgater increase their following distance. Drivers often use brake checking as a kind of counter-measure against aggressive drivers or as a means of retaliation. Regardless of the reason, brake checking is aggressive driving, and not only endangers the tailgater, but other motorists as well. It can potentially trigger a pileup crash, especially in wet or foggy conditions.

The tailgater could be a distracted driver with their family in the car. Perhaps the driver is a mother dealing with a child in the back seat. Sometimes people tailgate because of a legitimate emergency, and desperately need to get ahead. This is why brake checking is unacceptable and could land the perpetrator in jail. If it causes a fatality, then a manslaughter or homicide conviction is possible.

Even when tailgating is a deliberate act of road rage, brake checking is inexcusable because it’s also road rage and equally dangerous. In fact, brake checking that doesn’t cause a crash could still be considered a form of assault. Assault doesn’t require that someone cause physical harm. One need only intentionally threaten to hurt someone and have the means and ability to carry out the threat. An assault conviction of this type could subject the perpetrator to jail time and fines. Another consequence is it could result in a lawsuit.

People who practice brake checking should also understand that the fault for an accident doesn’t always lie with the second driver. If it’s determined that the brake checking caused the accident, then the tailgater may not be found at fault.

There is no justification for countering a dangerous act with an equally dangerous act, when all that’s necessary is to move out of the tailgater’s way by changing lanes. If an aggressive driver injured you in an accident, contact us at Hogan Injury to discuss your case.


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