Tailgating is a form of aggressive driving, road rage, or occasionally ignorance. Impatience and intimidation are its primary motivating factors. Sometimes the lead driver responds with their own act of aggression: brake checking.
Brake Checking Causes Collisions
Brake checking is the illegal act of braking hard in front of a tailgater to get them to back off. Brake-checking drivers are willing to risk rear-end collisions, the thought being that tailgaters will always be found at fault — a mistaken notion.
Eyewitness accounts of a crash involving brake checking can lead to fault (or partial fault) being assigned to the brake-checking driver. Many vehicles on the roadways are equipped with dash cams, which can help provide clarity. Those with continuous recording capability can also capture the lead-up to an incident.
Rear-end collisions are perilous for occupants of both the brake-checking and tailgating vehicles. Even worse, if the tailgating driver swerves to avoid the brake-checking vehicle, he may collide with another vehicle (or multiple vehicles), potentially causing harm to innocent victims. The brake checker, meanwhile, might disavow his own harmful actions and leave the scene of the accident.
It’s understandable that a driver would be frustrated or angered by a careless tailgater, but brake checking is an equally dangerous response. The best solution is to take a deep breath; avoid “gesturing”; maintain a constant speed; follow all traffic laws; and signal and pull over if possible, to allow the tailgater to pass. Note the make/model of the car and the license plate number and report this information to the authorities.
If you suffer injuries due to another driver’s negligence, contact a personal injury auto accident attorney to protect your rights.