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What is Brake Checking?

man's shoe on the brake pedal in a car

Being followed closely by another driver is a frustrating experience. You may feel that their lack of distance is putting you in danger of being hit, or maybe you’re frustrated that they seem to be pushing you to move faster above the speed limit. In some cases, a driver’s frustration may cause them to brake check the driver behind them. Let’s discuss what this means.

Slamming On The Brakes

Brake checking is the act of suddenly tapping or slamming on a car's brakes. A driver may do this for a couple of main reasons. One reason could be to cause a minor collision so they can get an insurance payout. Another reason may be to signal to the behind driver that they need to leave more space. Even if the brake checking was not intended to cause a collision, it still might. In these cases, who is liable?

Liability for Brake Checking in New York

In most cases, the behind driver will be held liable for the accident caused by the ahead driver’s brake check. This is because it can be assumed that if the behind driver had been following at a safe and appropriate distance, the brake check would not have caused them to collide.

Still, there may be cases where the front driver is liable for the brake checking accident. For instance, they could be deemed a reckless driver due to the brake checking incident.

Additionally, establishing liability will become more complicated if the front driver engages in brake checking due to road rage.

Avoid Brake Checking Accidents

Take these steps to avoid being in a brake checking accident:

  • Follow at a safe distance: A good rule of thumb is to follow three seconds behind the driver in front of you.
  • Consider road conditions: Icy or wet roads mean you need to leave more space between you and the driver in front of you.
  • Stay calm: If you are being followed too closely, stay calm. Don’t immediately turn to hit the brakes. Instead, see if there is a safe way to let them pass you.

Albany Car Accident Attorneys

If you were involved in a brake-checking accident, contact our team at Schillinger & Associates today. We want to help you establish liability after an accident and secure you the compensation you deserve.