Break. Check.

In California, automobile accidents related to brake checking are on the rise.

Brake checking is an illegal action. The person in front of you, in a brake checking situation, suddenly slams on their brakes. They do this to surprise you, to agitate you, and sometimes it’s to intentionally cause an accident. Regardless of where you are, brake checking is an action that puts you and others in unnecessary danger.

Myth Busted:

The rear driver is not always to blame for a rear-end collision.

It’s also not a pleasant or safe experience to have someone tailgating you. You could believe they have no business exposing you to the risk of a collision, so you may be tempted to tap on the brakes as a result.

It is terrifying to look in your rearview mirror and see that the car behind you is likely to crash into you because they are not paying attention and following WAY too closely. If they are far enough away to react in time, a light tap on your brakes could get their attention to prevent a crash, not cause one.

You could believe that placing them in fear of a collision is an effective method of teaching them a lesson and getting them to back off.

Unfortunately, this technique, known as brake checking, is just as hazardous as tailgating. The tailgater may not have enough time to avoid colliding with you and now you may share some or all the liability of the collision as well as have to talk to the other party.

As a team of expert California personal injury attorneys, Harsh Law could help you recover financially if you got injured in an accident that involved tailgating or brake checking. Let’s look at the problems associated with California brake checking accidents.

Who is Liable When Brake Checking a Tailgater Results in an Accident?

The person in the back of a vehicle that collides with another car is not always to blame. Although the rear motorist should have provided more clearance between vehicles to avoid an accident, the front motorist can sometimes be at fault.

If you’re suddenly slamming on the brakes when someone rapidly approaches and gets right on your bumper, a nasty wreck will be the likely outcome. In this scenario, the driver of the front vehicle can be held equally responsible or even more so than the rear vehicle driver if an accident occurs.

The State of California considers brake checking to be reckless driving. It also considers tailgating reckless driving as well. If possible, it is always best to avoid a collision and deescalate by allowing the other party to have space to move around if safely possible.

What to Do When Someone Tailgates You

Driving in Southern California, all drivers will eventually have to interact with someone who drives on your back bumper with maybe a foot or less of space between the two vehicles. While being terrified by an aggressive driver is unpleasant, brake checking is a mistake. The best response in most cases is to maintain your current speed until you can safely change lanes and allow the tailgater behind you to pass. There is no easy solution to change someone’s mind from tailgating, so it is often the best advice to step aside and not escalate.

Some people tailgate because a driver in front of them is going too slowly relative to the lane in which they are driving. If you drive too slowly for the flow of traffic in your lane, you are increasing the risk of a crash as well as upsetting established traffic patterns. The law requires that drivers be attentive, considerate, and courteous. People should not impede the flow of traffic to be attentive, thoughtful, and polite behind the wheel.

Best Advice:

Drive safely and allow the tailgater to take all the liability for any accident they create – do not add to any unsafe conditions.

One Call To Harsh Law

If you were injured in a vehicle accident while checking your brakes or tailgating, you should contact a California personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. For more information or to schedule a free case evaluation, please contact Harsh Law online or at 909-793-6261.