Dangers of Brake Checking

foot stepping on brake in a car

Brake checking, a maneuver where a driver suddenly slows down or slams on their brakes to intimidate or retaliate against another driver, is a dangerous behavior that can have severe consequences on the road. While it may seem like a valid form of expressing frustration, brake checking often leads to accidents, injuries, and legal complications. 

What is Brake Checking?

Brake checking occurs when a driver abruptly slows down or stops their vehicle, typically in response to feeling tailgated, cut off, or otherwise provoked by another driver. This action is often done intentionally as a way to force the trailing vehicle to react suddenly. Brake checking can happen on highways, city streets, or any roadway where vehicles are in close proximity to each other.

Why is It So Dangerous?

Brake checking is intended to cause distress to another driver by forcing them to react quickly. The goal is to reciprocate frustration and call attention to unwanted behavior. But brake checking can also have dangerous consequences:

Rear-End Collisions 

When a driver suddenly brakes, the vehicle behind them may not have enough time to react, leading to a rear-end collision. These accidents can cause significant damage to vehicles and result in injuries to drivers and passengers.

Chain Reaction Crashes

In heavy traffic or congested areas, brake checking can trigger a chain reaction where multiple vehicles collide into each other. This can lead to pile-ups and extensive damage, not to mention serious injuries.

Road Rage Escalation

Road rage is a serious issue among drivers in the US, and gun-related incidents are on the rise. Brake checking can escalate tensions between drivers and potentially lead to serious, or even fatal consequences.

Is Brake Checking Illegal?

Yes. Brake checking is considered a form of road rage and it is illegal in the state of Colorado. For this reason, drivers who engage in brake checking may be held liable for any accidents or injuries that occur as a result of their actions. 

Who is at Fault in a Brake Checking Accident?

Determining fault in a brake checking-related accident can be complicated. Proving liability will depend on a few factors, including:

Proximity: tailgating is also illegal in Colorado. Drivers are expected to maintain a safe following distance to allow for sudden stops. If a driver was driving too closely behind another vehicle when a brake checking incident occurred, they may be deemed partially at fault for the collision.

Intent: the intent behind the brake checking maneuver can also influence liability. If it can be proven that the driver intentionally slammed on their brakes to cause harm or intimidate another driver, they may bear more responsibility for any resulting accidents.

Proving Fault in Brake Checking Accidents

In most rear end accidents, the driver in the back is automatically held liable; but this is not always the case in brake checking accidents. You will need to prove that the vehicle in front acted in a deliberately unsafe manner, which can be complicated. One driver may assert they had a legitimate reason to brake suddenly, such as a road hazard or animal. The other driver may claim they were not following too closely but still had insufficient time to react to the sudden stop. 

Furthermore, if both parties engaged in illegal behavior, they may both be held liable. It will then be a matter of deciding who was more at fault. 

Whatever the details, you will want to consult with a personal injury as soon as possible following a brake checking accident. Colorado’s comparative negligence laws may allow you to collect damages even if you were partially responsible. Your attorney will help you collect evidence to determine if and how much you contributed to the accident, as well as the extent of damages you may be owed. 

Brake Checking Attorney Colorado

Road rage is a serious issue that can have devastating consequences. If you were involved in an accident due to tailgating, brake checking, or other aggressive behaviors, contact the attorneys at The Roth Group. We are skilled and compassionate professionals who understand the profound impact these accidents can have on victims and their families. Call or go online today to schedule your free consultation. 

author avatar
Heather Kleinman