Is Brake Checking Illegal? Why It’s Both Illegal and Dangerous

is brake checking illegal

Curious about whether Is Brake Checking Illegal? You’re in the Right Place. It’s no secret that brake checking is a common practice in California.

Too often, you’ll tap or slam on your brakes to let another driver know that you’re angry that they’re following you too closely. Unfortunately, this type of behavior can lead to a dangerous motor vehicle collision.

While checking your brakes is a common practice, it’s also illegal in California.

Under state law, you can’t do it if you’re following another driver at a high speed or if it’s dangerous to do so.

It’s likely to result in an accident, and it could even put you in violation of a law that prohibits you from driving at a low speed in dangerous conditions.

If you’re injured in an accident while brake checking, you could also be sued for personal injury.

In this article, we will take you through all the important things about brake checking illegal.

Brake Checking: What It Means And Why It Is Done

The term “brake checking” is often used interchangeably with “brake swerving” or “brake avoidance.”

It’s a term used to describe the practice of intentionally slamming on the brakes while driving with another vehicle behind you in order to cause the other vehicle to slam on its brakes or move out of your way so that you don’t have to.

The idea behind this practice is that insurance companies will likely find fault with you for not giving your vehicle enough room to respond or brake in an emergency.

Brake checking can be one of the most dangerous things you can do in your car. It can lead to potential injury or even cause gruesome death.

It can also cost you a lot of money if you have to pay for the repairs or if you lose your no claim bonus.

However, many people do it out of frustration, usually over a simple error made by another driver.

Why does brake checking happen? Here are the two main reasons:

  • Aggression: You’ll see this in a lot of dash cam compilations, drivers pass the party they’re mad at and hit their brakes, then speed up again. It’s also one of the most common reactions to tailgating.
  • Retrieving Cash: It’s a bit more concerning, but there have also been reports of motorists deliberately brake checking to cause an accident in order to either get an insurance payout or cash for the damage or both. This is a nightmare for personal car lease and business car lease customers, as the repair has to be completed before it can be returned.

Is Brake Checking Illegal?

Brake checking is a criminal offense and is classified as dangerous driving, which carries a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment and a maximum fine.

The penalties are (correctly) even harsher in the event of a collision resulting in a fatality.

The maximum penalty for a death by dangerous driving offense is 14 years imprisonment with an unlimited fine.

Knowing this, you might want to ask, is brake checking illegal in all states?

Mostly, brake checking is illegal in all states.

For instance, there is no law regarding break checking or tailgating in Arizona and Texas.

However, reckless driving is highly prohibited and there are penalties for this.

Is brake checking illegal in California?

Well, yes!

Similar to the various other states in the United States, California is no different where both tailgating and brake checking is considered a criminal offense.

To avoid a brake check, maintain a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle being checked, ideally at least two seconds away. This may involve slowing down to gauge the driver’s thoughts.

Avoid entering the back of the brake checker’s vehicle, as this could lead to confrontation, insurance exchange, or even forced cash payments.

Even if you’re brake checked and collide with the vehicle behind, you could be charged with tailgating, an illegal offense, if you don’t maintain a safe distance.

Related Content: Is It Illegal To Drive Barefoot In Texas?

Bottom Line

The legality of brake checking hinges on various factors, including intent and local traffic laws. Is it illegal to brake check someone?

While not universally deemed illegal, engaging in this behavior can pose significant risks and potentially lead to legal repercussions or accidents.

It’s essential to prioritize safety on the road and avoid aggressive driving tactics like brake checking, which can escalate tensions and endanger lives.

Remember to adhere to traffic regulations and exercise patience while driving to ensure the safety of yourself and others.

If you’re unsure about whether is it illegal to break checks in your area, consulting local traffic laws and seeking guidance from legal professionals can provide clarity.

Ultimately, promoting responsible driving habits and respect for fellow motorists is paramount for fostering safer road environments.

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Jason Jones

Jason Jones is an experienced editor with a passion for the law. With a 10-year background in legal editing, He has honed his skills in ensuring accuracy and clarity in legal writing. He is dedicated to delivering high-quality content that educates and informs readers on various legal topics.

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