Brake checking is a common phenomenon on roads nowadays. With the increasing number of cars and other vehicles, the number of brake-checking incidents is rising. You may have encountered a brake checking incident if you have some driving experience, or maybe people from your known circle.
An incident such as this is unwanted on the road, no matter what. In a few cases, this can lead to severe consequences. Before further discussion, we must know what brake checking is and why people do it.
Brake checking – what is it?
Brake checking is potentially dangerous. It is the act of sharply hitting your vehicle’s brakes when there is another vehicle behind you nearby. By hitting the brakes suddenly, you make the following driver do the same.
The unsuspecting driver has to hit the brakes or swerve out of the way to avoid a collision, without any choice. It is from the common knowledge that the insurance company would think that it belongs to the cases of road accidents. It will imply that the victim has nothing to do with another driver’s fault. The act is deemed to be dangerous and damaging in several sectors. Still, people would do it.
Why do people do it?
In wide regard, people brake check other vehicles for money. The money can come as an insurance pay-out or cash transactions for damages. Though, a victim can claim both kinds of compensation at the same time.
Without this, there are several other reasons for people to brake check. Now, there is no guarantee that you will get paid for your damages. That’s why sometimes people end up with the damage expenses, and they have to pay themselves. After all this, people do it, putting themselves and others in danger.
There is also a psychological reason for it. In most of the cases of brake checks, there is evidence of the victim getting tailgated first. Tailgating means the opposite of brake checking. If there’s a scenario of a brake checking accident, tailgating can be the part before the accident. If the motorist behind the victim is tailgating, sudden braking by the driver ahead will lead to brake checking. If a motorist drives too close or there is no two-second gap between the two, it is called tailgating.
Similarly, the vehicle ahead comes in the way of the second and doesn’t let it pass. It can make the driver feel frustrated and angry. So, the driver tries to make the other feel the same and engages in this act. Ironically, there is no good in traveling this way. Either you reach late, or never reach at all.
Some people naturally tend to have rough driving. They may not have any wrong intentions, but their way of driving may put others in danger. However, some people do it as a sport or fun activity.
Road rage and similar kinds of incidents frequently happen on roads, especially on highways. Dashcams on cars show footage of road rages. People, while driving cars, intimidate other drivers and do such acts. Rough and reckless driving is the way for them, which sometimes ends up in a highway chase.
These acts on the road put some businesses in great difficulty. Personal and business car leasing facilities view them as their nightmare. It leaves them in deep financial trouble.
There can also be a drug addict or mentally unstable driver responsible for such incidents.
Sometimes, drivers target heavy vehicles such as trucks and buses for pulling off an act of brake checking. It seems that the heavier the vehicle, the more time it takes to come to a halt. For a vehicle, such as a truck, the driver has to act as quickly as possible and hit the brake to avoid a collision. Though most of the time, an accident becomes unavoidable.
How do you avoid an incident of brake check?
There can be several reasons for the other driver to brake check you. Tailgating a car puts you at a higher risk. This can annoy the driver ahead that you’re driving too close to them. When people drive at inconsistent speeds, they also get at the risk of getting brake checked. Generally, you should follow a two-second gap while driving. The two-second gap is the average distance between cars. If you’re getting checked, you have a second to apply brakes and another second to come to a halt. In this way, you can avoid being brake checked.
If you get closer to another car, slow down and drive slowly. This may annoy the drivers behind you but eliminates the risk of being brake-checked.
What should you do after the brake check?
You will encounter another car sharply cut in front of you. They will show signs that they are not happy with the way you drive and eventually break-check you. If you come up with all the signs, do not continue any further. Though it can take you a few more minutes to reach your spot, without driving behind that car, pull over. Wait for the series to pass and start afresh. This will save you from getting into accidents.
The usage of dashcams is becoming frequent for such incidents. They serve as key evidence in case there is a brake checking accident or tailgating. You can also install one.
Lots of modern cars come with automatic braking facilities. These are capable of avoiding last-moment collisions.
Is it legal, and should you report to the police?
Brake checking or tailgating is extremely dangerous as it can lead to accidents and occasional death. It can land you significant financial loss. There are strict laws for this. If a person is found guilty of brake checking, he or she can serve a minimum sentence of two years in prison and an unlimited fine. In the case of road death, it extends to fourteen years and an unlimited fine.
If you come across any such incident, you may report it to the police. Video evidence or evidence of actual damage done can be helpful. Information about the suspect’s number plate will help, too.
Brake checking is not good for the safety of travelers and motorists. For that, it becomes a duty to maintain road discipline. No matter how dissatisfied or annoyed you are, do not consider brake checking another driver.