We are all aware of aggressive drivers and the dangers they engender. When you think of aggressive driving, you probably think about drivers who tailgate, speed, or weave in and out of traffic. What you may not realize, however, is that drivers who engage in brake checking – hitting their brakes when there is no legitimate reason for doing so – also engage in a form of aggressive driving that is extremely dangerous.
Driving too Closely
When a car gets too close behind another car, he or she is not always intentionally tailgating. For example:
- Sometimes a driver is being crowded from behind by another driver
- Sometimes a driver is attempting to pass a slower-moving forward car
- Sometimes an obstacle on the road causes a motorist to move in too closely behind a vehicle in another lane
While driving too closely to another car is dangerous, sometimes it simply cannot be helped. Further, while it is never comfortable to have another vehicle move in too close from behind, brake checking is dangerous and never appropriate. Even if the rear motorist is engaging in aggressive driving, checking your brakes is never a safe response. When a forward driver slams on his or her brakes for no other reason than to show irritation, that driver puts everyone on the road in danger.
Responsibility and the Rear Driver
Many motorists are under the mistaken belief that, in a rear-end collision, the motorist to the rear is always at fault. If the rear driver was following too closely, this is often true, but the forward motorist’s actions can be faulted. Brake checking is a form of aggressive driving, and drivers who engage in this dangerous tactic can be held responsible for their negligence.
Even if the rear driver is a reasonable distance from the driver who checks his or her brakes, that rear driver – in turn – has to hit his or her own brakes, which can lead to an accident with the vehicle that follows. In other words, the brake-checking driver does not necessarily have to be directly involved in the accident to be found responsible or partially responsible.
Sharing the Road Safely with Brake Checkers
Motorists who hit their brakes for no reason endanger everyone with whom they share the road. The best way to protect yourself from these dangerous brake-checkers is to always leave ample room between your own vehicle and the one in front of you. Further, if you spot an aggressive driver in your midst, give that driver as much room as you possibly can and alert the authorities. You could help prevent a dangerous accident from occurring.