Posted on April 10, 2020
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Brake checking occurs when one driver abruptly hits the brakes while another is following him or her too closely. It is a dangerous practice that can lead to a rear-end collision. Brake checking often goes hand-in-hand with aggressive or road rage driving. Drivers may become angry at the person who did the brake checking, leading to assaults or acts of violence on top of a car accident. As a driver in Texas, you should never brake check another vehicle. You could end up liable for an accident, and potentially end up in a personal injury lawsuit.
What Is the Point of Brake Checking?
A driver might be guilty of brake checking if he or she slams on the brakes without reason – such as without a red light or an obstacle causing the car to stop. Most drivers brake check to communicate to drivers behind them that they are following too closely. A driver may brake check as a warning, letting the other driver see that he or she may not be able to stop fast enough if following too closely. The goal is usually to force the following driver to allow for a greater distance.Brake checking is an aggressive driving tactic that is not the standard procedure for these situations. If someone is tailgating you, calmly switch lanes to allow that driver to pass. Even if the following driver is speeding, tailgating, driving aggressively or otherwise in the wrong, do not put yourself at risk by brake checking the driver. Put your blinker on and move out of the other driver’s way when it is safe to do so. If you are on a two-lane road, try to ignore the driver until you can switch lanes. If you feel in danger, pull off to the side of the road someplace safe to let the driver pass.
Is Brake Checking Illegal in Texas?
Texas does not have a specific law in place that makes brake checking illegal. However, It does have laws requiring drivers to maintain safe following distances (Texas Transportation Code 545.062).This law states that while following another vehicle, a driver must leave enough distance to ensure he or she can stop without colliding with the front vehicle. Texas also has a law prohibiting reckless driving. Texas Transportation Code 545.401 makes it an offense to willfully or wantonly operate a vehicle with a disregard for the safety of others. If you brake check someone and cause a car accident, the police can cite you for reckless driving.
Who Is at Fault for a Brake Checking Car Accident?
Fault matters in a car accident case in Texas. Like most states, Texas uses a traditional tort-based law to determine financial responsibility, or liability, for an auto accident. Before you can recover financial compensation from an insurance company, you or your car accident lawyer must determine and prove the other driver’s fault for the brake checking accident. Fault is a complicated concept in a brake checking wreck, as it presents a unique spin on a typical rear-end car accident case.
For the most part, the rear driver is responsible for a rear-end collision in Dallas. It is the rear driver’s responsibility to keep an adequate following distance, pay attention to the road and hit the brakes when other drivers reduce their speed. In a brake checking accident, the rear driver could face liability for the collision, as it was his or her duty to hit the brakes in time to avoid crashing into the back of the lead driver.
If, however, the act of brake checking was so abrupt or severe that a reasonable and prudent driver would not have been able to avoid a rear-end collision, the person doing the brake checking can face liability for the crash. Since brake checking is an example of reckless or road-rage or driving, the driver who committed the action might bear partial or full responsibility for a resultant rear-end collision. The driver who is ultimately at fault for a brake checking car accident will depend on the circumstances of the case.
Can You Be At Fault for Brake Checking?
It is possible to be at fault for a rear-end collision caused by brake checking. Although a rear-end collision will be the fault of the following driver in most cases, if that driver can prove you abruptly slammed on your brakes for no reason, you might at least share liability for a crash. Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. If the other driver can prove you contributed to the car accident by brake checking, you might receive less money – or none at all – in an injury or property damage lawsuit. If the courts find you more than 50% at fault for brake checking, you will lose any right to hold the other driver liable.Brake checking is unsafe. It can cause or contribute to a rear-end collision in Texas. You could receive a ticket for reckless driving if brake checking causes you or the driver following you to crash. You could also face liability for the wreck. If the other driver swerves out the way, for example, and collides into a guardrail, you could share fault for the accident – even if the other driver was following too closely. If a tailgater annoys you, switch lanes and let him or her go around. Write down the driver’s license plate number as he or she passes. Report reckless drivers to the nonemergency police number in your county.
What to Do If You’ve Been in a Brake Check Wreck
You can protect your legal rights after a brake check car accident by following through with certain actions. These actions allow you to document the crash, collect evidence against the other driver and protect your physical wellbeing. If you cannot complete all of these steps, don’t panic. Contact a personal injury lawyer in Dallas for assistance in the aftermath of a crash.
Steps to take after a brake check wreck include:
Remain calm and don’t shout at the other driver. Brake checking accidents often involve road rage or driver disputes. Do your best to stay calm and discuss things rationally with the other driver.
Call the police. Check yourself and people in the other vehicle for injuries. Call 911 to report the crash, even if it was minor. If anyone is injured, request an ambulance. When the police arrive, make sure they record your side of the story.
Do not admit fault. Do not even engage the other driver in conversations about fault. Explain that neither of you has to admit fault right now; the police and your insurance companies will investigate the accident to determine fault.
Collect as much information as you can. Exchange names and contact information with the other driver. Write down a description of the crash while the details are still clear in your mind. Take photographs and get the names of eyewitnesses. Write down your police report number, as well.
Go to the hospital. Before you focus on a car insurance claim, protect your health and safety by going to a hospital in Dallas without delay. Follow your doctor’s treatment plan and request copies of all relevant medical records.
Once you are ready, call your insurance company to file a claim. Do not accept a fast settlement and do not give a recorded statement. Before you settle your claim, consult with a Dallas car accident lawyer. Brake checking accidents are complicated and can lead to difficult liability disputes. A lawyer can help you argue your side of the case, protect your legal rights and fight for the most favorable outcome possible.