You can barely hold back your frustration. “I’ll teach you a lesson!” you swear under your breath. The other driver cut you off, and you don’t want them to get away with it. So, in a fit of anger, you brake check them. They swerve frantically and luckily manage to avoid a collision. But what could have happened?
Well, you could have caused an accident, making the need for a car accident attorney in Myrtle Beach a real possibility. In Florida, brake checking is considered unsafe, and the at-fault driver may be on the hook for the resulting accident.
What makes brake checking dangerous? How can you avoid it? And what steps should you take if you find yourself in a spot of bother (injured or facing damages to your vehicle) due to another driver’s undoing? Discover the specifics hereunder.
Brake checking occurs when a driver suddenly brakes in front of another vehicle, intending to cause that driver to brake as well, especially if they’re tailgating you. This action can startle drivers and cause them to over-brake or even lose control, leading to an accident.
The most dangerous aspect of brake checking is its unpredictability. When another driver brakes suddenly, it can result in a chain reaction of confusion or panic from other road users.
Usually, the errant driver is aware of their actions. But they may be unaware of the vehicles around them. Sure, they may feel aggrieved by one driver, but their efforts can have dire consequences for the people around them.
For instance, if you’re in fast-moving traffic with other drivers behind you, braking suddenly can cause them to collide with each other or your vehicle. Also, braking in front of a motorcycle can have perilous consequences.
Brake checking someone on the road can be considered careless driving or aggressive behavior. As such, you may be held liable for resulting injuries or damage if it leads to an accident. If the police arrest you for reckless driving, you may incur hefty fines or even jail time. Usually, you get a ticket for careless driving and points against your driver’s license. A suspension or revocation of your license is also possible.
Similarly, if you brake check a fellow motorist and cause them bodily harm, your charge may be classified as a felony. Also, homicide charges may apply if the victim dies due to your actions.
The other party can bring a negligence suit against you if your actions result in injury or property damage. This implies they may seek compensation from you for their losses. Hence, the court may determine that you are liable and compel you to pay the aggrieved driver or injured party based on available evidence.
If you’re injured, your lawyer can rely on tort law to pursue legal action based on intentional action or negligence. Thus, assault, battery, or personal injury may apply. Nonetheless, you’ll need evidence, such as photographs of the accident and witness testimony, to prove liability.
Tailgating is a leading cause of brake checking. And while the idea is to prevent the other driver from tailgating you, it can lead to dire consequences. For instance, in Florida, 228 people suffered incapacitating injuries resulting from over 53,000 tailgating accidents in 2020. These included concussions, fractured ribs, broken arms, and back injuries. So, to avoid this maneuver, consider doing the following:
Pullover or take the next exit if the other driver is tailgating you aggressively. You may also call the police if the situation escalates.
Primarily, you need legal help if you’re accused of brake checking or reckless driving. Defending yourself in such a situation can be challenging, so it helps to have an attorney in your corner.
If you plan to take legal action against the other driver, a lawyer can help prove intent and resultant harm or damages. They can also gather evidence to explain the circumstances leading to the incident, including aggravating factors. Moreover, they can negotiate a settlement or represent you in court to achieve the outcome you have in mind.
Let’s be mindful of our actions while driving and avoid brake checking. Otherwise, we could be staring at severe consequences as clearly outlined. And while the law is silent regarding the criminality of such a driving maneuver in Florida, it may result in criminal liability if it leads to injury or death.