Car Accidents Caused By Brake Checking In California
David Muñoz | March 23, 2023 | Car Accidents
Being followed too closely while you’re driving can be frustrating. Not only does the rear driver seem aggressive, but you may worry about what will happen if you have to stop suddenly. So, in order to get them to back off, you may decide to perform a quick brake check on their car.
Brake checking is not only a dangerous practice, but it’s also illegal. Read on to learn more about car accidents caused by brake checking in California.
What Is Brake Checking?
Brake checking is an aggressive driving practice that involves slamming on your brakes to “check” if the person behind you can stop in time. Aggressive drivers often do this when they feel a driver is following too closely behind them. The idea is to force the rear driver to either slam on their brakes or to cause a rear-end collision, which the forward driver hopes will be blamed on the rear driver.
While tailgating (or following too closely behind a driver) is another form of aggressive driving and certainly isn’t safe or polite. But brake checking is perhaps the worst response to it. Not only can this practice cause accidents, as we’ll discuss more later, it’s actually illegal.
Is Brake Checking Illegal?
As we mentioned, brake checking is illegal in many areas, including California. Although there is no law specifically mentioning this practice, there are a few statutes that can apply to brake checking.
One California law reads “No person shall stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle on a highway without first giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this chapter to the driver of any vehicle immediately to the rear when there is opportunity to give the signal.” In simpler terms, you can’t slam on your brakes without signaling that you’re about to stop unless you absolutely have to. Since brake checking isn’t a necessary stop, you do have the opportunity to signal, and failing to do so can lead to a ticket.
Another California statute states “No person shall drive upon a highway at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic unless the reduced speed is necessary for safe operation, because of a grade, or in compliance with the law.” Once again, you can’t stop in the middle of a highway unless you absolutely have to.
Brake checking can technically be considered a violation of both of these laws, and the resulting fines can cost hundreds of dollars.
Common Injuries from Brake Checking Accidents
It won’t come as a surprise that sometimes, brake checking causes rear-end collisions. And there are several common injuries that may result from these crashes.
Rear-end collision injuries may include
- Whiplash – When you run into the back of another car, your head whips quickly forward and then back again. This violent motion can strain the tendons and ligaments in your neck, causing pain and a limited range of motion.
- Back sprains – During that same violent front-back motion, the tendons and ligaments in your back can get strained, too. These injuries are called sprains and can take weeks to heal from.
- Herniated discs – Your spine is made of bones called vertebrae cushioned by pieces of tissue called discs. During a rear-end collision, those discs can get pushed out of place. This is called a herniated disc and may require surgery to repair.
- Spinal fractures – Particularly severe rear-end collisions can fracture some of the bones in your spine. Not only are these injuries painful and slow to heal, but they can also put you at risk of damage to your spinal cord.
- Concussions – Even if your head doesn’t hit the dashboard in your rear-end collision, the force of the accident can sling your brain into the inside of your skull, causing a concussion.
These injuries may heal on their own after a few days, or they may take months or even years to recover from. If you were hurt in a brake checking car accident, you could be entitled to compensation.
Who’s At Fault for a Brake Checking Accident?
Most of the time, a rear-end collision is considered the fault of the rear driver, since they were supposed to be far enough away from the front driver to be able to stop in time. In fact, drivers who brake check are often relying on this rule to get the driver behind them in trouble if a car accident does happen. But brake checking works a little differently.
If a rear-end collision was caused by the front driver brake checking, the accident is considered the fault of the brake checker. The problem is proving that this is what happened. Unless you have a front-facing camera on your car, you may not be able to show for sure that your crash was caused by brake checking.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
Brake checking is a dangerous practice, and it can get you a citation in California. In spite of normal rear-end collision regulations, car accidents caused by brake checking can be ruled the fault of the front driver. The challenge is proving that the front car was brake checking and that that’s what caused the crash.
If you’ve been hurt in a brake checking accident, the attorneys at Mission Personal Injury Lawyers want to help. Schedule a free consultation with us today to discuss the details of your case.
Contact the San Diego Car Accident Law Firm of Mission Personal Injury Lawyers Today To Get More Information
Mission Personal Injury Lawyers
2515 Camino del Rio S Suite 350, San Diego, CA 92108
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