two men discussing aftermath of car accident

Car Accidents Caused By Brake Checking In California

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

It can be frightening and annoying to have someone tailgate you. You might feel that they have no right to expose you to the risk of a collision, so you might be tempted to tap on the brakes. Putting them in fear of a crash might teach them a lesson, you might think. Unfortunately, this maneuver, called brake checking, is just as dangerous as tailgating. The tailgater might not have enough time to keep from crashing into you.

 A California personal injury attorney can help you go after money damages if you got injured in an accident that involved tailgating or brake checking. Let’s explore the issues involved in car accidents caused by brake checking in California. 

Who is Liable When Brake Checking a Tailgater Results in an Accident

You might think the person in the back in a rear-end collision is always at fault, but that is not necessarily the case. True, the rear car driver should have allowed more space between vehicles to stop in time to avoid an accident, but sometimes the front car driver can be responsible for the collision. 

It is one thing to briefly tap on the brakes when you see a distracted driver gaining on you from behind before they get close to your vehicle. It is terrifying to look in your rearview mirror and see that the car behind you is likely to crash into you because they are not paying attention. As long as they are far enough away to react in time, a light tap on your brakes could get their attention to prevent a crash, not cause one. 

On the other hand, if someone zooms up and gets right on your rear bumper, you’re suddenly slamming on the brakes could guarantee a crash. In that situation, the driver of the front car could be held as much at fault as the rear car driver, if not more so. California considers brake checking to be reckless driving, just like tailgating is. Also, if you were already dealing with an aggressive driver in the rear car, a collision could turn into a fistfight or worse quickly.

What to Do When Someone Tailgates You

Eventually, you will have to deal with someone who drives on your rear bumper. While it is distressing to be put in fear by an aggressive driver, it is best to resist the temptation of brake checking. Instead of brake checking, the safest response is usually to maintain your current speed until you can safely change lanes to let the tailgater get around you.

Some people tailgate because a driver in front of them is going too slowly relative to the lane in which they are driving. If you drive too slowly for the flow of traffic in your lane, you are increasing the risk of a crash. Attentive, considerate driving requires that people not impede the flow of traffic.

Some drivers are chronically impatient and aggressive to other people on the road. If you find yourself being tailgated despite the fact that you are going with the flow of traffic, just try to let the person get around you without engaging in dangerous behavior on your part. As long as you continue to drive safely, the tailgater will usually be found at fault in the event of a car accident. 

If you got hurt in a car accident involving brake checking or tailgating, you will want to talk with a California personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Our state does not give you much time to seek money for damages for your injuries. If you miss the filing deadline, you will never be able to seek compensation for your losses. Contact the law offices of Javaheri & Yahoudai today, we offer a free consultation.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.