What is brake checking and is it illegal?
What is brake checking?
Brake checking is when a driver intentionally slams on the brakes whilst driving when another vehicle is behind. This often causes the unsuspecting vehicle following you to either sharply brake or swerve in order to avoid an accident. Brake checking is usually a phrase heard in motor racing, but sadly it often occurs on ordinary roads too.
Is brake checking illegal UK?
A brake check is an illegal act and highly dangerous. Not only could this dangerous driving result in an accident causing serious injury or death, it can also have a financial burden if your vehicle is damaged and your insurance premium rises.
What is the penalty for brake checking?
As part of the Road Traffic Act 1988, brake checking would be considered dangerous/careless driving, carrying up to a two-year prison sentence and an unlimited fine if you’re caught doing it. Of course, if your intentional brake checking results in a fatal accident, you could receive up to 14 years in prison for death by dangerous driving. So, you may be left wondering, why do people brake check?
Why Do Some Drivers Brake Check?
As brake checking is such a dangerous act, it’s difficult to understand why so many drivers would brake check. However, several main reasons have been highlighted for this. These include:
1. Tailgating - This is the illegal act of driving too close to the vehicle in front of you on the road. This means there’s not sufficient distance between the cars, a regular contributing factor to road accidents. In this situation, sometimes drivers decide to brake check as a way to signal to the other driver that they shouldn’t follow as closely.
2. Road Rage - Sometimes when drivers become frustrated with other motorists, they become aggressive drivers instead of remaining calm. In response to this, they might brake check in order to spite the other motorist. This careless act is sadly intended to cause them to swerve and become irritated, although the outcome could result in much worse consequences.
3.'Crash For Cash' - Have you heard of the phrase 'Crash For Cash'? Well, this involves brake checking to deliberately cause an accident in order to get an insurance payout or cash for damage to a vehicle. This menacing scam has become a common occurrence so beware! If there are no witnesses or dash-cam evidence, the scammer may claim you’ve been tailgating them, and the insurance claim can be successful.
How to Avoid Being Brake Checked
Always remain vigilant whilst driving so you can notice early signs of an aggressive or dangerous driver ahead.
Follow the speed limit and drive considerately.
Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and others so you’re not tailgating. This might mean you need to slow down and remain calm with other drivers.
If you feel necessary, at a safe stopping point, pull over and let them pass to avoid any conflict from occurring.
Get a dash cam which records facing out into the road. In the case of an accident caused by an intentional brake checker, the evidence can then be captured on video.
In order to drive safely, all drivers should avoid brake checking or tailgating. Whether you’re driving on the motorway or in built-up areas, drivers should remain calm and respect other road users. If you’ve found this article interesting, visit our Facebook page for more tips and motoring advice. Also, view our related article - 5 Tips to Avoid Parking Tickets.