Is Brake Checking Illegal?

I was delivering for Amazon in one of these little small towns outside the city and while driving down the main street some guy drove around me and decided to slam on his brakes in front of my van moving 45 mph. I was blown away, well if I’m being honest I was pissed. I wanted to do some sort of recourse but I didn’t know what I was able to do. Though it got me thinking, is brake checking some illegal?

Yes, it is illegal. Brake checking, also known as “brake slamming”, is considered a form of road rage and can lead to reckless driving charges. It not only puts the driver brake checking at risk for legal issues, but it endangers other drivers on the road as well.

Let’s go ahead and look more into the nerve racking moments.

What is Brake Checking?

In the opening paragraph I mentioned how a guy tried to drive around me and pull in front and brake check me while I was out on delivery. Well, what is brake checking?

Brake checking is when a driver intentionally slams on their brakes in front of another vehicle, often done out of anger or as revenge. Except some drivers do it more drastically.

For example, let’s say someone cuts you off and nearly causes an accident. As retaliation, you decide to brake check them by suddenly slamming on your brakes in front of them.

Why Do People Brake Check?

I can’t speak for this guy personally but he did seem like a angry driver with how he was flipping me off in his rear view mirror and cussing at me.

Brake-checkers are the type of people who:

  1. Get in the last word: they want to get back at the other driver for something they did.
  2. Feel a sense of power or control over the situation: they may think that brake checking will teach the other driver a lesson.
  3. Don’t know how to handle their anger properly: instead of calmly addressing the issue and handling it like an adult, they react like a child would in a negative and dangerous way.
  4. Trying to get an insurance claim: some drivers may try to brake check in hope of causing an accident and receiving insurance money.

I can imagine there are plentiful more reasons people justify themselves brake checking another driver though I don’t see any good reason to do it. Unless you’re wanting to potentially end your life over someone you’ve never met before.

Can You Brake Check a Tailgater?

No, you cannot but some may argue that brake checking a tailgater is warranted because they are driving too close to your vehicle and potentially putting you in danger. However, it is still considered illegal and dangerous behavior.

Brake checking may feel satisfying in the moment, but it can lead to serious consequences and put yourself and others at risk. When faced with aggressive or reckless drivers on the road, remember to stay calm and follow safe driving practices.

How Do I Prove Brake Checking After an Accident?

If you are involved in a car accident and suspect that the other driver brake checked, there are steps you can take to gather evidence. This includes taking photos of skid marks on the road, getting witness statements, and also contacting law enforcement for their perspective on the situation.

I would also recommend to get a dash cam, when I as delivering for amazon they would record everything in front of the vehicle as I have had people brake check me for whatever reasons.

How Do I Deal with Tailgaters?

If you are being followed closely by another driver here are some steps to take:

  • Stay calm and do not retaliate with aggressive behavior
  • Try to change lanes or exit the highway if possible
  • You can also use your car’s rearview mirror and signals to indicate that the tailgater should back off and create some distance.
  • Contact law enforcement and report the tailgater’s license plate number and behavior

Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident Involving Brake Checking?

In a car accident involving brake checking, the driver who intentionally slammed on their brakes is typically at fault. However, it ultimately depends on the specific circumstances and details of the incident.

There are some states that will calculate how “at-risk” the two drivers were during the accident, for example if one driver was speeding or tailgating before the brake checking occurred. This could potentially affect the outcome of fault in a car accident involving brake checking.

Though I wouldn’t count on that leaning in the favor of the person doing the brake checking. So it’s better to be safe then sorry.

What to Do If Brake Checking or Road Rage Caused an Accident?

If you were involved in an accident caused by brake checking or road rage, it is important to contact law enforcement and seek legal assistance. The driver at fault may be faced with charges and consequences for their actions. In addition, victims of the accident may be able to receive compensation for any damages or injuries.

It’s also note worthy to not escalate the encounter after the accident. If emotions were running high while you were both driving, they’ll be running even higher after you’re both in an accident.

Who Pays for the Damages in a Brake Check Accident?

In a brake check accident, the at-fault driver typically pays for any resulting damages. This can include property damage to vehicles, medical expenses for injuries, and more. The process may involve insurance claims and potentially a personal injury lawsuit.


Doing with inconsiderate people is never worth risking your life on the road. Brake checking is a dangerous and illegal behavior on the road. It can lead to accidents, injuries, and legal consequences for the at-fault driver. Remember to stay calm and follow safe driving practices when faced with aggressive or reckless drivers. In the event of an accident involving brake checking, seek legal assistance and hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.