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What is Brake Checking & Why Do People Do It?

What is Brake Checking & Why Do People Do It

What is Brake Checking & Why Do People Do It?

Every year, we see tons of brake checking accidents taking place all around the world.

So, it rounds us up to the question, “what is brake checking?” And why do people tend to do it so more frequently?

Well, the term is especially popular in road rages or races like FORMULA 1. There might be several reasons behind this, such as to trick other racers. However, illegal or dangerous breaking is prohibited in Canada, and anyone involved has to face serious punishments and fines.

Let’s know about this reckless form of driving practice in detail:

What is Brake Checking?

A brake checking is an illegal act of pumping or slamming the brakes repetitively and intentionally without giving any sort of signal to the vehicles behind you. Due to this action, the other person may feel irritated.

So, in response to your activity, they may pull the brake harder to stop the vehicle or decide to overtake your one. At this point, chances are high that the situation may get out of hand or take a drastic turn due to the sudden brake or speeding. This may seem a normal thing, but in reality, this is enough to cause a serious accident, especially rear-end collisions.

No wonder why a brake checking is always considered a reckless driving practice by law.

Why Do People Brake Check?

Brake checking usually happens for one of the two reasons, one to force another person to move and another with the intention to commit an insurance scam. In other words, people tend to brack check without any valid reason.

Instead, they do it just to scare the person behind them. And what’s the saddest part is most people think brake checking is a fun thing to do. Little do they know, this action of them can cause the other person to lose control, leading to a serious collision.

Apart from the fun thing, there are always scammers to con you. And if you are not fortunate enough, then you can easily encounter such drivers who will intentionally brake test you to fall under their tricks.

As brake checking is illegal by law, and they know it very well. So they will naturally try to get in a collision with your vehicle at the rear end in an attempt to claim compensation by reporting to the Police.

Is Brake Checking Illegal in Canada?

Of course, it is illegal. After all, this is not at all safe in any given circumstances. In fact, no matter how the other person is tempting you, the best is to not let them succeed in this endeavour.

Why? Well, because this practice can eventually do some serious damage to your valuable lives and vehicles along with any other vehicles driving beside you.

As a result, to stop this form of reckless and risky driving from hampering anymore, the Canadian Highways Network have put a ban on them.

And any person indulging in this kind of activity must face the court upon being found guilty. In fact, the maximum life sentence for any wrongful death by dangerous driving is at most 14 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

So, even if the other person at fault is forcing you to do it, you must try to stay as calm as possible and thus should resort to legal action instead of going for the illegal activities.

Think rationally as if you can keep a cool head at that time rather than taking any drastic step, then the ultimate winner will be. As along with saving your precious life and car, you will be stopping yourself from getting involved with any criminal offence by law.

Read Also: Medicine Hat Bike and Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

Who Will Be at Fault for Brake Checking?

Generally, in a normal scenario, the rear-end driver is held liable if an accident occurs after the front driver is checking the brake. Well, there is a reason for thinking like this.

While driving, every rear-end driver must keep and maintain a safe distance from the front car. So that whenever the front car stops or pumps the brakes, you also will get some time to stop your one as well.

But if the rear-end driver has a dashcam installed at the front part of their vehicle, then things can take another turn.

At this point, they will have all kinds of proof to show that the front car in front of them was conducting the brake testing illegally, that too, on a repetitive mode, without any prior warnings.

Common Causes of Brake Checking Accidents

The most common reason for brake checks is car rear-end collisions. Sometimes, the lead car’s sudden use of the brakes stops the vehicle following it from stopping properly. In low-visibility conditions or when there are other road dangers present, rear-end collisions are more likely to result from this risky behavior. Despite the conditions, passengers in vehicles that are being brake-checked can sustain serious injuries in rear-end collisions.

Do Brake Checks Affect Accident Claims?

Definitely. If someone brake checks, it will change things in a case when there’s a car accident.

A brake check can cause the car behind them to slam into the other vehicle or even crash into them.

So, this is dangerous and against the rules because it makes roads unsafe.

Considering that, when a crash happens and people find out that one driver was brake-checked, things get a bit more complicated.

Thus, police and insurance companies dig into what led to the crash, especially looking at the brake check.

The law enforcement will consider several factors to determine the impact of a brake checking on an accident.

Here are some of the common factors they take into consideration:

Why Was a Driver Tailgating?

The driver who got brake checked might get blamed for tailgating. If brake checking is involved in the accidents, the tailgater will be questioned too.

Are Both Drivers Responsible for the Accidents?

If one driver was tailgating and the other was brake check, they might both be thought of as a bit responsible.

This can affect how insurance claims work.

Did Brake Checking Make It Worse?

The driver who brake checks might be considered careless. Also, maybe they were brake-checking to make it worse.

That’s not good, and it could affect who’s seen as responsible for the crash and who pays.

Could Drivers Involved Avoid the Accident?

Another thing is—whether the drivers could have done anything to avoid the crash.

If both drivers had chances to prevent the crash but didn’t, it could change the outcome for both parties.

9 Types of Auto Accidents Caused by Brake Checks

Bake checks can cause different kinds of car accidents because they suddenly slow down or stop a vehicle.

Some of the common accidents due to brake checking are:

Bumping into the Back

Brake checking mostly causes rear and collision. If a car suddenly hits the brakes, but the car behind it doesn’t have enough time to stop, it will bump into the back.

Chain Reaction Crashes

In heavy traffic, one sudden brake check can make a lot of cars crash into each other like falling dominoes.

So, when one car brakes suddenly, and all the cars behind it also have to brake quickly, which causes a big mess of crashes and traffic jams.


If a car suddenly slows down or stops, the cars in the lanes next to it might crash or swerve to avoid hitting it.

Intersection Accidents

Brake checks near crossings can make cars that are turning or crossing crash into each other.

If one car suddenly slows down, the other cars might not be ready and crash at the crossing.

Road Rage Accidents

Sometimes, drivers purposely brake checks to make other drivers angry. This can cause aggressive behavior and even crashes or fights on the road.

Confusing Breaks

Sometimes a driver quickly hits the brakes and runs faster again after a moment. This will confuse the driver behind.

And there could be a crash because the following car isn’t ready for the sudden change in speed.

Unsafe Lane Changes

Brake checks while changing lanes can make drivers in nearby lanes panic and crash or almost crash.

Motorcycle Crashes

Motorcycles will also be in huge danger when a car brake checks.

If a motorcycle is too close to a car that suddenly stops, the motorcycle might not have time to avoid crashing into the car.

Accidents from Not Paying Attention

If drivers aren’t watching the road closely, they might not notice a brake check in time. This can lead to crashes because they react too slowly.

3 Reasons Why Brake Checking Cases Are Hard to Prove

Showing that someone was tailgating or brake-checking can be hard for a few reasons:

Figuring Out the Intent

Brake checking means someone planned to hit the brakes so the tailgater would react.

Proving this can be hard because you have to know what a tailgater or brake-checker had in their mind.

Not Enough Proof

It’s not easy to have clear proof that a driver was tailgating or brake-checking.

Besides, Unlike some other accidents, tailgating or brake checking might not leave clear signs that show exactly what happened.

So, if there’s no good video or a reliable person who saw it happen, it’s tough to be sure.

Different Perspectives of Drivers

Sometimes, it’s just one person’s word against another’s. Each driver might tell a different story about what happened, so it’s tricky to figure out what’s true.

What is Meant by Tailgating?

Tailgating is the exact opposite term of brake checking. This mainly happens when you cannot push the brake as the other driver behind you is driving too closely near you without maintaining a safe distance.

After all, for applying a hard brake, you will also need enough space to do the following. This, in return, will ultimately leave you with no other choice to stop the vehicle than getting into a collision. Like the brake checking, tailgating is also deemed as illegal by Canadian law.

What Should You Do If Someone is Brake Checking or Tailgating?

Driving on the road requires taking much safety precautions. As a result, while driving, you must always keep a calm head and don’t make any decision in a state of rush or anger that will make you regret about it later on.

Have a look at the below tips you need to do while someone brake checks or tailgates you:

  • Remain calm and avoid shouting.
  • Always keep a safe distance from the front car
  • Park your vehicle on the roadside with a calm head
  • Give the tailgater the required space it needs to go ahead
  • Maintain the speed limit as per the Motor Vehicle Act
  • Make contact with law enforcement
  • Learn about all the ways of how to drive without overusing the brake

What to Do After an Accident? Should I Report It to Police?

Following a brake check car accident, there are certain steps that you need to follow in order to protect your legal rights. Collecting evidence, documentation, or personal safety – you can do it all by keeping a calm mind. However, if you cannot follow all these steps at once, there is no need to panic.

Here are some of the needful things to do right after meeting a brake check accident:

1. Stay calm and avoid shouting

Various kinds of road rage and fighting between the drivers are some of the common scenarios which eventually end up in brake check collisions.

That’s why, no matter what the situation is, you must always try to remain calm as much as possible and interact rationally with the other drivers on the road. It will show your humbleness and courtesy along with saving you from various road-related problems.

2. Get in contact with the law enforcement

Right after the collision, your first job is making sure you and the other drivers getting involved in the accident are not completely fine and not injured. Even if the accident seems minor, you must still call 911. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry later on.

And in case of serious injuries, give a call to the ambulance. Don’t forget to document the things that the Police heard upon arriving at the spot.

3. Don’t make the mistake of blaming the accident on yourself

Let the insurance companies and the Police investigate the case and find out who’s fault was it behind the accident. Because if you take up the blame, then it will be considered your fault entirely, even if it was partially your fault.

4. Collect all the essential information

In case of any brake checking incident, make sure to exchange and gather the contact information and name of the other driver. As at any part of the case, you may need it. In fact, as soon as possible, try to note down the collision’s description.

After then, try to take photos and witnesses’ names and contact info as well. Another crucial you must remember to do is record the police report number. Try to do all things properly as this may be needed for the further processing of the case.

5. Must pay a visit to the hospital

Whether it be minor or major – an accident is an accident. Hence, without any second delay, right after filing a car insurance claim, visit any nearby good hospital.

The quicker, the better it is for your health. And make sure to get hold of a copy consisting of your medical records as this may work as a proof in the claim. After conducting all the tests, strictly follow the treatment plan as prescribed by the doctor to heal completely from the incident.

To Conclude

Hopefully, all your queries regarding “what is brake checking” is cleared now. No matter how much one tries to annoy you while driving, always try to remain calm as much as possible. If needed, pull over the car to the roadside and talk with the other driver.

This may prevent the situation from getting heated up. Besides, you can always reach out for help from the patrol whenever needed to. One of the things you can do is installing a dashcam in both the front and rear end of your vehicle.

As a result, for any accident, you can easily justify your ground and also can find out quite conveniently due to whose fault an accident took place in the first place. For any kind of brake checking issues, make sure to contact with an experienced lawyer before settling anything.

Frequently Asked Question

Check out the below FAQs in case you are having any trouble regarding this topic:

What is the point of brake checking?

Most people tend to do this action for mainly two reasons: firstly, they want to notify or signal the other driver to stop tailgating and change the route to move faster. Second, they do it just for irritating the other person in an attempt to commit some insurance fraud.

When should you brake check?

You should never brake check another car as it is completely illegal by law. Not only will you be charged with a criminal offence, but at the same time, chances are high that you can develop some serious damages from the accident.

How do you check your brakes while driving?

If you are hearing odd sounds coming from your vehicle while pulling it over to the left or right, then it is a sign that they need inspection as soon as possible. Other signs include vibration, low/hard pedal feel, squealing, etc.

How Often Do You Need to Check Your Brakes?

You must get your car’s brake checked every 6 months. And, you should change your brake pads after 50,000 miles. Yet, brake checking is out of the rules. And you must try to avoid the tailgater or be more attentive in driving in case you were slowing down unintentionally.

Can You Report Someone for Brake Checking?

Yes. Since brake checking is considered dangerous driving behaviour, you can report it to the police.

Why Is It Called Brake Check?

In a tailgating situation, the driver in front will hit the brake again and again–this is the reason to call it brake checking. However, some of the common reasons are: warning about tailgating, slowing down and brake checking intentionally so the driver behind has to compensate for crashing onto the vehicle.