Is brake checking illegal? All you need to know

brake check

A brake check on the road is a dangerous driving maneuver that could lead to rear collision and end up not only injuring occupants in the vehicles, but also ramp up bills if you’re found to be liable.

The question that arises is whether the act of brake checking is illegal. In this article, we take a look at the point of view of the law on brake checking and how fault determination is arrived at in the event of a collision due to brake checking. Read on to know more.

Brake Checking

Brake checking refers to the deliberate and often dangerous driving by a driver that forces the driver in a vehicle behind to suddenly apply brakes or swerve in a bid to avoid rear collision.

This usually result following road rage which the driver of the lead vehicle uses brake check as a means of getting back at the other driver. It could also be that, a driver feeling tailgated, decides to send a rather aggressive message through a brake check.

brake check

Why do people brake check

People usually brake check other drivers for four main reasons. These include:

  • Road Rage: When two drivers on a road for whatever provocation, express anger towards one another, this could easily end in a brake checking incident if one happens to be behind the other.
  • Tailgating: Some drivers choose to brake check a car following them too closely as a means of warning them to mind the gap.
  • Insurance fraud: People looking to cash in from insurance may decide brake checking others is the quickest way to be in an accident that can easily be blamed on the other driver.
  • Mischief: Some drivers simply brake check without provocation of any sort and they do so just to be mischievous.
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Is brake checking illegal?

Brake checking is an illegal act which passes as reckless driving if there’s sufficient evidence to showing the brake check was intentional and without reasonable cause.

Even though the rear driver is usually seen to be at fault in the event of rear-ending, the driver of the lead vehicle could be at least partially held responsible for the accident in the face of irrefutable evidence that there was brake checking.

is brake checking illegal

Is brake checking illegal in Texas

Brake checking, when done in a move to get the driver behind to brake suddenly could end in a rear collision which unnecessarily puts the lives of others at risk and this constitute reckless driving.

Reckless driving is illegal in Texas, effectively, brake checking is also illegal. You may be liable for compensation for the injuries and damage caused by brake checking if proven the brake checking was done on purpose without a plausible reason.

Brake check accident fault

Brake checking accidents most likely involve rear-collisions. If an accident occurs as a result of brake checking, fault determination will hinge on several factors, even though the odds are against the driver of the rear vehicle.

So who is at fault in brake check accident?, well, availability of evidence could be the difference between getting an insurance to cover your costs or a huge bill for being liable. If the driver of the rear vehicle can prove that the aggressive brake check led to the accident, the driver of the front vehicle can be held partially responsible for the accident.

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Having dash cam recorded evidence can be your saving grace, but it must be shown that the other driver is at least 50% responsible for the accident in the 20 comparative negligence states in the US.

If you were brake checked and it ended in an accident, you may not be able to escape blame in a rear-end collision. Drivers are expected to keep adequate distance from the car in-front to allow for safe braking in the event of a sudden brake by the vehicle in front.

Brake checking who is at fault

Is it illegal to brake check a tailgater?

It is illegal to brake check for whatever reason. If you want to get rid of a tailgater, you can simply change lanes to get out of their way.

This option is safer and can save you from costs that may be incurred if the other driver is able to prove your culpability in the case of a collision due to brake checking.

Brake check insurance scam

Brake checking is an illegal driving maneuver which can be a means to commit insurance scam. A person looking to commit a brake check insurance scam will hit the brakes hard, causing the driver behind to rear-end them. All this is done in the hope of getting insurance payouts.

The most common method is the ‘squat’ and ‘swoop’ method where the ‘squat’ car drives in front of the victim. A second ‘squat’ vehicle will then cut off the first ‘squat’ vehicle, causing the victim to rear-end the other ‘squat’ car. A third car known as the ‘swoop’ blocks the victim from changing lanes but drives away following the collision.

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Without much evidence that the accident was caused as a result of the swoop vehicle’s block, the victim takes all the blame.

Illinois rear end collision law

The Illinois transport department reports there are nearly 80,000 rear-end collisions in the state every year. Illinois law stipulates that the driver who rear-ends is presumed at fault for the collision, but the other driver may prove that another cause or person was responsible for the crash.

An example of when a driver is able to prove their innocence is when they get brake checked and have video evidence the other driver advertently did it for no reason.

How much is a ticket for rear ending someone?

Rear ending someone can end you with a ticket or multiple tickets depending on the circumstances. In a rear-ending accident, a ticket for staying too close and potentially one for distracted/inattentive driving if that’s the case. The ticket amount can be in excess of $95.00 depending on the state.

rear ending ticket


A brake check can result in serious injuries and damages that may be costs if you’re found guilty of brake checking. The issue of whether or not brake checking is illegal is settled, since the act constitutes reckless driving. Generally, it is also illegal to drive too closely to a vehicle in front.

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