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Is Brake Checking Illegal in Illinois?

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Posted on April 23, 2024

Brake checking, the process of slamming on your brakes to risk the other driver hitting your car from behind, is illegal in Illinois. It is an unsafe practice that is a form of negligent driving under the state’s laws. If you are hurt as a result of another driver brake checking you, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. A Springfield car accident attorney from Holley, Rosen & Beard, LLC, can help if injured in a brake check crash.

Understanding What Brake Checking Is

Brake checking is a situation in which a driver operating a vehicle in front of another applies the brake suddenly and often without warning. The goal of brake checking is to create the risk of the rear driver slamming into the car in front. This may also be done to get the driver in the rear to swerve away from the front vehicle, which could potentially cause another accident.

Brake checking often occurs when people are operating their vehicles in an aggressive manner. Though there are certain situations where it is necessary to slam on the brakes quickly, such as when a child enters the street unexpectedly, brake checking is an intentional act without such a reason to do so.

People may engage in this act because they believe the car insurance company will pay for damage to their vehicle because the car following struck them. However, there is no way to determine if that is likely to occur, and in many situations, the insurance company can prove that it did not occur in a reasonable manner.

Why Is Brake Checking Illegal?

Under Illinois law, all drivers are tasked with the responsibility of operating their vehicles in a safe manner, without any risk to other drivers on the roadways. When a person brake checks another driver, they are violating that right. Illinois categorizes brake checking as a form of aggressive driving or negligence, both of which can lead to numerous consequences.

If a person is tailgating another person, or following very closely behind, it is certainly annoying to the driver in front. It may be tempting to try to get the driver to stop hard by break checking, but this is unsafe to do. The risk of a rear-end collision and the damage it can cause are very real and worrisome to all involved.

In some situations, if you are found to have engaged in brake checking, you could be held partially responsible for the injuries and damages that occur. That means that you may not be able to recover damages (if you hold 51 percent or more of the blame), and you may not get a ticket for the act as well.

Brake checking is never a good idea, and it is never warranted. If someone is following you too closely, pull to the side and let them pass so that you take the steps necessary to protect both you and that driver from a potential accident. This is also important as a way to defuse an aggressive road rage incident that could be occurring. If someone brake checks you, make sure to back away and call the police if you feel you are in danger.