If someone is tailgating you, you may be tempted to slam on your brakes. People often refer to this as “brake checking.” The goal is to create a near miss, where the tailgater realizes that they almost caused an accident and so they back off. At least, this is what drivers often tell themselves.
But the reality is that brake checking someone is very dangerous. It can cause an accident, and the front driver may be liable for taking direct action to intentionally cause that crash. Additionally, brake checking can be the first step toward road rage. It just escalates the situation and makes things worse, so it should be avoided.
What should you do instead?
Rather than acting aggressively, the best option is to try to get the person to pass you. Ideally, they will go around your vehicle and then the risk to you – and any passengers in the car – will be reduced.
If you’re on the interstate, consider switching to a different lane to get the tailgater to go around. If you’re driving on a typical highway or a city street, you may consider pulling into a parking lot or a parallel parking space on the side of the road. Even if you don’t pull over to the side, slowly reducing your speed and driving calmly and carefully can give the tailgater more space to get around your vehicle.
Unfortunately, even if you take all of the proper steps to handle this situation, tailgating is very common and that other driver may cause a serious wreck. If you’ve been injured in such an accident, then you need to know how to seek financial compensation for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and much more.