Why Do People Brake Check? [What & Why Complete Guide]

Brake checking is highly illegal act as it can result in serious injuries and even death. Brake checking is where a driver suddly apply breaks intentionally, just to make the car coming behind them do the same or face an accident. There are several reason for this like insurance scam, road rage, and tailgating.

There are thousands of things that can go wrong while you are driving on highway and poeple doing dangerious act like brake check is one of them. Brake checking is not what you are getting from those two words “brake” and “checking”.

Its not the process of checking your car brake before your going on a drive or any other regular inpsection process. It is an illegal act and can result in serious injuries and even death.

So what is brake check? why do people brake check? what to do when people brake check you? This article is all about answering these questions.

What is brake check?

Brake checking is an act where a driver deliberately hit or tap the brakes sharply while driving in front of another vehicle. This is done by drivers purposely to make other driver slam the brakes as hard as possible to avoid accident.

Its completely illegal in USA to do such an act as it can cause serious road accident resulting in serius injuries and even deaths. There are some cases were brake checking is needed but then it is done under with care and with proper knowledge of brake checking and

Why do people brake check?

Brake check is an extremely dangerious act and easily result into driver or passenger dead but still people do it and there are a lot of reason why people do an act like this. Following is a complete list of possible reason why do people brake check.

  1. Insurance Scam
  2. Road Rage or Tailgating
  3. Suffering from PTSD or C-PTSD
  4. Brake checking on trucks

Insurance Scam

Almost all USA driver got there vehicles insured that there is a good reason for the insurance. Even a smallest damage repair will cost you few hundred dollars in USA. These car insurances provide a way to minimize the repair cost burdan on driver but need monthly insurance payment.

Being human there usually came a point where driver think that insurace company need to payment their money back. As there is no legal way to get your money back from insurance company, so driver usually go for a insurance scam and brake check is one way to do it.

Road Rage or Tailgating

There are times when people get agitated when someone risky overtakes or being getting tailgating. These are the two most common reasons being brake check.

Tailgating is where driver does not maintain safe distance from vehicle in from of them. This get more problematic when during night and car headlight will make it difficult to drive.

When facing these issue for long, some drive loose their cool and decide to do a dangerious act of brake check. This seems a bit justified but its not in any sence. As brake checking is a highly dangerious act and can easily result in dead.

As per NHTSA, the casualties caused by speeding and aggressive style of driving is about 66%. Since 2013, there had been 300 possible deaths because of road rage.

According to The Zebra, 82% of drivers were admitted for committing the crime of road rage in 2019. As specified by American Automobile Association, in the past 7 years, there had been about 12,610 injuries and a total of 218 murders caused by road rage in the United States.

Suffering from PTSD or C-PTSD

Although this cause is a very rare one and happens to people once in a while. For this medical condition, people often feel threatened by close vicinity drivers. They can have one of those flashback episodes in the middle of driving on the road.

During these episodes, their heart rate can raise immediately and they struggle to hold the accelerator or the brake. And it’s possible for them to tap the brakes continuously without thinking.

Brake checking on trucks

Its easy to insurance scam them as trucks need more space to apply brakes. People do this thinking that this will damage their vehicle only and they will secure a fair share of their car insurance.

They are not aware of the fact that trucks have a humongous amount of weight on them. So the drivers have to reach harder and quicker than any other driver on the road. It takes a lot of time for the trucks to completely pull off the brakes and by the time they stoped its usually a very serious accident resulting into injuries or even death.

Is brake checking illegal?

Most people wonder why there are so many cases of brake checking recently. The number is big enough to make them question the law of the government. Is brake checking illegal or not?

To answer your question, it’s highly illegal and an unethical thing to do on the roads. There are specific punishments stated in the constitution of the United States of America.

As per the USA Laws if convicted for brake checked, you can get severe legal penalties in certain areas of USA, such as heavy fines, long jail time, and even the license suspension for considerable period.

What to do when you are brake checked?

There is only one possible way to rescue yourself when you’re being brake checked and that is keep the safe distance and call police.

You have to keep a safe distance between you and the brake checker. That’s the best and only way to get out of this kind of scenario. Don’t let them take advantage of the distance and get you into trouble.

If you don’t maintain a certain distance between you and any other vehicle in front of you, you will be penalized because of tailgating anyways. So, either way, you should maintain a healthy distance between you and the brake checker.

Brake Check Infographic


Well, there aren’t many valid reasons for brake checking. So, when you encounter a brake checker, try to avoid him or report it to the police or traffic authorities to take proper actions.

And make sure not to road rage and brake check others. Trust us, it will harm many people in several ways.

Leave a Comment

Written By

Photo of author

William Baldwin

This Is William Baldwin, The Founder & Managing Editor of this website. Me and my team share automotive tips, tricks, and news

Fact Checked And Mechanically Reviewed By


Talha Atta

Talha Atta, a Mechanical Engineer and experienced technical content writer and editor at Autoglobes.com with a passion for the automotive industry.