Liability for Brake Check Car Accidents in Florida

Brake checking, the act of suddenly hitting the brakes in front of another vehicle, is a dangerous and aggressive driving behavior that can lead to serious car accidents. In Florida, determining liability in a brake check accident can be complex, as it involves assessing the actions of both the brake-checking driver and the following driver.

While the brake-checking driver may be considered primarily at fault for causing the accident, the following driver may also share some responsibility if they were following too closely or not paying attention to the road. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the legal aspects of brake check car accidents in Florida, discussing how fault is determined, the potential consequences for the parties involved, and what steps you should take if you find yourself in this type of situation.

Is Brake Checking Illegal in Florida?

Florida law states it is illegal to follow another vehicle too closely. However, the law also states that drivers must consider such factors as the speed of other vehicles and the conditions of the roadway to ensure they maintain a safe distance between vehicles. Safe driving practices in Florida involve monitoring all factors that can result in hazards and behaving accordingly.

Brake checking creates an unsafe situation, and Florida law prohibits it accordingly.

Penalties for Brake Checking Traffic Offenses in Florida

Brake checking qualifies as a moving violation. The typical penalty for a moving violation that doesn’t require a hearing in Florida is $60.

However, a brake-checking violation might require a hearing. A moving violation requires a hearing if it results in death or serious bodily injury. In these circumstances, the penalties for brake checking may be greater.

How to Guard Against Road Rage and Aggressive Driving in Florida

Some consider brake checking to be a form of road rage. When you feel someone is following your vehicle too closely, in your anger, you might be tempted to brake-check them. Doing so is very dangerous.

There are ways to minimize your odds of being hurt in a Florida road rage crash. Tips to keep in mind include:

  • Let other drivers pass – It’s always essential to exercise sound judgment on the road. Don’t pull over to let another driver pass you if doing so will create an unsafe situation. That said if another driver is following closely, pulling over so they can proceed is safer than brake checking. Taking this step eliminates your problem and allows you to focus on the road more calmly.
  • Pay attention to your emotions before driving – You might not be the type of person who would normally brake check someone else. However, you may be more inclined to if you’re already in an irritated mood. Before driving, check in with your emotions. If you’re upset and feel you would be prone to road rage, don’t get behind the wheel unless you have no other choice. Try deep breathing to calm yourself before driving if you must drive in an agitated state.
  • Ignore angry gestures – You certainly shouldn’t make any angry gestures of your own when someone is following you too closely. If someone makes angry gestures at you or uses their horn, ignore them, even if doing so proves challenging. Engaging will only escalate the situation.

Safe Driving Practices in Florida: What to Do When Someone is Driving Too Close

There are certain ways to handle the situation safely if you believe someone is following your vehicle too closely. Pulling over so the motorist can pass you is often the best option. Other methods that might apply, depending on the circumstances, include:

  • Contact the police – There are scenarios in which pulling over while someone is tailgating you might be unwise. For example, maybe a tailgater has road rage. If you worry the tailgater will get out of their vehicle or stop you from proceeding when you pull over, call 911 and alert them to the situation. You can make phone calls while driving in emergency situations if you’re able to do so safely.
  • Maintain a consistent speed – Don’t let a tailgater pressure you into driving faster than you should. Maintain a safe speed when someone is following you. In addition, don’t slow down in an attempt to anger the tailgating motorist even further. Doing so is dangerous for the same reasons brake checking is.
  • Pay attention to the road – You may have to pay extra attention to the vehicle behind your car when the driver of that vehicle is tailgating you. That doesn’t mean you should let them distract you from focusing on what’s happening in front of you.

How Brake Checking Affects Liability After a Florida Motor Vehicle Wreck

Liability for Brake Check Car Accidents in FloridaWhether brake checking plays any role in a personal injury case after a wreck in Florida can depend on the severity of a victim’s injuries.

Motorists must buy Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to register motor vehicles with at least four wheels in Florida. When someone sustains injuries in a collision in Florida, it doesn’t matter whether someone else caused the crash. An injured party would seek compensation for their losses by filing a claim with their own insurance.

However, PIP coverage doesn’t always fully compensate victims for losses resulting from crash injuries. An injured party in Florida might be able to take legal action against the party who caused the wreck in these circumstances. Florida law allows injured parties to file car accident lawsuits if a crash results in any of the following:

  • Permanent, substantial loss of a significant bodily function
  • An injury that is likely to be permanent from a medical perspective
  • Scarring or disfigurement that’s both significant and permanent
  • Death

Proving someone caused a crash may be relatively easy if the collision resulted from brake checking. The legal principle of negligence per se indicates a party is automatically responsible for injuries if they were violating a safety law when causing said injuries. Brake checking is a violation of a safety law in this context.

Contact a Florida Car Accident Lawyer

If you’ve sustained injuries in a Florida brake-checking crash, you may be eligible for compensation. Pursuing what you deserve is easier with proper legal assistance. At Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers, a Florida car accident lawyer can help you navigate your options. Get started today by contacting us online or calling us at (619) 233-5020 for a free case review.

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