If someone brake checks you and you hit them, will it automatically be their fault?
Just before the Chinese New Year festival began, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s daughter Nurul Ilham was at the receiving end of a road bullying incident where a woman driving a Proton Iriz was constantly braking in front of her in an attempt to annoy her.
This road misdemeanour is commonly known as ‘brake check’, where the driver behind is forced to brake suddenly, causing distress or even worse, forcing them to swerve, causing an accident.
This act is so hazardous it’s illegal in most countries with decent road laws and considered an assault in some parts of the United States, with severe penalties, including jail time.
This got us thinking, will you instantly be at fault if you hit the car in front, even if they slam their brakes suddenly?
While it may instantly seem like the fault lies with the brake-checking driver, in nearly all cases, the rear driver is determined to be the guilty party.
Technically, this is because every driver on the road is responsible for maintaining a safe distance between themselves and the car in front of them.
This is especially true if you have no proof or witnesses of the accident and the driver in front doesn’t fess up to their actions.
This is why many car owners install dashcams these days, as it can save you many heartaches caused by road bullies and careless drivers. In fact, dashcams are not only there for yourself, as they can also help your fellow road users.
There was even an incident where the police urged owners of dashcams to help with an investigation of an accident and apparent road bullying, which proves it can come in handy.
So if you plan to brake check anyone, please don’t, even if the person behind is doing the aggressive driving. You never know who is recording your actions.
Worse yet, just like the incident with the Prime Minister’s daughter, you never know who you might be brake checking, which might just land you in scalding hot water, like the driver of the green Iriz.