Is Brake Checking Legal? How To Deal With Michigan’s Tailgaters
Living in Michigan, at one point or another, you've either been the 'Brake Checker' or the 'Brake Checked'. Let's take a look at the legality of the Mittens State method of dealing with tailgaters.
In case you're unfamiliar with the term, brake checking is when a driver (the brake checker) suddenly slams on their brakes when another car (the brake checked) is following close behind them. This is extremely dangerous and puts everyone involved at risk but, is it legal?
The Legality of 'Brake Checking' in Michigan
So is brake checking legal in Michigan? For the answer, let's turn to MichiganAutoLaw.com,
There is not a specific law that makes brake checking illegal in Michigan. However, slamming on one’s brakes to retaliate against a tailgater could result in a ticket for careless driving if the police determine you endangered another person. Additionally, if you cause an accident, then you may be found at fault.
Obviously, brake checking is a dangerous act but, when you have another driver tailgating you, logic sometimes takes a backseat. Instead of acting out aggressively with your brake pedal, Michigan law enforcement recommends you pull over and allow the tailgating driver to pass.
If you're like me, you may find letting a tailgating driver pass you maddening! After all, they are putting you and your passengers at risk, why should you let them pass just because they're being a jerk? Safety, plain and simple.
Just as the bumper rider is driving aggressively, an equally aggressive response like a 'brake test' or 'brake check' only sinks you to their level and puts you in danger as well. Who knows, maybe that tailgating car is on its way to the hospital or an equally stressful destination. You never know what's happening in the lives of your fellow Michigan drivers.
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Gallery Credit: Scott Clow