Avoid Brake Checking Crashes With This One Weird Tip

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
avoid brake checking crashes with this one weird tip

The difference between genius and stupidity, they say, is that there is a limit to genius. How else can you can explain the latest brake checking crash video making the rounds?

But if you’re willing to limit your stupidity just a tiny bit, you can avoid being the next fellow who finds out the hard way about those steel cables in the middle of the freeway.

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8 of 218 comments
  • NickS NickS on Jun 06, 2016

    I am talking about a 2 lane hwy with lots of cars, *like in the video here*. What are you talking about when you say 85 is not fast - remote highway, the track, Nürburgring maybe? We are not here to speak abstractly about some vague, ill-defined scenario. It's about the sitch in the vid. FYI, you could see up ahead and anticipate (both great habits btw) all you want, but you still know nothing about what goes on inside the vehicles in front of you, like the Pilot. Someone is having a mild stroke, their baby got stung by a yellowjacket and screaming like hell, they just found out they need to get to the hospital quick, or the cluster is showing a flashing CEL ... but at that point you've already written them off as idiots and stay fast on their tail, you are even more annoyed they turned on their hazards which blind you, so you pass them on the right post haste and all that at some "not-fast" speed ... did I get all of this wrong? If a trucker needs to pass, it's okay that they slow down 20 cars behind them until they merge back in. This is what sharing the road means.

    • See 2 previous
    • NickS NickS on Jun 06, 2016

      @NickS What Jimmy is talking about a few posts up is nowhere in your horizon or comprehension. All you care about is the left lane staying open for passing. His reason is his wife and kids wanting to go somewhere without getting rammed by some speed-freak, People do die, families get wiped out. You should get to know people who didn't think why texting while driving, tailgating, and recklessly speeding through traffic are very big no-nos, until they send someone to a wheelchair or to their grave. Scores of examples of wrecked perfectly good cars too. Therapists talk about many of these drivers developing detachment from the fact that thwir actions led to the serious accident. They feel like it wasn't explained to them well enough, and they shouldn't feel bad because they didn't intentionally want to kill someone. And now you tell us that you are not talking about busy roads. Got it. So what were you talking about when you said crowded road, heavy downpour, low visibility? Different scenario? It's all disconnected snippets. Is there *one* coherent and consistent scenario you can lay out that would make sense to anyone who cares about getting home in one piece? You still think the video here is all about the pilot not moving over.

  • Disaster Disaster on Jun 06, 2016

    The tailgater made multiple mistakes. I disagree with author on what he should have done. Steering is almost always better than braking when you know how to drive and are aware of surroundings. 1st was tailgating instead of just passing on the right. Tailgating is the aggressive "you should get over" move that leads to conflict. 2nd was tailgating again after being brake checked. 3rd was swerving and braking at the same time. A driver needs to drive aware of escape lanes, something you learn quickly on a motorcycle. A driver needs to know how to steer out of a problem and not hold down brakes and use up tire capacity. I am rarely brake checked because I don't tailgate, but when I am...for example when I have a slow car and need to pass with momentum before changing lanes I am always ready to pop out and take advantage of the pass the guy gives me by brake checking.

  • 427Cobra 427Cobra on Jun 06, 2016

    driving in/around Los Angeles, one becomes WELL ACQUAINTED with left-lane hogs... and to a point, I understand it. Right-hand lanes tend to get clogged/backed-up at certain exits, so the left lanes do offer a smoother progression. I grew up in Ohio... and was taught that the left lane was for passing. Apparently, a lot of people were not taught that... and toddle along at, or below, the posted speed limit in the left hand lane... and will not yield under any circumstances. Have I passed on the right? Yep... all the time... an unfortunate necessity. When someone comes up on my tail, I yield... no biggie. Others are bound & determined to stake their claim on that left hand lane... and will not relinquish under any circumstances. Have I tailgated? Yep, you bet. It's almost a requirement in L.A. Leaving the proper distance between vehicles is an invitation to 3 or so cars to slide in front of you. Have I BEEN tailgated? Yep... tho I could care less... I focus more on what's going on ahead of me... not behind. Usually, if someone's tailgating me, I'll try to get over... and no, I don't brake check. Have I been brake checked? Yep... tho any more, I'm more likely to just roll into them (I'm older & have better insurance!) Plus, I'm usually driving a 7,000 pound 3/4 ton 4x4 truck, which doesn't exactly stop on a dime (or handle quick transitions that well). Am I an A-hole? Probably... but so are the left lane hogs & brake checkers. I try NOT to drive during peak hours these days (a difficult proposition)... it's just a recipe for stress & anxiety... and tends to promote "undesirable driving etiquette"...

    • Pragmatic Pragmatic on Jun 06, 2016

      You've got it right. I too only worry about what in front of me. If the driver behind is tailgating and I can get over (the Pilot driver) or out of the way I do (even if it means I'm going to make a slower trip because now I'm stuck in the right. I'm not out there to enforce my vision of good driving, I'm out there to get where I'm going with minimum fuss and stress. I too have been brake checked on occassion, just roll with it, can't take it personally.

  • NMGOM NMGOM on Jun 07, 2016

    I guess this little topic might be called "Lane Discipline". Obviously the Honda Pilot in the video was not particularly concerned about it. But that brings up a whole flurry of issues about WHERE you should drive SLOWLY when a road has more than one lane going in the same direction. It is also obvious to me that we can't all be going slow in any lane we choose, because if everyone did that...well, you get the idea. So here may be some common courtesies, even when "drive to the right" is not posted: 1) TWO lanes: "slow" belongs on the right. (In Germany, it is the law. Pass only on the left. Flash lights to announce your faster speed in the left lane, and want someone there to move to the right.) 2) THREE lanes: Here, it may get complicated: ...a) Suburban/rural: "slow" should still be the RIGHT lane, with the other two for passing. ...b) Urban: "slow" should be the CENTER lane, with the left-most lane used for passing (or a rare left exit); and the right lane (ENTRY lane) for vehicles that enter from the many on-ramps in cities. 3) FOUR (or more) lanes, in cities and high-traffic density areas: "slow" should be the 2ND LANE from the right, again to allow easy entry of vehicles coming from the right. Again, left lanes are for passing. Yes, it is OK to pass a vehicle on the right if there is no other good choice (as in traffic slowing down in the left lane for a left exit), but for ordinary TWO or THREE lane highways, passing on the right should be a last option after flashing lights has failed. (I would not advocate honking horns for that: it's too disruptive and may be antagonizing, and should be relegated for emergency use only.) In my experience, there has to be some convention that we all agree upon, or traffic becomes little more than automotive anarchy, with bullying and aggression being the rule of the day, --- as in Russia. If there are any law enforcement or traffic management folks on the TTAC commenters list, please let us know if these findings/suggestions are off base.... ===================