Thousands of motorists in Pittsburgh and elsewhere in Pennsylvania slam on their brakes every single day. Some of these motorists end up causing sudden stop accidents, while others are luckier in that regard, and do not actually cause motor vehicle accidents despite the fact that they violated one of the most basic traffic rules.

“Yes, by suddenly stopping your vehicle, or, in other words, by hitting on the brakes, you violate the traffic law and may be held liable for any damages and losses that the sudden stop collision causes to other motorists involved,” says our Pittsburgh sudden stop accident attorney at Shenderovich, Shenderovich & Fishman.

Slamming on the brakes on a highway can cause disastrous and deadly consequences, largely due to the fact that vehicles are traveling at high speeds on highways and motorists will not be able to react to a sudden stop in a split second to avoid a collision. This may even lead to a multi-vehicle or pile-up accident involving multiple vehicles.


So, is it actually illegal to suddenly stop your vehicle in Pennsylvania? Yes, it is. Under Pennsylvania law, motorists have a legal duty to make reasonable observations to ensure that a movement is safe to execute and will not endanger the lives of other people, and only then execute the maneuver. In addition to that, drivers must give a proper signal or warning of their intention to perform the maneuver – or, in our case, stop the vehicle – to make sure that other motorists have sufficient time to react accordingly.

“However, proving that the other motorist was negligent and should be held liable for your resulting damages and losses may be tough if the motorist was in an emergency situation that required him or her to suddenly stop the vehicle,” says our experienced sudden stop accident attorney in Pittsburgh.


Suddenly stopping a vehicle or failing to signal your intention to stop the vehicle will be classified as negligence and can make you liable for all resulting damages and losses. More often than not, determining liability for sudden stop car accidents depends on the particular circumstances of your case.

It is fair to say that in all car accidents where one of the motorists suddenly stops his or her vehicle, courts will consider:

  • Whether the motorist gave a proper signal or warning to warn other motorists of his or her intention to stop
  • Whether there was an emergency situation that would explain the lack of signal or warning, and
  • Whether the lack of proper signal or warning was the direct or proximate cause of the accident, and consequently, the victim’s injury.

A motorist who slammed on the brakes will typically not be held liable for the accident if the sudden stop was caused by traffic ahead. In other words, if a motorist had to slam on the brakes to avoid colliding with the leading vehicle because the latter made an unsafe lane change or failed to use a turn signal when making a turn, that motorist is most likely not negligent. The driver who made an unsafe lane change or failed to use turn signals, on the other hand, may be held liable for the crash even though he or she was not the one who slammed on the brakes.

You may be able to seek compensation from a motorist who negligently came to a sudden or unsignaled stop, which, as a result, caused your car accident. If this sounds confusing, you may want to speak to our Pittsburgh sudden stop accident lawyer at Shenderovich, Shenderovich & FishmanContact or law firm by calling at 888-988-9467 to schedule a free case evaluation.

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