An iguana in the road leads to a wreck in Florida

In mountainous or wooded areas, it’s common to hear about drivers seeing deer in the road — but you don’t often hear about an iguana causing a wreck.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a driver on U.S. 1 near Marathon saw an iguana in the road and came to a complete stop to avoid hitting the animal. Unfortunately, a box truck traveling behind that vehicle wasn’t able to stop in time. When the truck hit the back of the car, the smaller vehicle was propelled into the opposite lane, directly in the path of an oncoming pickup truck. In the end, two people were seriously injured and had to be transported by helicopter to Jackson South Hospital.

Accidents like these are a reminder that wildlife doesn’t respect traffic laws — and every driver needs to know the rules when it comes to handling an animal in the road. Here’s what the experts say you should do to avoid a crash:

  • Do not swerve. Swerving puts you in the path of any oncoming traffic and can be a fatal mistake.
  • Slow down. Check your mirrors and make sure that there’s some space between you and any other vehicles before you do it. Do not try to slow down if it requires you to slam on your brakes.
  • Do not stop. If there’s room to the right of the animal, you may be able to skirt around it, but don’t put yourself in danger. Pulling to a stop on the highway is inherently dangerous. After all, the drivers behind you may not be able to see the animal and may not realize that you’re stopping. As difficult as it may be, you’re better off hitting the animal.

No matter how well-prepared you may be to find an animal in your path, not everyone will react sensibly or safely. If you’re injured in a crash due to another driver’s mistake, make sure that you completely understand how to seek the compensation you need and deserve.

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