It goes without saying that alligators are nothing to mess with. They can briefly reach 35 mph while sprinting, and their jaws can clamp down on their prey with a force of almost 3,000 pounds per square inch. But most important for us, alligators can weigh over 1,000 pounds. Hitting an alligator with your car is definitely not a non-event. Other than drive around it, there’s little you can do as a driver when a gator is sitting in your path. I mean, you get out of your car and try to shoo it away?
Drivers in Central Florida were put in this position earlier this week. An eleven-foot alligator ventured onto the two northbound lanes of State Road 417 near Oviedo, Florida, northeast of Orlando. Oviedo police and Florida Highway Patrol were able to cordon off the gator from traffic with their patrol vehicles until an alligator trapper arrived. Meanwhile, there was enough room in the left lane for drivers to start filing past.
The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office was also called in to investigate the incident. I might not be a law enforcement or criminal law expert, but I don’t think that the alligator initially entered the roadway to create chaos. And as far as I know, the suspect alligator is not currently in police custody.
To further illustrate the dangers that alligators pose on public roadways, there was a fatal incident caused by a gator in Florida just last month. A 59-year-old man struck an alligator, swerved off the road and rolled his car into a ditch. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Oh, the alligator died as well.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimated there are 1.3 million alligators in the state of Florida, meaning there’s a gator for every 17 human Floridians. Stay safe, and watch out for gators!