THREE people were taken to hospital after a motorist caused a three-car pile up on the A21 by braking suddenly to avoid hitting a pheasant.
The accident happened just before 3.40pm on Monday, when a driver braked to avoid the bird between Riccards Lane, Whatlington, and Marley Lane.
The vehicle behind was also forced to break sharply, but managed to avoid hitting the car in front.
But the two cars behind the second vehicle were unable to stop in time.
Three people were taken to hospital with minor injuries and three vehicles were seriously damaged.
The driver who braked to avoid hitting the pheasant was not hurt.
The road was closed between Westfield and the Johns Cross roundabout until just before 5.30pm.
Sergeant Dan Russell, of Sussex Police, said: “The vehicles were extensively damaged, but thankfully those in the vehicles only had minor injuries.
“This accident appears to have been caused by a vehicle swerving to avoid a bird in the road.
“It’s vital everyone remembers to be vigilant at all times as these things can happen.
“The injuries could have been far worse.”