Iceland is so pretty distracted tourists are forgetting how to drive

You can't really blame them for being distracted. Photo / 123RF
You can't really blame them for being distracted. Photo / 123RF

Police in southwest Iceland stopped two foreign drivers last week.

Both times, the cars were swerving erratically all over the road on the way to Keflavik International Airport. Both times officers expected the drivers to be drunk.

However, rather than being under the influence of alcohol, Iceland Magazine reports the drivers were so distracted by the northern lights they lost the ability to drive.

They simply were unable to keep their eyes on the road.

However, it's not just the aurora borealis causing traffic havoc.

The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration also frequently has to deal with drivers who cause accidents by stopping their cars, without warning, in the middle of the road.

Tourists have flooded the tiny island nation in recent years, since a number of budget airlines began offering cheap trans-Atlantic flights with free stopovers.

Last year, the number of American visitors - just Americans, not including anyone else - was higher than the population of Iceland itself.

They love the thundering waterfalls, boiling geysers, bubbling volcanoes, and rugged landscapes, and they love taking pictures.

Bemused local authorities say there's no simple solution.

"We can never completely bar people from stopping their cars when the idea pops into their head to take a photo, whether that is of a flock of sheep or horses or anything else which captures their attention," bureaucrat Hreinn Haraldsson said in 2015.

In the recent cases involving the northern lights, police sternly warned the offending drivers to either keep their eyes on the road, or to find a safe spot to stop their car so that they could continue to gaze at the sky.

- news.com.au

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