A passerby snatched the keys from a tourist's rental car last night after she watched in horror as they drove up the main street of Greymouth on the wrong side of the road.
The woman, who declined to be named, was outside the Tainui Discounter when she saw the car heading south on Tainui St (SH6) on the wrong side of the road.
"What I saw was beyond a joke. I ran out on to the road waving my arms and yelling trying to get them to stop," the eyewitness said.
"The driver, a woman, stopped in the middle of the right-hand lane. A car coming towards them had to take evasive action, then she reversed and nearly hit another vehicle."
The driver stalled the rental car before pulling over on the other side of the road, near the BP service station.
The eyewitness confronted the tourists and was astounded by the nonchalant reaction of a passenger, who got out and was laughing, saying, 'I know what you mean' and thought it was all a bit of a joke.
They were believed to be Swedish tourists who had not been in the country long.
"We took the keys off them and told them we would not be giving them back until the police arrived. I called the police and when they arrived we gave them statements."
One of the police officers told the tourists that if police received another complaint about their driving they would lose their vehicle.
"I really do think tourists coming into New Zealand need to take some kind of driving test before they are let loose on our roads," the eyewitness said.
"It was pretty scary watching the whole thing unfold."
Greymouth police reported this morning that a tourist had received an infringement notice for completing a U-turn in an illegal place in Tainui St.
However, the eyewitness disputed that: "No way was the driver was doing a U-turn - she was definitely driving up Tainui St on the incorrect side of the road".
- Greymouth Star