"Stop staring at the sky," Icelandic police warn tourists

After a spate of drivers being pulled over for looking at the Northern Lights, traffic police issue appeal

"Stop staring at the sky," Icelandic police warn tourists


While speed, alcohol or driving conditions remain the most prevalent dangers for motorists, traffic police in Iceland have issued warnings to tourists to keep their eyes on the road and not on the Northern Lights.

Drivers were pulled over by officers in the south of the island on two separate occasions last week for erratic behaviour, with the police suspecting drink driving. But on both occasions, those behind the wheel were found to be entirely sober, but distracted by the shimmering Aurora Borealis in the sky above the road.

The motoring phenomenon has apparently become so common that Iceland Magazine had nicknamed it, “driving under the influence of the Aurora.”

Swerving between lanes

According to police reports, the first incident took place on the road to Reykjavik Airport, when traffic cops spotted a car swerving between lanes.

“The driver told the police he was the Northern Lights and couldn’t bring himself to stop looking at them,” a police statement said. “The police asked him to park the vehicle if he wanted to keep on gazing at the sky.”

Iceland, a perennially popular tourist destination, has past form of being patient with foreign visitors causing havoc on its road network. In 2015, a roads official expressed concern that tourists were to blame for collisions because they kept stopping in the middle of the road to snap photographs of sheep, horses, “or anything else which captures their attention.”

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