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Driving Under The Influence Of The Northern Lights: Iceland Police Battling Tourists Looking Up To The Sky

Police in Iceland have recently arrested drivers over the suspicion of drunken driving- it turns out they were tourists that couldn’t remove their eyes from the colorful lit up sky of the small remote island

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The saying “don’t drink and drive” is well known among drivers, but “don’t gaze and drive” is quite unheard of- not in Iceland.
Many tourists travel to the remote northern island of Iceland, in the hope of seeing the northern lights. The colorful array of lights visible over the mystical islands sky, captures the interest of all that dare to lift their eyes heavenward, and places them under the spell of their majestic beauty.
Some visitors attempt to enjoy the unique natural spectacle while they are driving- a behavior that has caused many car accidents and which the local police have recently declared war on.
Just last week there were two separate incident in southern Iceland in which police had to get involve to prevent tourists from causing traffic accidents, reports the “Iceland Magazine”.
Police spotted the drivers driving in an unsafe manner and assumed they were driving under the influence of alcohol. However, after pulling them over and questioning them, it turned out that in both cases the drivers were simply hypnotized by the beautiful heavens decorated by the northern lights.
The “Iceland Magazine” dubbed this peculiar phenomenon as “Driving under the influence of the northern lights”.
The first incident took place on the high way between the capital Reykjavik and Keflavik international airport. Police officers pulled over a driver for continuously swerving in and out of his lane. The officers assumed that the driver was under the influence of alcohol, “but the driver explained that he was gazing at the northern lights and simply could not get himself to stop staring at them, even as he was driving” said the police report. Officers asked the driver to pull over on the side of the road if he wished to continue “Light gazing”.
The second incident occurred on the same highway not far from the first one. As in the first incident, Police pulled over a vehicle that was swerving from one lane to the next. In this case too, the driver and passengers were tourists who came to the remote majestic island in search of lights. As in the first incident, in this case as well, the driver was under the spell of the northern lights, and could not get himself to brake his intense gaze of the colorful heavens.
Iceland residents have been bemoaning for years the accidents which are caused by tourists while driving. In 2015 a senior official in the transportation department warned that tourists cause many accidents by suddenly stopping their cars on the road to take pictures of exotic scenes, such as horses “or anything else that grabs their attention”.
The official claims that making designated stops along the highway will offer a solution to the problem.

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