A group of tourists left Keflavk International Airport in Iceland at some point during the past week and found themselves unable to stop staring at the sky.
The northern lights were perhaps the biggest attraction they’d come to see, and here were the lights, right above them, just moments after entering the country.
But they were in a car on a highway, and so looking at the lights was hard.
The driver jolted left and right as everyone likely craned their necks to get a good view of the neon lights playing across the sky. Then they banked hard into a neighborhood and soon found a police car behind them.
Police in Iceland have stopped two cars driven by tourists in the past week on suspicion of drunk driving, only to find that the tourists were driving under what has been termed “the influence of the aurora.”
This is not a new problem. In late 2015, Hreinn Haraldsson, the director general of Iceland’s Road and Coastal Administration, was trying to figure out how to deal with tourists suddenly parking their cars in the middle of Iceland’s highways to snap photos of the northern lights. Abrupt stops on highways, he said, led to accidents. These highways already had areas for tourists to pull over and take pictures, but maybe, he thought, his administration should build some more.
Perhaps. Ultimately, though, Haraldsson seemed to yield to the all-consuming maniacal power of a camera-wielding tourist.
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,” Haraldsson said.
How true, sir.