U-Turn on Autobahn Geriatric German Lady Causes Motorway Havoc

It must have been like a scene from a James Bond movie. An elderly lady who drove onto the wrong highway performed an impressive U-turn and sped off into oncoming traffic. She got home safely after causing nine accidents, €50,000 of damage and losing her licence.

A 76-year-old German woman who discovered she had driven onto the wrong stretch of motorway turned her car around and headed into oncoming high-speed traffic, causing nine accidents as dozens of cars were forced into hair-raising swerves to avoid her.

The lady had been trying to drive into the center of the Bavarian city of Bayreuth -- famous for its annual Wagner opera festival -- on Friday evening, but joined the A9 Autobahn by mistake and found that she was heading towards Berlin. After three kilometers she decided to perform a U-turn on the spot, causing two cars to collide behind her, and proceeded to drive back in the left-hand lane and the hard shoulder of the motorway, Bavarian police said in a statement.

"Her driving caused a number of dangerous evasion manoeuvres by oncoming vehicles," police said. She finally stopped at a motorway construction site when the traffic became too heavy, causing six further accidents.

No one was seriously hurt but the motorway had to be closed for 45 minutes and the lady had her driving licence confiscated at the request of the Bayreuth public prosecutors' office. Police estimated she caused €50,000 worth of damage.

While statistics provide no clear indication that elderly drivers are particularly dangerous, frequent reports of accidents caused by pensioners have led to calls for tougher medical controls on them and even driving bans. Elderly people insist they have a right to drive if they are fit and point to the high accident rate among young drivers. As populations age across Europe, the debate is unlikely to go away.



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