updated 6/27/2006 3:54:38 AM ET 2006-06-27T07:54:38

A villager drove his vintage car against the flow of traffic on Malaysia's main freeway for 30 kilometers (18 miles), apparently unaware he was on the wrong side, a news report said Tuesday.

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When stopped by officials, the 80-year-old man had two questions: why there are so many cars on the road these days, and why they were they all flashing their headlights at him, the New Straits Times newspaper said.

It said the man, identified as Ah Pee, had made a wrong turn on his way home in the northern state of Kedah and got into the North-South Expressway — the first time he'd ever been on the six-lane road running the length of the country.

When he realized he was going in the wrong direction, he made a U-turn but stayed his side of the road divider, putting him in the fast lane and heading into oncoming traffic, the newspaper said.

It said police stopped Ah Pee about 30 kilometers (18 miles) after he'd made the U-turn, and his vintage Morris Minor car was steered into the emergency lane.

"He was driving between 60 and 70 kph (37 and 43 mph), and I could see the befuddled look in his eyes as the oncoming vehicles flashed their headlights at him," the Times quoted an unidentified policeman as saying.

Highway officials decided it was a "genuine mistake," since he had never used the freeway, and escorted him back to his house, the report said.

"I told him to ask for a lift from his children the next time he went for a drive," one official was quoted as saying.

Traffic officials in the area of the incident could not immediately be reached for comment.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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