Motorists were forced to swerve out the way of a car that travelled nearly 10 miles down the wrong side of a dual carriageway.

Eyewitnesses described seeing a “grinning” man behind the wheel of a BMW heading the wrong way down the A23 after going in the wrong direction down a slip road at Hickstead this morning.

The car was spotted from 10am before traffic cops managed to bring the vehicle to a halt at 10.15am north of the Mill Road roundabout in Brighton. It had travelled nearly 10 miles.

Sussex Police said a 73-year-old from Burgess Hill is now being assessed by health workers.

Leigh Harris, 36, from Brighton, was driving with his brother to Margate when they spotted the car heading straight for them.

Mr Harris said: “We were heading in a northbound towards Gatwick in the fast lane when suddenly we both saw the silver BMW coming towards us at speed in the same lane.

“Ed managed to swerve into the next lane, where thank fully there was no other traffic.

“It was frightening. We had flashbacks of Planes, Trains and Automobiles.”

An eye witness who did not wish to be named said: “I could see him through the windscreen and he was grinning. It seemed like he had a death wish. I just don’t know how he didn’t kill a load of people.”

Susssex Police is investigating a report that a silver van collided with a telegraph pole as the driver swerved to avoid the BMW. There are no reports of any injuries.

Sergeant Mark Baker of Sussex Police said: "We are very grateful to all of the drivers and members of the public who stopped and called us to warn us about the man's driving and for their attentive driving that enabled them to avoid a collision.

"We were able to react quickly and thankfully no one was injured.

"The man is now being medically assessed and we will be making the DVLA aware of the incident."