The unnamed 85-year-old was spotted driving down the M1 by lorry driver Steve Saxon.
He was pulled over by police on the northbound carriageway between junctions 31 and 32, near Sheffield.
Mr Saxon said: “I don’t know what he was thinking or where he thought he was going but it’s the most bizarre thing I’ve seen in almost 20 years driving lorries.
“He looked completely oblivious to what was going on.”
The stretch of motorway is restricted to a 50mph limit due to roadworks.
Mr Saxon said the pensioner appeared to have joined the M1 at junction 31.
A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said the force had received a number of calls about the pensioner’s trip down the hard shoulder, adding that his family had since been contacted.