Exploring New Zealand by car is the way to go. Allow the roads to lead you through an array of scenic journeys while giving you the freedom to make the most of your time here in our beautiful country. To ensure you have a safe and happy journey we have put together some helpful tips on what you need to know when driving in New Zealand.
Please note: If you are arriving on a long-haul flight, please ensure you are well rested (preferably overnight) before taking to the roads in New Zealand.
Driving in any country that is foreign to you will always come with its challenges – no matter how confident of a driver you are. With different road rules in every country we strongly advise that you take the time to get familiar with the rules of New Zealand roads.
Here are some key points you need to know before you get behind the wheel in New Zealand.
- Keep Left
It is highly likely that you are used to driving on the opposite side of the ride. Always ensure you stick to the left. The driver should always be in the middle of the road as you would at home. When approaching intersections always look both ways and proceed with caution.
- Seatbelts are to be worn at all times
Seat Belts save lives. Regardless of the distance being driven– seat belts must be buckled.
- Maximum Speed is 100km/h
On open roads and Motorways the maximum speed limit in New Zealand is 100km/h. This is not a target and does not mean you have to drive at this speed, however do be mindful of other drivers and pull over when safe if you are taking it at a slower pace.
- Driver must not use a mobile phone while driving
By law the driver is not permitted to use a mobile phone when driving. It is an unnecessary distraction and will incur a fine.
- Red light means stop
In New Zealand a red light means stop no matter what direction you are heading – there are no free turns.
- Allow a generous driving time
Although the distance may look short on a map, it is advised to allow some extra time for your journey. The terrain in New Zealand is very diverse, ranging from straight smooth motorways – to narrow and winding roads along the coast. Give yourself some extra time so you aren’t in a rush and can enjoy your journey, reaching your destination safe and relaxed.
- Driver must carry a current and valid driver licence (If not in English an approved translation is required)
- No overtaking on yellow lines
Only over take on white lines where you can see it is safe to pass, or even better, wait for a designated passing lane. If in doubt – do not pass.
- Drive to the conditions
Although the open road is generally 100km/h you need to assess what a safe speed is based on the conditions. For example on gravel roads or icy roads, extra caution needs to be taken.
Once again, we ask that you please take the time to learn the rules, stay rested and most importantly – KEEP LEFT! For more information please visit DRIVESAFE
We hope you enjoy your stay here in New Zealand. Thank you for doing your part in keeping our roads safe for everyone.