What You Need to Know About Driving in New Zealand

Driving in New Zealand is a little different to driving elsewhere in the world. Some parts of NZ are very rural, while others are very built up – and the road rules are different too. When you book a hire car from http://www.snapcarrentalauckland.com/, your travel will be taken care of – but there are still some things you should know about driving in New Zealand before you take to the road. Read on to learn what you need to know about driving in New Zealand.

  • In NZ, cars drive on the left – so be sure to keep to the left. Remember, the steering wheel should always be near the middle of the road!

  • In March 2012, two new driving rules came into place in New Zealand – one, requiring right-turning drivers to give way to drivers turning left at an intersection or junction where there are no signs or signals, and two, requiring right-turning drivers to give way to right-turning drivers turning into a T-junction. The easiest way to remember the second rule is “top of the T goes before me” – so drivers turning right from the top of the T-junction go before drivers turning out of the T-junction.

  • The maximum speed limit in a built-up urban area is 50kmph (31mph), and 100kmph (62mph) in rural areas. Keep to the speed limit at all times or you risk being fined or even imprisoned.

  • The laws are also strict surrounding seatbelt use in New Zealand. All passengers in a car should be wearing a seatbelt at all times, or the owner and driver of the vehicle will be liable for a fine per seatbelt not worn.

  • Be aware that a lot of the roads in New Zealand are regular two-lane roads. There are not as many highways as in countries like England or America and so you might find that it could take longer to get from place to place than you’d expect.

  • A number of roads in New Zealand are gravel roads, so you need to be aware that your driving style will differ on these roads. You’ll have to go at a slower speed and the dust that the gravel roads kick up might mean that you have to keep your windows shut.

  • Do not drink and drive. If you are below the age of 20, there is a zero tolerance limit for drinking and driving and if you are caught after having only one drink, you could face a fine and up to 50 demerit points.  If you are very over the limit, you could lose your license and be imprisoned. New Zealand also has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to driving after taking drugs. Prescribed medication by your doctor and over the counter medication are acceptable, but abuse of prescribed medication or over the counter medication or illegal drugs is forbidden by law. If you get behind the wheel under the influence of drugs, your license could be revoked and you could be imprisoned.

  • Some roads in New Zealand can be particularly narrow or hilly and so be aware that you may not be able to overtake vehicles when you want to. Unless you know the roads well or are sure of your time, space, distance and speed, do not attempt to overtake cars in front of you as you may find that they increase their speed when the road turns into a straight.