Driving in New Zealand: Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Journey

Welcome to the stunning landscapes of New Zealand! Before you hit the road in your rental car, take a moment to familiarize yourself with local driving rules and conditions. Follow these tips for a safe and enjoyable driving experience:

  1. Keep Left: In New Zealand, vehicles drive on the left side of the road. Stay on the left at all times, especially when entering roundabouts and making turns.

  2. Road Signs and Signals: Pay close attention to road signs and signals. They provide essential information about speed limits, upcoming hazards, and directions. Familiarize yourself with New Zealand’s road signs to ensure a smooth journey.

  3. Speed Limits: Adhere to posted speed limits, which can vary depending on the type of road. In urban areas, the speed limit is generally 50 km/h (31 mph), while open roads may have limits ranging from 80 km/h (50 mph) to 100 km/h (62 mph).

  4. Weather Conditions: New Zealand’s weather can change rapidly. Be prepared for rain, fog, and strong winds, especially in certain regions. Adjust your speed and driving style accordingly, and use headlights during low visibility conditions. You may see the weather forecast from MetService here

  5. Mountain Roads: If you plan to explore the mountainous regions, be cautious on narrow and winding roads. Keep an eye out for wildlife, and use pull-off areas to let faster vehicles pass.

  6. Give Way Rules: Familiarize yourself with New Zealand’s “Give Way” rules. When you approach a Give Way sign or intersection, be prepared to yield to the right.

  7. Seat Belts: It’s a legal requirement for all occupants to wear seat belts. Ensure that everyone in the vehicle is securely belted at all times.

  8. Mobile Phones: Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal in New Zealand. Pull over in a safe spot if you need to make a call or send a message.

  9. Drinking and Driving: New Zealand has strict laws against driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The legal blood alcohol limit is 50mg per 100ml of blood. It’s safer to have a designated driver or use public transportation after consuming alcohol.

  10. Fuel Stations: Plan your fuel stops, especially in remote areas where fuel stations may be less frequent. Keep in mind that some stations may close early, so it’s wise to fill up well before you run low. You can download our local fuel station finder app Gaspy here.

  11. Roadside Assistance: Save the contact information for your rental car company’s roadside assistance service. They can provide help in case of emergencies or breakdowns.

  12. Explore Responsibly: Respect the natural environment and local communities. Follow the “Leave No Trace” principles and obey any restrictions in conservation areas.

  13. Calculate your drive time: Use this distance calculator to get an approximate travel time and distance between two points in New Zealand.

By following these driving tips, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate New Zealand’s roads and make the most of your journey. Enjoy your road trip through this beautiful country!

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