This Article is courtesy of www.drivingtests.co.nz
This article covers off the main points about driving in New Zealand, but it advised that you also take a look at these free New Zealand road code quizzes so you can learn specific signs, intersection and parking rules, and what to do in emergencies.
We drive on the left in New Zealand which means the steering wheel is on the right. If you are used to driving on the right in a left-hand drive vehicle, learning to position a campervan or car correctly in the lane is important as you’ll now have a metre and a half of vehicle on your left.
The maximum speed limit on New Zealand roads is 100kph (62mph). Urban areas are generally 50kph (31mph). There are both fixed and movable (generally fairly well hidden) speed cameras and the tolerance is as low as 4kph over the limit on public holiday weekends. Most traffic travels at between 90-100kph.
If you are travelling slower than this, keep an eye on your mirrors and let following cars pass.
The road network
As New Zealand is a country the size of the United Kingdom, but with only 4 million people, the road network is not as developed as in some other countries. Motorways and dual carriageways exist only usually for a short distance outside major cities. This means that you should allow more time to complete your journey than you would usually expect.
New Zealand’s roads, as well as being quite narrow in places, are also particularly hilly, and can sometimes vary from smooth blacktop to coarse gravel.
Given that our population is spread out, so are facilities. There are some places in New Zealand where there are no petrol stations for well over 100km, so watch out for signs warning of this.
Using your phone
It’s illegal to use a handheld mobile phone when driving in New Zealand. If you can connect a hands-free kit then you can make and receive calls. Texting is not allowed at all while you are on the road.
Giving way at intersections
In general, if you are turning, you give way to any vehicle not turning. If you are going straight through, then you give way to your right. If you are on a stop sign, drivers on a give way sign have right of way over you, regardless of which way you are turning.
If there are traffic lights, red means stop at all times. You cannot turn left on a red light unless there’s a green arrow indicating you can. This is different to North America.
Wearing seat belts is compulsory if they are fitted, whether they’re in the front or back. Children under five years of age must be seated in an approved child restraint. This age will increase in 2014.
If your driving licence is in English you can use it on New Zealand roads to drive for up to 12 months from the date you arrive in New Zealand. If your licence is not in English you will need to get an approved translation or International Drivers Permit.
In rural areas it is common to find uncontrolled railway crossings (in fact, around half of all New Zealand’s railway crossings are not controlled).
You might come around a corner to find a farmer moving several hundred cattle down the road.
In all rural areas you will find one-way bridges with signs indicating who has the right of way.
Unsealed (gravel or ‘metal’) roads are common in remote areas. When it’s hot and dry, slow down so you do not blind people with your dust.
We hope you enjoy your driving in New Zealand. It really is a spectacular country, so take your time and see as much as you can.
Fresh Rentals has a range of campers and cars to suit your travelling requirements. We look forward to helping you have a great holiday in New Zealand.