Express Car Rentals Blog

Driving Rules & Road Safety in New Zealand

Self-drive is a great way of exploring New Zealand. You will have the flexibility to evolve your itinerary as you travel and the freedom to explore the places, which are far away from the tourist trails. The roads are usually of high standards. So, you usually, won't have much problem driving. However, you must be familiar with the driving laws and road safety of New Zealand. Here they are:  
  1. Driving is on the road's left side.
  2. When the traffic lights go red, stop.

  3. Always keep on or below the speed limits that are indicated on the road signs. Maximum speed on any road is 100km/hr. Maximum speed in the urban areas is about 50km/hr. You should adjust the speed as the conditions demand.
  4. Never underestimate the driving times. Although it might seem to you that the distances are short, the roads often include narrow, hilly or winding terrain that slow down the journey. If you are quite used to driving in Auckland, take care while driving on the open country roads and watch out for the single-lane bridges.
  5. Sleep a lot before going for a long drive. Take breaks regularly-every two hours later or when you feel sleepy.
  6. You must never drive when you feel tired, especially after you have arrived to the city after a long-haul flight.
  7. The country of New Zealand accepts national drivers' licenses of all the other nations for tourists staying less than a year. You should always carry your licence when driving.
  8. Check out the rental agreement before hiring the car. You should at least be twenty-one years of age for renting a car in NZ. Also consider paying extras for removing the high insurance excess.
  9. Wear the safety belt when you are in front or back seat. It is a law.
  10. Never drive and drive in this country. Drinking and driving laws are severely enforced.
  11. Most of the open roads are single lane each way, except for the motorways that come into the larger cities like Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. Before you overtake any vehicle, ensure you will have at least 100m clear road in front of you until you've finished. Never pass on the double yellow lines. They indicate that it is too dangerous to overtake.
  12. The road conditions are usually variable. Off the main highways some roads can be unsealed and extra care should be taken. Some roads aren't safe for vehicles and the insurance doesn't cover them. Ask your car rental company to mark the roads on the map before setting off.
  13. During winter, some roads can be treacherous because of snow or ice, especially around the mountain passes. Look out for the signs that indicate slippery surfaces in winter and drive carefully and slowly. Don;t ever brake on ice suddenly. In a few cases, chains can be needed. Ensure you know how to fit them. 


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