Driving in New Zealand

Driving in the Netherlands varies from the UK so use this Sixt guide for advice and tips to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant journey.

RULES & REGULATIONS

  • Have you ever driven on the left-hand side of the road? Entered a roundabout? Went on a one lane bridge? Dealt with twisty and curvy roads? In case you haven’t you better be prepared to deal with all of those (and much more) when driving New Zealand’s roads. They say New Zealand’s roads are different and after a month of driving them, I can most definitely say they are. Driving in New Zealand is no joke especially for foreign tourists who are not used to the intricacies that can be involved at some points while driving.

  • Before heading to New Zealand, I had read about countless accidents (and sometimes fatal) caused by tourists who are just not familiar with the driving rules. During my time there I witnessed one accident and spoke to another person who literally drove their car off a curvy road and down into a ditch. I am hoping that this guide can help readers be more prepared for NZ road situations and avoid accidents similar to that. In addition, I will go over plenty of more helpful information regarding rules, regulations, tips and more that you can expect to experience when you are out there.

  • If you did not know by now, New Zealand drives on the LEFT HAND SIDE of the road (with the driver’s seat being on the right hand side of the car). So, unless you are coming from Australia, the UK, Hong Kong, etc., you will need to immediately acclimate to driving on the opposite side of the road that you are used to. It does take a bit of time to get familiar with the driving, however as you drive more and more, you will start getting used to it. As you think about driving on the left, here are some pieces of information you should think about:

  • A) Always make sure as a driver that you are closest to the center of the road. When driving on the left, the driver will be on the right-hand side of the car, and therefore closest to the center divider. If you continuously have this thought in mind, it will make driving easier and less stressful for you. Note that this won’t always be the case such as when driving on one way streets.

  • B) When making a left-hand turn, you will need to look RIGHT, and turn onto the left hand side of the ride. This is similar to a right-hand turn in the US for example, when you look left and turn onto the right hand side.

SPEED LIMITS

On most highways the speed limit will be 100 KMH, however you will come across frequent times when the speed limit changes to a slower speed – whether it be 80 KMH, 60 KMH etc. In cities and smaller towns, it may be even lower. One thing to note is that there will be many times when you are on the highway going 100 KMH and all of a sudden you will be entering a small town situated on the highway itself. When this happens the speed limit usually drops considerably. Be aware in these situations as you might not even realize it.

WHAT TO BRING ALONG

Here are the compulsory documents and equipment to carry:

  • Warning triangle or hazard warning lights must be used in case of an accident or breakdown (recommended that warning triangle always be carried).

  • A driving licence

  • Car registration papers

  • Insurance documents

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