On New Zealand roads, left is right and right is wrong. There are a few other idiosyncrasies which we’ve outlined below. But if you just remember this one thing, you’ll be saving lives, every day: keep left! Here are some other pointers.
What’s different about driving in New Zealand?
Here’s a list of things on our roads that people from other countries find the hardest to deal with:
- Gravel. A lot of country roads are unsealed metal: take it easy
- Animals. Don’t be surprised if you encounter cows or sheep blocking country roads. They’re usually being herded somewhere, so won’t block you for long.
- Hills. A lot of roads are steep and windy. Some journeys take longer than expected.
- Weather. As a mountainous country with a lot of ocean around it, the weather can impact both visibility and traction. And some areas – like the Auckland Harbour Bridge – are exposed to strong winds which you can feel directly through the steering wheel.
Better safe than sorry
Here are a few other things to bear in mind:
- The speed limit on most urban and suburban roads is 50 km per hour.
- Around schools, the speed limit is reduced, usually to 40 km per hour (electronic speed signs near schools can display a range of speed limits).
- Everyone has to wear a seat belt.
- Don’t drink and drive. Nearly everyone looks down on it, especially cops and judges.
- The limit for people over the age of 20 is 250 mcg per litre of breath. For some people, that can be reached on just one and half standard drinks (although there are lots of variables).
- If you’re under the age of 20, the breath alcohol limit and the blood alcohol limit are both zero.