If you’re visiting New Zealand you may have had years of driving in your own country, but there will be some differences in driving laws and rules in New Zealand. You’ll need to be prepared so you don’t inadvertently break the law and get a fine, or worse, cause an accident.
New Zealand’s road rules are called the Road Code and they are issued by the NZTA. While NZTA’s website has all the road code information on it, it’s quicker and easier to run through their multiple-choice tests on the Driving Tests website (click here). It’s free and you can use it on your computer or mobile device.
While many of the signs are standardised internationally, there are some significant differences in general driving. For example, if you are coming from the UK or USA where speeds are posted in miles per hour and distances are posted in miles, New Zealand’s speeds and distances are metric and in kilometres – don’t get caught out doing 80mph (130kph) in an 80kph limit because that difference will mean the car might be impounded.
Most of the world drives on the right hand side of the road (with the main exceptions being the UK, South Africa, Japan, Australia and New Zealand). If you are not used to manoeuvring on the left hand side of the road you will need to pay special attention to give way rules, lane markings, indication rules and particularly what to do on roundabouts where you will be going clockwise, not anticlockwise.
Some of our lane markings are quite different, for example, a dashed yellow line in New Zealand is the equivalent of a double yellow line in the UK.
Our traffic signals are different, too. In the USA you can make a free turn on a red light (unless it’s indicated not to), whereas in New Zealand you must not go through a red light.
If your licence is in English you can drive in New Zealand for up to a year. However, if your licence is not in English you will need to secure an International Driving Permit to accompany your licence.
Let us know if you have any other questions about driving in New Zealand, and we look forward to seeing you over here.