Rules of the Road
Observe local speed limits
Speeding may lead to your driving licence being confiscated immediately, on the spot. Fines are often high and they must be paid. If you leave the country before paying a fine, notification will be sent to you. That's why it's important to carefully observe all posted speed limits. Please remember that speed limits are posted in kilometres per hour, not miles...
New Zealand has laws against driving under the influence of alcohol and their permissible blood alcohol level is often extremely low.
Park only where permitted
In major cities, you will usually find parking areas designated for short-term parking, longer term parking and areas where parking is prohibited. Some cities also use parking meters, so be sure to check whether there is a meter - and insert payment - if there is one
Driving is on the left hand side of the road.
The maximum speed limit for the open road in New Zealand is 100 kilometres / hour (62 miles/hour). Drivers generally travel slightly under the speed limit.
Please note that average speeds are lower and it takes longer to travel distances in New Zealand than might be expected. This is due to the hilly and mountainous nature of our countryside.
Many roads have gravel verges. Be mindful to keep clear of the verge, especially on corners. Some isolated roads are unsealed and use gravel as the surface. In these cases, drive slowly. Note that there are some roads which are not suitable for rental cars. We will advise you of these at the time of pick up.
During winter and early spring, some roads in the South Island and central North Island may be closed because of snow and ice. There will usually be an alternative route for you to take.
It is compulsory in New Zealand that the driver and all passengers wear their seatbelts. This is an important safety requirement.
For more information on driving in New Zealand and New Zealand's road rules, please visit the NZ Transport Agency
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