New Zealand

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Safe Driving Tips



Driving in New Zealand-What you need to know




Tips For Keeping Safe In New Zealand



Driving in New Zealand should be a safe and enjoyable experience. If you have never driven in New Zealand before you should become familiar with the rules of our roads. The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has issued some key driving tips which you should read before setting on your journey.


But first, as you will appreciate when you arrive in New Zealand - you've come a long way!!  Hertz strongly suggest if you have come on a long haul flight, you stay overnight at your initial destination. That way, you'll be nice and refreshed the next day to begin your journey.


Please read this booklet before setting out.


NZTA 'What's Different about driving in New Zealand' brochure (multi-language):


Wintertime in New Zealand is an amazing time, but before you set out, the below brochure provides some tips on how to prepare for and drive to the conditions before you’re on an icy, wet or snow bound road.  


Top Tips

  • Keep Left
  • Everyone Wears Seatbelts
  • 100km/h maximum speed or less on the open road
  • NZ has roundabout intersections. Make sure you give way to the right and turn clockwise when moving though the intersection.
  • Allow extra time on New Zealand roads - journey times oftne take longer than expected and use the AA New Zealand Driving Time and Distance Calculator.
  • No overtaking on yellow lines


Keep left

Always drive on the left side of the road. If you drive on the right side of the road in your own country, please remember to keep left when pulling out onto the road – it’s easy to forget.


Safety belts

By law, everyone in the vehicle must wear a safety belt or child restraint – whether they’re in the front or back. Children under five years of age must be secured in an approved child restraint.


Driving speeds

Speed limit signs show the maximum speed you can travel. At times you may need to drive at a slower speed due to road, weather or traffic conditions. Different speed limits apply throughout New Zealand – look out for the speed limit signs.

  • On most of New Zealand’s main rural roads, the speed limit is 100km/h unless a sign says a lower speed applies.
  • The speed limit is generally 100km/h on motorways.
  • This sign indicates the default rural speed limit of 100km/h applies but the road is unlikely to be suitable to travel at that speed. You may need to drive at a slower speed.
  • In urban areas, the speed limit is usually 50km/h unless a sign says otherwise.


Travelling times

It’s easy to underestimate travelling times in New Zealand. Distances may seem short on paper, but New Zealand roads may be narrower than you’re used to, cover hilly terrain and vary from motorways (freeways) to unsealed gravel roads.

If you’re tired you’re much more likely to have a crash. Here are some tips to help you stay alert.

  • Get plenty of rest before a long drive.
  • Take a break from driving every two hours.
  • If possible, share the driving with someone else.
  • Avoid large meals and drink plenty of fluid.
  • If you begin to feel sleepy, stop at a safe place and try to have a short sleep for up to 40 minutes.
  • If you’re feeling very tired, find a place to stay overnight.


Use an accurate journey calculator to plan your trip. NZTA recommends the AA New Zealand Driving Time and Distance Calculator.



Most roads in New Zealand have a single lane each way, and some provide passing lanes at regular intervals – these should be used where possible when overtaking. You must not cross a solid yellow line on your side of the centre line to pass a vehicle, as this indicates it’s too dangerous to overtake.


These are only a sample of key driving tips. Before driving in New Zealand you should familiarise yourself with the  New Zealand Road Code.


To lean more about what you need to know when driving in New Zealand, visit 


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