Keep LEFT!

Stay to the left. We drive on the left-hand side of the road.

Seat Belts

Always wear your seat belt. Everyone in your vehicle must wear a seatbelt, and children must be secured in an approved child seat. Your rental vehicle company can rent child seats to you if you didn’t bring your own.


Keep to the speed limit and always stop at STOP signs.


Always slow down to observe recommended speeds around bends and check for oncoming traffic on one-lane bridges.


Overtake other vehicles only when it’s safe to do so. Use passing lanes whenever possible, and never cross a solid yellow line on your side of the centre line.


Stay well-rested. Plan to drive for only 1 - 2 hours at a time, and take regular breaks during your journey to stretch your legs.

Unsealed/Gravel Roads

Avoid unsealed roads if possible, otherwise remember they can be very narrow, reduce speed and slow down when approaching oncoming traffic as dust can obscure your vision and loose stones could chip your windscreen.

One-Lane Bridges

When approaching a one-way bridge, slow down and check for traffic coming the other way. A sign displaying a smaller red arrow shows which direction has to give way. If no traffic is approaching, you can proceed carefully.


Watch out for farm animals on the road, particularly in rural areas. Slow down and do not sound your horn. You may need to stop and let the animals go past, or move slowly up behind and follow the farmer’s instructions.


Drive to the conditions. You’ll need to reduce your speed if it’s raining, icy, snowing, windy or if you’re in a roadworks area. Ask your accommodation provider if in doubt.

Trip Planning

Use this Driving Time and Distance Calculator or GPS to estimate driving times while planning your journey. Driving in New Zealand can often take longer than expected due to our winding roads.

Drink Driving

Do not drink and drive. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime in New Zealand and strictly enforced by police, with severe penalties for offenders.

Mobile Phones

It’s illegal to use a mobile phone while driving in New Zealand. If you need to make a call or send a text, pull over at a rest area or in a safe place.


If you’re driving a campervan or motorhome during your New Zealand driving holiday and you have traffic backed up behind you, pull over as soon as you can safely do so to let other vehicles pass.


In case of emergency, contact Police, Fire or Ambulance by dialling 111.


Safety Tips

Remember, it’s easy to underestimate New Zealand driving times. Take plenty of breaks and give yourself additional travel time to rest and stretch your legs.

Keep your eye on the weather conditions before each journey so you can drive to the conditions. Allow for extra New Zealand driving times where needed.

In case of emergency, contact Police, Fire or Ambulance by dialling 111.

For more information on driving safely during your stay in New Zealand, please visit the DriveSafe website ›

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