People drive cars all over the world, and although the cars may basically be the same, the rules of the road and driver etiquette can be quite different! Today we will focus on the Antipodean island nation of New Zealand, one of the most rugged and beautiful places on Earth to see how drivers do things there. State highways in New Zealand are managed by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), and the country’s state highway network has around 11,000 kilometres of road with approximately 4.5 million licensed vehicles driving on them. While New Zealanders are known as friendly, responsible drivers, the country does have some of the world’s most dangerous roads due to rough terrain, problems with maintenance, and severe weather conditions, so caution is always a must!

If you are visiting and interested in making a car lease in New Zealand you will need to have a current and valid overseas driver’s licence, or an international driving permit to get you out on the road legally. To help you get adjusted to the ins and outs of driving in New Zealand, the following are the rules of the road and a few points of etiquette to be aware of!

Keep to the left. Like many countries around the world such as the UK and Japan, New Zealanders always drive on the left-hand side of the road. If you are from a country that drives on the right-hand side, it’s best to practise a bit on a quiet stretch of road to get used to being on the left side, for most people it only takes a few minutes to adjust.

Seat belts must be worn at all times. Wearing a seat belt is mandatory for all passengers as well as the driver, and it is required by law that young children and infants be properly secured in a government-approved child car seat. If you are leasing a car, your rental company can also rent your child car seats if you don’t have your own with you.

Always come to a complete stop at STOP signs.

Obey the speed limits at all times, including recommended speeds around bends.

Only overtake other vehicles when it’s safe to do so. Never cross a solid yellow line on your side of the centre line.

If you have a line of cars forming behind you, the etiquette is to pull over and let them pass.

If you have any trouble on the road, or in the event of an emergency, contact the authorities for help.

Never use a mobile phone while driving in New Zealand, it’s illegal. If you have to send a text or make a call pull off the road.

Never be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving, it is a crime strictly enforced by police, and offenders face severe penalties.

Visit the New Zealand police website for more information on road safety in the country. We hope you enjoy your driving experience in New Zealand, just keep your eyes on the road and pull over in a safe place to enjoy the beautiful scenery, it may take you a while to reach your destination, but the views are worth it!