New Zealand Road Conditions and Traffic Rules

Traffic and Road conditions

Left-hand traffic system

New Zealand driver’s seat is on the right-hand side. For customers who are not accustomed to driving on the left side of the road, please drive safely and pay attention not to drive on the wrong side when making a left or right turn

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Expressway and Highway

The maximum speed limit in the city is 50km/h and in the suburb is 80km/h ~ 100km/h.

For a first-timer, you might be surprised by the speed of other drivers on the road, however please do not follow suit.
Before making a urgent sharp turn, please look out for a sign with black & white numbers in a yellow background with the maximum speed limit indicated.

Please drive within the indicated speed limit and make a safe turn.

The legal maximum speed on the expressway is 100km/h, and you will be fined if caught speeding. Unless during emergencies, please do not stop on the expressway at any time.

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Speed limit

The speed limit indicated flags from the first sign until the next speed limit sign appears. Assuming that the speed limit flag for this section is 100km/h, this will last until the next speed limit sign appears.

There are speed cameras on the road. Please do not speed!

Usage of car horn

Pressing the car horn randomly on the roads of New Zealand is uncommon.

In addition, please refrain from doing so when driving in the city, in the night and early morning. The horn should only be used as a reasonable traffic warning

Road Types

New Zealand roads are categorised into three basic types.
Please drive according to road conditions. There will be some impacts on driving based on different road types. Please pay attention to changes on the roads!

Asphalt road pavement

The Asphalt road pavement is generally black and the surface is smooth so it is very quiet when driving on such road pavements.

Commonly found on roads with heavy traffic and with corners or on roads that aids easy braking.
Although such road pavements help drivers to brake easily, the tires are not easily gripped on rainy days. Hence, please drive safely when the roads are slippery!

Tar mixed gravel road pavement

This type of road pavement is mixed with crushed sand.
You can see the uneven surface when the road is in good condition.

However due to a long period of being run over by many cars, the uneven surface will seem less obvious.

The tires are not easily gripped on such road pavements so please drive carefully as it will be slippery.

Gravel road pavement

Gravel road pavement is generally used on roads with lesser traffic.

Roads other than local roads are basically gravel pavement.
The car will be in a trundle state on gravel road and very easy to slip.
Please slow down when driving as the small stones on the pavement might hit the incoming vehicles.

Please drive safely according to road conditions.
During good weather, the car front is easily covered by dust from the incoming vehicles which might affect the front line of sight, so please pay attention to the space distance between cars.

Traffic Rules

Left-hand traffic system

Drive on the left side of the road.

Giving way for cars turning left

Cars turning left have the priority

Roundabouts

Many crossroads replace traffic lights with a roundabout.
All vehicles entering the roundabout from the left, travel in a clockwise direction.

Giving way on a roundabout

Please be alert when entering the roundabout as priority is given to vehicles coming from the right side.

1Single-laned roundabouts

When the road is a single lane

Please slow down when entering the roundabout.
Please give way to all vehicles that will cross your path from your right when entering the roundabout.

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Multi-laned roundabouts

For multi-laned roundabouts, please follow the signs on the road in order to facilitate drivers entering or exiting the road.
Not all roundabouts are marked the same way so please take extra care especially at the exits.
If changing of lane is required when exiting, please give way to vehicles in the lane that you want to enter.

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Approaching a multi-laned roundabout

Please enter the correct lane.
When entering the roundabout, please give way to all vehicles that will cross your path from your right.

2Signal use at roundabouts

Signal when entering the roundabout from the first exit (turn left on the cross junction)

When approaching the roundabout, please signal left.

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Going “straight” through a roundabout

Do not signal when coming up to the roundabout. Signal left when approaching the exit.
At some small roundabouts, it may not be possible to warming but it is courteous to give as much indication as you can.

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Travelling more than halfway around a roundabout

Signal right when coming up the roundabout.
Signal left when approaching the exit.

ATTENTION
Cruising round a roundabout is prohibited.

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3Roundabout Signs

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You are coming up to a roundabout.

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Please keep left as you approach the roundabout.

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Please apply the roundabout give way rules.

Give Way

The sign [Give Way] usually appears at the intersection of the priority lane.
Although bus vehicles have the right of way, it is not necessary to stop as long as you are able to enter the road after ensuring it is safe to do so.

Giving way on one-lane bridges

The lanes in New Zealand are mainly 2 lanes but some highways have one-lane bridges.
Be courteous to other drivers while driving pass the bridge.
All one-lane bridges are clearly signposted, showing who should give way. Please give way to the vehicles coming towards you.

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The signs that there is a one-lane bridge ahead.

img_sign04_Sales for Rent-a-car_Travel Car Rental_Free-style Travel with Rent-a-car_Free-style Travel in New Zealand These two signs show you must give way to traffic coming the other way across the bridge.

img_sign04-2_Sales for Rent-a-car_Travel Car Rental_Free-style Travel with Rent-a-car_Free-style Travel in New Zealand This sign indicates that if no traffic is approaching, you can proceed across the bridge with caution.

Responsibilities on seat belts and child safety measures.

Seat Belts

All drivers and passengers must fasten seat belts. Children must use child safety seats.
Passengers over 15 years old must fasten seat belt. All cars are equipped with 3-point seat belts.
* The rear seats for the vehicles in New Zealand use 3-point seat seats, unlike in Japan.

Responsibility of child safety

Under 4 years old

Children under 4 years old must use standard child seats.

5 years old and above, 7 years old and below

If the car is installed with child safety seat, children over 5 years old and under 7 years of age must be properly buckled in the seat, otherwise, please fasten seat belt at all times.

Please drive carefully in suburbs where horse riders can be seen.

Please show courtesy when sharing the road with horse traffic.
Slow down and pass carefully, giving the horse and rider plenty of room as vehicles may frighten the horses.

ATTENTION
Please be careful of any sight of animals while on roads near the fields or forest.
It is dangerous to brake suddenly while travelling on a highway.
Sudden brake may cause car to skid and possibly collide with other vehicles.
Please remain calm if you encounter any such incidents.

Road Signs

Compulsory Signs

Common Blue & Red Signs

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Some signs are in red borders

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Permanent Warning Signs

Warning Signs are in yellow and black.

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Temporary Warning Signs

Temporary Warning Signs are in orange and black.

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Information Signs

Signs are in rectangular shape. Size and colours will differ.

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Speed Limit Signs

Speed limit refers to the maximum speed the drivers are allowed to drive under safe traffic/road/weather conditions.

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Other signs relating to speed limit

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Parking Signs

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