Driving Rules NZ

Check out our driving guide for all you need to know about safety on our roads.

Driving Rules NZ can be different from what you are used to so it pays to check out the rules before you drive.

Safety Tips
  • In case of an emergency contact the Police, Fire or Ambulance by dialing 111.
  • Remember, it’s easy to under estimate New Zealand driving times. Take plenty of breaks and give yourself additional travel time to rest and stretch your legs. Check out the travel distance calculator.
  • 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.
  • Check out the new ‘Driving in NZ‘ guide from the NZ Transport Agency in 11 different languages.
  • Read through additional safety guide information.


keep leftKeep Left

We drive on the left-hand side of the road.
SeatbeltAlways wear a seat belt

Everyone in your vehicle must wear a seatbelt, and children must be secured in an approved child seat. We can provide you child seats if you didn’t bring your own.
stopStop at the STOP signs

Keep to the speed limit and always stop at STOP signs
speed 100Observe recommended speeds.

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

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.
tiredStay well-rested.

Plan to drive for only 1 - 2 hours at a time, and take regular breaks during your journey to stretch your legs.
conditionsDrive 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.
driving timeEstimate your driving times

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.
drinkingDo 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.
dont-text-and-driveDon't use your mobile phone

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.