Road Safety

Road safety is a major issue in New Zealand. Our roads are often narrow, windy, and hilly, sometimes with steep drop-offs on one side. A few differences to keep in mind:

We drive on the left side of the road.

It is easy to underestimate the length of drives in Aotearoa; use Google Maps or the AA tool to calculate drive times accurately.

Most of our roads, even State Highways, are two-way, with only one lane in each direction. If you notice a long queue behind you, which is likely if you have a camper van, find a safe place to pull to the side of the road and allow the other vehicles to pass. If you want to overtake, wait for a two-lane overtaking opportunity or a long, flat section with no oncoming traffic.

Drivers and all passengers must wear seatbelts.

Not all rail crossings have active warnings, so pay extra attention.

Almost all roads will have trucks and many are shared with cyclists, and sometimes even pedestrians.

Do not drive fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Most long-distance roads will have signposted rest areas where you are welcome to take a nap in your car rather than drive tired.

For more information, check out Driving in New Zealand.