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Thread: Driving in NZ

  1. #1
    stanley is offline Member
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    Default Driving in NZ

    Hi we are doing recce in a campervan in a few weeks, it seems from comments on the forum that kiwis aren't very good drivers. I know they drive on the same side as the road to us but are their any important differences to their roads compared to theUK that we should know about or any different rules of theroad.

    Thanks.
    Paula.,

  2. #2
    Taffy's Avatar
    Taffy is offline He who shall be ignored
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    I think the bad driving kiwi is a bit of a myth to be honest. Sure, there are some bad drivers around, but I would say for the most part drivers are courteous and sensible. The only odd rule is the give way rule, which is basically if you want to turn left in to a junction, you have to give way to people turning right in to the same junction. Apart from that, driving is pretty easy in NZ
    Taffy

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  3. #3
    Welshgirl's Avatar
    Welshgirl is offline Super Moderator
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    This is the LTSA (Land Transport Safety Authority) link to their website which specifically describes the give way rule but have a look around the rest of their site to familiarise yourself with the rules and laws in NZ Road code - About driving

    As a campervan driver, you'll probably need to be extra-courteous as your van may be a little slow up some of the bigger hills, so if you can do so safely, slow down and pull over to the left to let any queuing cars past. Don't worry if you can't though - most drivers are used to campervans on the roads and don't cause problems

  4. #4
    MotherBear's Avatar
    MotherBear is offline The missing link
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    If you fancy a bit of fun and want to 'practice' your NZ driving skills, you could take part in the online driving test . You would have to undergo a driving test anyway when you've been in NZ for a year so have a play with this and see how you go.
    Mother Bear

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  5. #5
    cheeky kea's Avatar
    cheeky kea is offline Junior Member
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    Hi,
    On our two week tour round south island in 2006 we found NZ drivers pretty nutty (maybe we just met the ones rushing away on their Xmas hols). Noone seemed to stick to 100km speed limit on country roads and there seemed to be a strange fear of having other cars in front of you. A car would appear out of nowhere, tailgate you with 30cm to spare and then overtake suddenly (not as bad as Argentinian lorry drivers doing this!). You got used to this, until this also happened on windy mountain roads when it was anyone's guess as to who was coming round the corner. We couldn't figure out on one occassion why someone seemed to be trying to undertake us on the inside (moving over onto gravel hard shoulder repeatedly) - we finally figured out this was the NZ way of saying "you're going too slowly up this hill, move over!"
    Otherwise enjoyed it. One word of advise is...try not to cover too much distance in a short time but take time to enjoy the fantastic countryside. We rushed too much and wish we had stopped more but often had to get from A to B. Also it takes longer than one thinks to get places eg over Arthur's Pass.
    Have a fun trip.
    Cheeky Kea

  6. #6
    Dawn's Avatar
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    I agree with Taf, most of them are OK drivers and we do find them a little more courteous than in the UK HOWEVER they do drive right up your arse when you're in a campervan and the lorries absolutely scare you to death. They fly past you on the steepest, windiest, blindest corners whilst flashing their lights at you as if to ask 'what the hell are you playing at?' You simply can't drive fast in a camper - everything flies out the cupboards, the kids colouring books, games, lappys fly off the table, the kids slam into the windows even with seatbelts - you kind of have to drive slower than the slowest speed limit, no one seems to mind except the truck drivers. The thing is that with those huge trucks' weight limit they're not supposed to do over 90kmh - yeah right - bloody scary
    Passionate about the unfathomableness opportunities of kiwi-a-gogo-land

  7. #7
    PaulG is offline Junior Member
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    Don?t expect courtesy when in Auckland though. I disagree that the UK is worse though. Things have gotten worse there yes, but not to this degree. I drove a truck here as my first job so I speak with experience. The truck drivers born here are so used to the place that they know the roads so well. Yes no one should tailgate, but the way around that is leave a bigger gap to the vehicle in front of you. You then have enough space to break for you and the fool behind.

    It will upset them, of course, but I drive with this motto in mind... ?better ten minutes late in this world than 10 minutes early in the next?

    No one really gains from overtaking these days anyway, you normally catch them up at the next junction or set of lights.

  8. #8
    Taffy's Avatar
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    True, Auckland driving is hell on Earth. Driving in Hamilton is usually a pleasure though, so it's probably not fair to blanket the whole country with a bad rep. I guess this is a very subjective topic, depending on where you're from and where you live now. I'd agree with Dawn that driving here is better than the UK but as I said thats probably due to where we're from compared to where we are now.
    Taffy

    The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.

  9. #9
    PaulG is offline Junior Member
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    Yes I agree on the locations we are comparing and it is not the same all over, wasn?t what I was getting at.

    I spent the first 5 weeks of my blossoming NZ life in Mt Maunganui, which is also a pleasure to drive around in the main.

    Lets not forget that there are so many different ethnic origins on the road here and not all come from countries where driver training is as high.

  10. #10
    stanley is offline Member
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    Thanks for the response everyone. very helpful, only two weeks to go yeah.

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