Tips For Driving in New Zealand’s South

Tips For Driving in New Zealand’s South

Tips For Driving in New Zealand’s South

Tips For Driving in New Zealand’s South courtesy of the New Zealand Transport Authority

If you’re from overseas, New Zealand roads are probably different to what you’re used to. Distances may seem short on paper, but our roads can be narrower, cover hilly terrain, and vary from motorways to unsealed gravel roads.

Before you begin your journey, learn more about what’s different about driving in New Zealand.

For example:

  • we drive on the left-hand side of the road
  • it’s easy to underestimate travelling times
  • our roads are narrower, more winding and sometimes steeper than you might expect
  • our roads are mostly two-way, with one lane in each direction – we have few motorways
  • not all railway crossings have active warnings
  • seat belts are compulsory
  • it’s illegal to use a phone while driving.

Winter and bad weather driving:

driving in snow

Winter and wet weather driving requires more caution and greater following distance

The weather can change quickly in New Zealand.  In the south there are also a number of alpine passes which can get snowfalls at different times of the year and can be icy especially during the months of June, July and August.

Adjust your driving:
Wet, frosty or icy roads can be very slippery. You need to increase your following distance because it takes longer to stop on a slippery surface. You should increase your following distance by using the four-second rule). Roads are extra slippery just after the rain commences, and will remain so until the rain has washed any oil off the road.