Promoting Safer Journeys

As an industry, we recognise that we have a role to play in informing incoming visitors of the New Zealand driving conditions. In 2015, we partnered up with Tourism Industry Aotearoa and the Safer Journeys Program to establish the Drive Safe initiative and accompanying Code of Practice. 

The initiative encourages rental operators in NZ to abide by certain standards and practices when educating and assessing visitor preparedness for driving in New Zealand. Fundamentally it’s about host responsibility and ensuring we do our level best to educate overseas drivers before they get on the road here in Aotearoa.

Driving in New Zealand can be very different to driving at home.

With world class scenery at every turn, a self-drive holiday is a great way to experience and see all that New Zealand has to offer. Before beginning to plan your journey, there are a few things that you’ll need to know about driving in New Zealand. 

We drive on the left-hand side of the road here, some of our roads are narrow, windy and have loose gravel… and it’s not unusual to see sheep or cattle on roads in rural areas. You need to give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, and to understand New Zealand road rules and signs.

Even if you have driven in other countries, it’s important to understand our rules for driving in New Zealand before you get behind the wheel here. We’ve put together the key things to consider when planning your trip and as you make your journey around the country. We’ve also suggested some great New Zealand driving routes to help with your planning. Scroll down or click the icons below to learn more.


Staying Safe on our Roads

New Zealand Police is committed to keeping our roads safe. We want you to enjoy your visit and to feel safe and be safe. Find out more about our driving rules, get advice on how to stay safe in your vehicle, what to do if you break down, and tips on preventing vehicle theft.

Click here to view the official ‘DriveSafe’ flyer, containing a summary of NZ’s most important road rules for drivers to be aware of.  





What's Different About Driving in New Zealand?

There are a few things you might not be used to when driving in New Zealand. The What’s Different About Driving in New Zealand guide offers a useful overview, and is available for download in English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Samoan, Tongan, Arabic, Thai, and other languages.

Avoid Driver Fatigue: Take Regular Breaks

Many fatal car crashes are caused when people drive while tired. It’s important to take regular rest stops while driving around New Zealand. Read more about Tips to Avoid Driver Fatigue, such as recognising the warning signs, and getting a good night’s sleep before driving.

Real Time Highway Conditions

It’s important to stay up-to-date on traffic and travel information throughout your journey. While travelling, it’s important to stay in the know about the latest highway conditions, advanced warning on delays and disruptions or detours along your planned route. It’s also a great idea to plan your journey in advance.

About New Zealand Speed Limits

Excessive speed is one of the greatest dangers on New Zealand roads. Learn more about New Zealand Speed Limits, safe speed guidelines, compulsory speed signs, variable speed limits, and additional road safety signs.

Driving in Bad Weather

Driving conditions can be more dangerous in rainy, icy and foggy conditions. Read tips on Driving in Bad Weather, including information on visibility, reducing your speed, and when to use fog lights.

Safer Winter Driving

Planning a ski trip, or a holiday in New Zealand during our winter (June to August)? Read more about Safer Winter Driving, with tips on assessing the conditions, driving to the conditions, and staying safe on the roads.

Information for Chinese Visitors

China Toolkit offers a number of Driving in New Zealand Resources for Chinese Visitors, including a Driving Theory Quiz and a driving in New Zealand video in Chinese and English languages.

New Zealand Driving Test

Test your New Zealand driving skills using this Visiting Driver Training Programme developed by AA. It has been designed for international visitors who want to be sure they understand the road rules and the typical road conditions they will experience in New Zealand. The state of the art interactive video presents 15 different situations to assess your knowledge and understanding of driving in New Zealand. Don't worry if you get it wrong, you can try again until you reach the correct answer.

Rental Vehicle Operator Code of Practice

New Zealand rental vehicle companies are being encouraged to sign up to a Code of Practice aimed at improving the safety of both visiting drivers and New Zealand road users.  Find out which companies have committed to the Code.