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Guide to Driving in New Zealand

Driving tips in New Zealand

If you are planning an unforgettable road trip adventure in New Zealand, make sure not to drive beyond the speed limits. Although New Zealand has a small population, the roads can still become congested especially at peak times. VroomVroomVroom has compiled a list of important things you need to know about driving.

What are the speed limits in New Zealand?

The maximum speed limits on open roads is 100km/h, while it is 50km/h in urban areas. Speed limits can range from 10km/h to a maximum of 100km/h, in 10km/h increments. The police officer can suspend your driver's licence, on the spot,  for 28 days if you get caught for driving beyond the speed limit. If you see a white circle with a black slash, it indicates an open road with speed limit of 100km/h. A temporary speed limit of 30km/h is common through road works. 

Know the speeding fines here.

What if I don’t wear a safety belt?

As a driver you may get a fine of $150  for not wearing your seat belt. It is compulsory that drivers and passengers aged 15 must wear a seat belt at all times. The driver is also responsible for making sure that anyone under the age of 15 wears a seat belt or uses an appropriate child restraint as required by law.

See the requirements for wearing seat belts here.

What happens to me if I'm caught over the alcohol limit?

You could be fined and given 50 demerit points if you are under 20 and your breath screening test shows you have an alcohol level of less than 150 micrograms per litre and less than 30 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood. Keep in mind that you could also be disqualified from driving, given more demerit points and either fined or imprisoned if the police officer finds out your alcohol limit is higher, 

Find out here how alcohol limits are measured.

Are there toll roads in New Zealand?

There are three toll roads in New Zealand, all located on the North Island. These include Northern Gateway Toll Road north in Auckland, Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road and Takitimu Drive Toll Road. If you travel on these roads, you will need to pay a fee. You can pay this fee online at www.tollroad.govt.nz  or over the phone at 0800 40 20 20.

Learn more about toll roads


Drive safely within speed limits

Speed limits in New Zealand can range from 10km/h to a maximum of 100km/h, in 10km/h increments. Signs which shows the speed limit normally have a red border and are displayed beside the road. Before reaching the speed-limit sign, make sure to reduce your speed if the sign indicates a lower speed. In addition, do not increase your speed  until you pass the sign if the sign shows a higher speed.