Tips to Safe Parking
- It is advised that one should slow down while parking; however, also note that one should indicate the intended action at least three seconds before proceeding.
- As per NZ law, one shall always park parallel to the road and to its left (as close to the left as possible); however you can make an exception in case angle parking is permitted. And don’t worry in case angle parking is allowed, there will be signs to convey it.
- Open your vehicle’s door only after making sure that no pedestrian, passing vehicle or cyclist is coming your way. Also, in case of heavy traffic, make sure that you are out of the way before actually stopping to park your car. It would be a better idea to get out of your vehicle on the side which is away from the traffic.
- In case you are going to park on a steep road, make sure that the wheels of the car are turned towards the kerb after parking- this will ensure that your vehicle will not move forward or backward. Also make sure that your car is in reverse gear (in park mode if the vehicle is automatic) and do apply the handbrake!
- Avoid parking the car on the side of the road during night if the road is not lit by a streetlight. However, if there is no other option, park the car on the side of the road and make sure that either the tail lights or the side lights which are nearest to the center of the road are turned on and should be visible from a distance of 100m. This will ensure that the parked car will be visible to the passer bys – either in cars, cyclists or people on foot.
- Stop Sign: This road sign indicates that a vehicle ‘must’ be stopped by the driver at an intersection and should not move till the way is clear. The deed must be done without a miss irrespective of the time of the day or the traffic conditions.
- Warning Signs: These signs are planted at various places to alert the drivers of a particular hazard that lies ahead on the road. Therefore these warning signs must be obeyed as they will ensure safety of not only the driver, but also the fellow drivers and the workers who might be carrying out the maintenance work. They fall under two categories- yellow signs are permanent in nature whereas orange ones convey cautions against temporary hazards.
- Information Signs: Information signs convey useful information like way to the nearest information center or the distance to the next town etc. Though they all come in rectangular shape, yet it should be noted that they come in a range of different colours and sizes too.
Tips for Driving Safe in NZ
- Use Seat Belts: As per Kiwi law, all the people who are travelling in the car, even the ones seated in the back seats must make use of seat belts; and if children are along, use of child restraints is compulsory.
- Keep Left: In New Zealand, all cars approach their destinations by driving on the left, which means that the center line of the road always remains on the right side of the driver.
- Speed Limits: While driving on Kiwi roads, one shall keep a strict check on the speed. Though in case of open roads and city/town roads, the maximum speed limit is 100 km/hr and 50 km/hr respectively, yet exceptions do occur. Therefore keep an eye on the signs on your left to keep track of the maximum permitted speed.
- Avoid Mobile Phones: A driver is advised not to use mobile in any way while driving on the Kiwi roads. However, it is permissible, if and only if one is using a hands-free kit which ensures that there will be no need to manipulate the mobile with hands while driving.
- Overtaking: Overtake a vehicle only if it is safe and in case there is a yellow line instead of a white at the center of the road to your right- it means overtaking is prohibited as it is too dangerous!
- Drive as Per the Conditions: You should slow down and drive more carefully if the driving conditions are not favorable i.e. if it is raining or snowing etc.
- Don’t mix drinking and driving: Driving is strictly prohibited in case you are under the influence of alcohol or a drug. It is a big offense in NZ and if caught the penalties would be really severe.
- Plan Well: Since road trips in NZ could prove really long because of the winding roads, it is always advisable that one should better calculate the duration of your traveling using a GPS.
- Go for an automatic car: While choosing for a car rental it is better to choose a car which has an automatic transmission. The fact that in NZ one has to change the gear with their left hands might seem uncomfortable, moreover, this can be a big problem especially when one has to self navigate on NZ’s winding roads. Therefore it is better to opt for an automatic car.
- Don’t Panic: Thought it is unlikely that one can get lost while driving in NZ, yet if such a case arises, don’t panic- take a deep breath, leave the premises of your car and ask someone for directions.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Who can drive in NZ? All the International drivers who have a current valid driver license in English are allowed to drive in NZ. Also note that whatever restrictions or conditions that your license bears, will also be applicable in NZ.
- License: Your license should be in English and if it is not, you should either get an approved translation of your license or apply for an international driver permit. In case you are going for the ‘international permit’ option, make sure that you are carrying your original license with you while driving in NZ.
- Plan your time: Though NZ is a small country, yet due to its winding roads the journeys usually take a lot of time, therefore it is better you check the distance that you have to cover through GPS etc, before heading. It will allow you to decide well about the breaks that you need to take to ward off fatigue which can be a bit of a setback to one’s concentration.