Skip to main content

What are the driving rules in New Zealand? - HOW DO I / International students / Living in New Zealand - NMIT Support

What are the driving rules in New Zealand?

For a safe and enjoyable driving experience while in New Zealand, make sure you're familiar with the important New Zealand driving rules (otherwise known as 'road rules') below. 

  • We drive on the left-hand side of the road and our vehicles seat the driver on the right.
  • Stay on or below the legal speed limits indicated on road signs. The maximum speed on any open road is 100km/h. The maximum speed in urban areas is 50km/h. Adjust your speed as conditions demand.
  • When traffic lights are red you must stop. When traffic lights are amber you must stop unless you are so close to the intersection it is unsafe to do so.
  • Drivers and passengers must wear seat belts or child restraints at all times, in both front and rear seats.
  • Child restraint seats must be used for all children until 7 years of age. New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has more information about child restraints
  • Signposting follows standard international symbols and all distances are in kilometres (km).
  • Driving while using a hand-held cellphone is illegal in New Zealand.
  • It is illegal to pass other cars where there is yellow line instead of a white line marking the middle of the road. The yellow line indicates that it's too dangerous to overtake.
  • One lane bridges are common in New Zealand and you must keep left when leaving the bridge.
  • Never drive when you are tired and take regular breaks.