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Tourist Driving Dilemma

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Tourist Driving Dilemma

Many of the regulars here on the forum caution that driving in NZ can be considerably different to driving in your home country. We are not the only ones concerned with the number of serious tourist accidents...

odt.co.nz/news/queenstown-lakes/250502/no-ea…

Please plan wisely and travel safe :)

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Greymouth, New...
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11. Re: Tourist Driving Dilemma

Slightly off topic, nut i have just been to a meeting hosted by New Zealand Transport Agency with regard to updating about Haast Pass.

To date the road has been ' closed' for a total pf 2 days in the last two weeks. while there will be ongoing short delays, generaly never exceeding 20 min at a time. the road willl continue to be closed at night time.

A suggestion has been made that they may open from somewhere around 11am and then close at around 3 pm each day untill the slip is fully stabalised. While this is an option information will be available at …govt.nz/traffic/…south-island.html or dial 0800 444449

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12. Re: Tourist Driving Dilemma

How are things on the coast Coaster?

I would imagine the closures and the uncertainty will affect visitor numbers - never a good thing in the tourist trade.

Greymouth, New...
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13. Re: Tourist Driving Dilemma

Tourism West Coast and the Hokitika Business association were both very vocal at the meeting emphsising the importance of offering route security through the Haast Pass. further meetings are scheduled for franz joseph, haast and at makarora thurs and friday. tourist numbers to the region have plumeted particularily with tour coaches. concern is held by NZTA that there are no further fatalities involving anyone, tourists or workers. they assured us that they should be over the worst of it and with in the next few weeks a clearer picture will appear as to time tables to keep the road open.

Christchurch, New...
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14. Re: Tourist Driving Dilemma

I was very surprised when we hired a car in Namibia and were given no information about their road rules, give way rules, etc. It was uncomfortable driving up to an intersection and not knowing if we had right of way or not. I suspect it is no better when tourists pick up a rental vehicle here in NZ? No wonder there are problems.

Christchurch, New...
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15. Re: Tourist Driving Dilemma

Not so Sam, most responsible rental car companies in NZ go to great lengths to supply tourists with road rules and local driving customs.

Our company provide a link in the customers confirmation to the NZTA site"whats different about driving in New Zealand", we have details of unfamiliar road rules on the back of the document folder we give customers and we have supplementary info sheets available.

Edited: 18 October 2013, 08:43
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16. Re: Tourist Driving Dilemma

Please always wear your seat belt - it is the law that every person, young and old, front seat, middle seats, rear seats, wear a seatbelt. All children aged 7 years and younger must use an approved baby or booster seat.

And they save lives... Coroner Wallace Bain has released his findings into the deaths of three Boston University students in the crash near Taupo on May 12, last year.

Evidence from Constable Mitchell-Ellis from the Taupo crash team was that the three could have survived if they had been wearing seatbelts.

www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm…

Prague, Czech...
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17. Re: Tourist Driving Dilemma

I also checked the possibility to visit NZ without travel agency. We often rent a car on holiday however this is always in places with similar road rules. For example, it is not problem for us to drive in Germany, France or Spain as they drive in the same direction.

However, NZ, as I know uses the opposite direction - we have steering wheel on the left side in most of Europe while UK cars have in on the right side.

I read articles about people who had to get used to right-hand drive and it took more than fwe months... I would never risk this for holiday...

Kona
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18. Re: Tourist Driving Dilemma

And just because you've followed the official driving laws and rules, that doesn't mean you won't cause offense based on local customs.

I was once driving south toward Whanganui and had been behind the same slow car, going about 15 miles less than the speed limit on a clear, dry day. The road was winding, so I just chilled and went that speed. But then the road straightened out, and after a while I decided to pass. The passing rules in NZ are looser than those here in Hawaii - in NZ, it's required that you be able to see that the road is clear for 100 meters ahead after you complete the pass. Since I could see at least a quarter mile ahead, I went ahead and safely completed the pass. Just as I was pulling back into my proper lane, a car came around the bend ahead - as I said, at least a quarter mile, or around 400 meters (the rule in Hawaii is 300 meters).

That car whipped around after passing by me, and followed me all the way - maybe 10 miles - into Whanganui. I was driving to a friend's house there, but noticed that the car was following my every move. I made some random turns and they kept following me. I pulled over and they pulled over behind me. I was getting seriously freaked out when I saw a police car and frantically motioned the police car for help. They responded, and pulled over.

Turns out the two creepy men in the car had called the police, claiming that I had almost caused a crash! They just kept repeating that "we don't drive like that HERE" . . . and I guess it became clear to the police eventually that I hadn't done anything wrong; that these guys were just local vigilantes out to harass visitors that weren't driving the way they liked. The police apologized, warned me to keep driving safely, and let me go.

Still . . . if I had know that even driving legally, following the rules, might give that much offense to a local resident, I probably would have just sucked it up and driven slowly behind that car all the way into town . . .

Navarre, Florida
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19. Re: Tourist Driving Dilemma

No doubt the events of the article are tragic. We recently returned home from a trip to Sydney, AU where we did not drive but took the various city transports available to us. That said, we are looking to come to New Zealand in the next year or so and would like to tour in a camper van. As you might guess from my posting name, we travel regularly in a US styled RV which is larger than the camper vans I have been reviewing. Though experienced in such vehicles I see the great equalizer being most driving movements I do fairly automatically right now will be opposite in NZ. Recently I took a driver's course on line that was interactive with situations, etc. I am wondering if there is such a tool available in NZ for me to educate myself prior to getting the keys of a camper van? If not, I welcome suggestions that will keep us and you safe when we meet on the road. Thank you in advance.

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20. Re: Tourist Driving Dilemma

Welcome to the forum RVT :)

I've spent today at the Nelson Motorhome Show, having a look at some of the large motorhomes similar to what you find in the US.

For NZ driving, just make sure you don't drive on day 1 straight off the plane... and get plenty of sleep each night so you are a well rested driver. When driving tired most follow their instincts - which means a Kiwi sees trouble ahead they steer to the left. An American seems trouble ahead they steer right - which results in a head-on collision. There have been some horrific accidents.

as for driver ed, Queenstown airport has this odt.co.nz/news/…kiosk-gives-tips-driving

Safe travels :)