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Driving in New Zealand - please be cautious and courteous

Christchurch
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Driving in New Zealand - please be cautious and courteous

Since the end of November we have traveled over 3000km in both the North and South Islands. During that time we had a number of frightening experiences with tourists' driving. The most serious of these included vehicles not sticking to the left side of the road, especially around corners and my partner being almost wiped out by a car reversing out of a parking spot without looking. Luckily he was able to jump out of the way - a small child or less nimble person could have been seriously injured.

Additionally a family member collided with a campervan which drove straight through a give way sign without slowing down. Both his van and the campervan were written off, ending the tourist's holiday. Fortunately no one was seriously injured.

Also, whilst I get that tourists are keen to take in the views whilst driving, PLEASE, if you wish to travel at 60 or 70km/h on 80-100km/h roads then pull over and let the 10 or 30 cars following pass you. Kiwis will give you a quick toot as a thank you.

I would just like to ask that caution and common sense is not thrown out of the window as soon as you leave your own country. We want you to have a great and SAFE holiday here. Happy travels!

Te Anau
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for South Island, Te Anau
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11. Re: Driving in New Zealand - please be cautious and courteous

Dreamin, I think road fatalities tend to receive more prominence here, as 1 death is a greater percentage of our total population than it is in more populous countries. Our local news seems to feature road accidents every night, whereas in Australia, and probably elsewhere, it is only the more horrific crashes which are reported.

I do agree though that Kiwis are not the worlds greatest drivers, but they do at least tend to stay on the correct side of the road.

As I am the worlds safest and most courteous driver I am in an excellent position to give advice on driving :)

Oz
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12. Re: Driving in New Zealand - please be cautious and courteous

Hi,

In my experience over many trips to NZ during which we have always hired a vehicle and covered at least the return distance Christchurch to Queenstown I offer the following totally subjective observations:

New Zealand drivers are in the main more courteous and competent than their counterparts here in Australia.

Many overseas visitors to NZ drive well below the speed limit and frequently stop for photo opportunities without regards to other motorist’s safety or convenience.

Most overseas visitors who hire a motor home in NZ regard the external mirrors as convenient appendages to dry washing on rather than check behind to see how many vehicles they are holding up.

The NZ road network is in excellent condition but roads are often narrow, steep, twisty and with few overtaking lanes. In short "drivers roads".

BTW Darwin award candidates are everywhere;

abc.net.au/news/…4934030

Happy New Year,

Te Anau
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for South Island, Te Anau
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13. Re: Driving in New Zealand - please be cautious and courteous

OMG OZ, that's priceless. I guess he didn't realize road trains take about a kilometer to stop.

Similar accident here in the past week. Someone put their brain out of gear and stopped in the middle of the Falls Creek bridge (one way) to take a photo, 2 other vehicles slammed into him, despite the fact that the approaches have reasonable visibility.

No prizes for guessing the nationality of the drivers.

14. Re: Driving in New Zealand - please be cautious and courteous

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Te Anau
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for South Island, Te Anau
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15. Re: Driving in New Zealand - please be cautious and courteous

Not quite GT, because locals considerably outnumber tourists, so you would expect locals to figure more prominently in the road incident statistics. In most areas this is the case. but in "tourist" areas the number of incidents involving tourists vastly outnumber those involving locals.

In the Fiordland area this week there have been a number of accidents involving rental vehicles, and none involving privately owned vehicles. One Chinese visitor had his car impounded, for reckless and dangerous driving ,and was sent on his way by coach.

We do have a problem with drink driving, however even this is improving, thanks to extensive advertising, and increased police presence ie booze buses. Whether it is worse here than elsewhere I have no idea, but lower rates of detection do not mean lower rates of offending, only that police are applying their efforts elsewhere.

I am in no doubt that the majority of visitors drive safely and sensibly, and return home without causing problems to themselves, or others, but unfortunately the small percentage who are incompetent and / or irresponsible are the ones which are noticed, and all visitors get lumped into the same barrel. Unfortunate, but that's how it is.

Edited: 02 January 2014, 00:02
Nelson-Tasman...
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16. Re: Driving in New Zealand - please be cautious and courteous

Global texas. I refer to your quote However, in NZ it would appear that Kiwis kill themselves or are arrested for drink driving on a regular basis.

I assure you I am a kiwi and have never been drunk. Never driven drunk. And never been arrested on a regular basis. Neither have any of my friends or family or workmates. However, if you hang out with the wrong crowd anywhere in the world you will encounter the wrong behaviours.

Feilding, New...
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17. Re: Driving in New Zealand - please be cautious and courteous

Sadly another family, of Indian descent according to the media, involved in an accident on the Napier/Taupo road this morning. Eight people were injured in this accident, including a six month old baby. Some family members were Hawkes Bay residents and they had been to the airport to collect other family. There could be several reasons for this accident. It may have been best to overnight in Auckland and enjoy a good night of catching up and sleeping. before driving. We drove a campervan over the same road the day before and only experienced one case of bad driving...overtaking without any visibility and on a yellow line. Now before anyone thinks we were holding up traffic...no we pull over at regular intervals when it is safe to do so.

New Zealand
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for South Island
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18. Re: Driving in New Zealand - please be cautious and courteous

Best wishes to the latest accident victims. Three are in critical condition - including the six month old baby. It is thought the driver fell asleep at the wheel. Looking at the news tonight it is a wonder anyone survived.

Tired drivers make mistakes. Please take care on our roads.

Queenstown, New...
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19. Re: Driving in New Zealand - please be cautious and courteous

I agree with GT NZ drivers are almost as arrogant at the Israel's

Tail gating is a pass time of some Kiwi drivers, you are best to pull over and let the idiot pass.

New Zealand
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20. Re: Driving in New Zealand - please be cautious and courteous

The Napier/Taupo road is notorious for accidents, and a fair number of those who go over the edge are locals. Having family who live in the Hawkes Bay, I think you were truly lucky to experience only one instance of bad driving, Val. I do not like driving there at all, as there are some appalling drivers.

On the subject of the original post, it does seem that many of the accidents involving tourists stem from a failure to keep left. I wonder if this is due to the drivers being tired due to long days of driving, leading to inattention. Some itineraries I've seen posted here have been over-ambitious, so goodness knows what people actually do out there.

I do think we need to look at ourselves also. As a New Zealander who has lived overseas a fair bit, I can recognise that there are some nasty driving habits prevalent here. GlobalTraveller has already mentioned the tail-gating. Another one is no indicating, or indicating too late.

The road toll certainly is lower this year, probably helped by more vigorous policing of speeding and drink driving, but it would be even better if no people died on our roads.