Always keep to the left-hand side of the road when driving in New Zealand.

Sounds simple doesn’t it. Then why do so many of our overseas tourists get it wrong?

New Zealanders are often staggered by the number of overseas tourists that come to grief on local roads and some even advocate that they should be put through a driving course before they set off in a camper van or rental car to roam our roads.

That might help some people, but it’s not that simple.

People who have driven on the right side of the road all their lives face an unfortunate and all too fatal attraction when they come to New Zealand – habit.

Sound driving habits can be both a good and a bad thing but, when it comes to moving outside your usual place of residence, what keeps you alive in the United States can kill you in New Zealand – and vice versa of course.

The problem is we become wired to do certain things and over a period we become hard wired with a habit that’s very hard to temporarily break when on holiday.

Think about what happens when you drive up to a simple T intersection.

In New Zealand, since childhood as pedestrians, we have been taught to first look right. The rule was: Look right, left and right again. Why? Because, in a left-hand drive world, the immediate danger is coming at you from your right.

According to researchers about 40 per cent of what we do daily is the result of habit. This applies to what we eat, simple acts like brushing our teeth but also to driving.

Download NZ road rule brochure
If you want to know more about New Zealand’s road safety regulations then download this brochure