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Stay Safe Road Safety Tips For Exploring New ZealandNew Zealand is known for its great natural beauty and one of the best ways to see the country is to hire a campervan and explore by road. For those planning to travel on New Zealands roads, here are some useful safety tips.
Drivers should be aware of New Zealand traffic laws. Motorists can legally drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months with a current drivers licence from their home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP). If the licence is not in English, drivers will need to carry an English translation by an accepted agency with them while driving.
In New Zealand, they drive on the left-hand side of the road and give way (yield) to oncoming traffic from the right. If this is different from the situation you are accustomed to in your home country, you may want to take some time to get oriented on the quieter back roads before driving in heavy traffic.
The maximum speed limit in New Zealand is 100 kilometres per hour (100km/h) in the country and 50km/h when driving in urban traffic. If you are towing a trailer or caravan, the maximum speed is 80km/h on the open road. These speed limits pertain to normal driving conditions when it is safe to travel at those speeds. During bad weather or in the presence of other hazardous conditions such as people or animals on or near the road, drivers must not exceed 50km/h.
A tourist may want to go at a slower pace than other drivers. For drivers going below the speed limit with others waiting behind them, they should move to the left side of the road when it is safe to do so.
Signs are posted warning drivers of upcoming curves, and drivers should pay attention to these warnings. All signs use standard international symbols with distances given in kilometres. In New Zealand all drivers and passengers are required to wear safety belts, and children under five must use approved child restraints.
Overseas travellers will often suffer from jet lag, so it is important for drivers to make sure they are well rested before getting behind the wheel. If necessary, drivers should schedule their driving as not to interfere with their sleep patterns. Sleepy drivers should take breaks and naps, and if they find themselves nodding off while driving they should roll the windows wide open and pull over as soon as possible. Caffeinated drinks, such as tea or coffee can help drivers stay alert.
Drivers should try to get between 8 or 9 hours of sleep a night, or more if they are still feeling fatigued while driving. Also, it is a good idea to avoid driving more than 6 to 8 hours a day. Taking a break every two hours and walking around to increase blood circulation can help improve alertness and reduce fatigue. Another good idea is for drivers not to overeat as this can induce drowsiness. If possible, share driving times with other passengers.
Of course, one should never drink or take illegal drugs while driving. The legal blood alcohol limit while driving in New Zealand is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100ml of blood. However, any amount of alcohol can act as a depressant and contribute to drowsiness while driving. So the best advice is that drivers should not drink any alcohol at all.
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Be aware on the road!