At long last a driving information site has launched in New Zealand, aimed specifically at tourists.
Drivesafe.org.nz is a tentative initiative to reduce the horrendous accident and fatality rates suffered by foreign tourists in New Zealand, but pulls its punches. The site should be read in conjunction with travel warnings that some governments are making about driving in the country.
For instance, Britain’s advice may be found here…British Government Updates its Travel Advice for New Zealand to Include Terrorism and Road Accidents:
While road conditions are generally good in New Zealand, it takes a while to get used to local driving conditions. Even the main highways can be narrow, winding and hilly.
In 2012 there were 308 road deaths in New Zealand (source: DfT). This equates to 7.1 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2012.
Accident victims do not have a legal right to sue a third party in the event of an accident in New Zealand. Instead the Accident Compensation Commission (ACC) helps pay for your care if you are injured as the result of an accident. However, the ACC only covers the cost of treatment in New Zealand and delayed travel or loss of income in a third country is not covered. You should make sure you have travel and accident insurance.
Compare Britain’s advice to that which Drivesafe.org.nz gives it readers (only in English, “Chinese” and German)
Driving in New Zealand can be very different to driving at home.
We drive on the left-hand side here, some of our roads are narrow, windy and have loose gravel… and it’s not unusual to see sheep or cattle on roads in rural areas. You need to give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, and to understand New Zealand road rules and signs.
Even if you have driven in other countries, it’s important to understand our rules for driving in New Zealand before you get behind the wheel here. We’ve put together the key things to consider when planning your trip and as you make your journey around the country. We’ve also suggested some great New Zealand driving routes to help with your planning…
Drivesafe goes on to give links to recommended driving routes and links to the NZ road code, but stops short of telling its readers that insurance is not compulsory on NZ roads, neither are inured parties able to sue for compensation should the worst happen. Nor does it give any statistical information about the high number of accidents involving overseas drivers.
If you’re going to use the website we recommend that you also take a look at the NZ Ministry of Transport’s website Accident Black Spots, the document may be found here http://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/Import/Documents/Crash-Blackspots.pdf.
The black spots are broken into regions, for instance the 29 worst locations in Waikato are listed, as are the 20 in Canterbury. As you will see, the overwhelming majority occur at intersections (which probably is a result of the poor design, visibility and layout of junctions) this is something that is omitted from the Drivesafe.org.nz website, as are the appalling driving standards of many Kiwi motorists.
KiwiRAP Risk Tables
Another useful source of information are the KiwiRAP Risk Tables, the personal risk for some of the regions are very high. For instance, 99% of the length of Gisborne and Hawkes Bay’s roads, 93% of Otago and Southland’s, and 73% of Northland and Auckland’s roads fall into the personal medium to high risk categories.
You may also find interesting
If you’re planning on a short road trip or holiday to the Northland region here’s something that may help you plan your route. The Northern Advocate has published a list of the regions worst roads, identified in an AA “KiwiRap” survey (we mentioned the report here if you want to read more about it)…
No roads in New Zealand achieved 5 stars in the KiwiRap survey and only 4% were awarded 4 stars. 39% were judged as 2 stars meaning they had major deficiencies such as poor alignment and roadside conditions.
Roads for which the entire length of highway was rated at the lowest safety rating of two stars included SH24 and SH39 in the Waikato, SH17 in Auckland, SH58 in Wellington, SH62 in Marlborough, SH71 in Canterbury, SH8B and SH88 in Otago, SH98 in Southland and SH67A on the West Coast.
In October of 2009 we blogged about some of the country’s blackspots, showing Google’s street views, so that drivers unfamiliar with NZ roads could learn to identify the hazards and take extra care. You can find it HERE, or HERE
“First commendations to this site for telling the truth about NZ.
Since coming to NZ on holiday about a week and a half ago, I must say I am shocked by things I’ve found.
Since driving around for about 10 days, I’ve been abused about 5 times, by angry NZ drivers, this is while driving around hills and cliffs, in the rain. Given that in Australia I am lucky to be honked at every five years either (a) my driving has suddenly deteriorated in NZ or (b) New Zealanders are terrible drivers. I’ve going with the second option.
The sheer aggressiveness of the drivers here has to be seen to be believed. They seem to think that its your duty to throw yourself off a cliff so they can get there 2 minutes early.
I have also been amazed at how unhelpful people are to tourists, and how utterly unwilling/unknowing they are about opening times and giving simple help.
Within our first hour of driving into Auckland, we were honked at twice, and sworn at by a man with no teeth (a common occurrence here) for parking in the ‘wrong’ spot.
The prices are very high, and there are a lot of rip offs. Nobody seems to do dental.
I can’t believe how utterly aggressive and unhelpful to tourists NZ people are. Thank god we dont live here permanently, and we’ve got our return flight booked. Tourists, you have been warned. Dont get pulled in by the saturation advertising in Australia.”
This is what a few of NZ’s more infamous and unforgiving black spots look like. They can take both visitors and local residents by surprise (Google Street Views)…
Goose Bay, Canterbury. Notorious for truck accidents -as many as 20 truck crashes happen here every year.
Our regular readers will know that we often write about New Zealand’s appalling road death toll and of the people who are killed on the roads, especially tourists and other visitors.
A while ago we blogged about the tragic death of Stephan Stoermer, one of many cyclists killed every year in New Zealand. Stephan, like many others, had cycled safely in many different countries without incident but met his death in New Zealand.