Excessive speed is one of the biggest killers on our roads. On average, 170 people die every year in New Zealand in speed-related crashes.
Remember, the faster you go, the more likely you are to be killed or seriously injured if you crash.
You can drive at any speed under or equal to the limit, provided:
If you are travelling slower than the speed limit and there are vehicles following you, you must:
Don’t speed up on straight stretches of road to prevent following vehicles from passing you.
A speed limit is the maximum legal speed that you can travel on the road under good conditions.
Signs showing the speed limit are displayed beside the road. These signs usually have a red border, which means that the sign is compulsory.
You may drive slower than the speed limit shown, but you must be considerate towards any vehicles behind you.
You must drive slower than the limit if:
Some examples of speed signs are shown below.
The maximum speed you can travel is 50 km/h
The maximum speed you can travel is 70 km/h
A temporary speed limit of 30 km/h applies. Temporary speed-limit signs are usually put up when there is work being done on or near the road
Speed limit changes take effect at the sign post.
Before reaching the speed-limit sign make sure you:
The signs below mean that the maximum speed that you can travel at is 100 km/h.
Maximum speed 100 km/h
The vehicles listed in the table below have a lower maximum speed limit.
When following other vehicles, remember that some vehicles have lower speed limits and you may have to adjust your speed.
|Vehicle type||Maximum open road speed limit|
|Heavy motor vehicles (vehicles with a gross vehicle mass* of over 3500 kg) and heavy motor vehicles towing trailers||90 km/h|
|Vehicles with a gross vehicle mass* of over 2000 kg and are displaying school bus signs||80 km/h|
|Light vehicles towing trailers||90 km/h|
|Motorcycles, when ridden by riders who have a learner licence||70 km/h|
|Special-type heavy motor vehicles without springs or other effective suspension systems, with pneumatic tyres||45 km/h|
The sign below means that you can drive at the open road speed limit, provided it is safe to do so. However, you must not exceed 50 km/h if conditions are hazardous because:
Limited speed zone
If a driver exceeds a permanent posted speed limit by more than 40 km/h, there is an automatic 28-day licence suspension.
If a driver exceeds a temporary speed limit by more than 50 km/h, there is an automatic 28-day licence suspension.
The signs below mean that you are coming up to a crash site. Slow down and drive at 20 km/h or less until you have passed the crash site.
The signs below will be displayed on school buses. If a school bus has stopped to let children on or off, you must slow down and drive at 20 km/h or less until you are well past the bus, no matter what direction you are coming from.
School bus signs
Note: you may also see ‘Kura’, the Māori word for school, on a bus.
The signs below warn you that you are coming up to a tight curve or bend in the road. The number recommends a safe and comfortable speed to drive at around the curve – in this example the recommended speed is 35 km/h. The arrows show which direction the curve goes.
Curve warning signs