The Highway Code for use in New Zealand – Revised and abridged version.
This Highway Code is used and adhered to by all North Island road users. Please take all points into serious consideration. The writer does not assume any responsibility for actions or indeed non-actions taken by people who have read this version of the NZHC ™ and claims will be refuted for detrimental reliance on any information provided or expressed and so on and so on and so forth.
[If in doubt, see Miss N. Farmer. ]
1. Spatial awareness is not required when driving.
This relates to urban, suburban and miles-away-from-any-sort-of-urban driving area. Bumping, scraping, and full on crashing is perfectly acceptable when parking or indeed just driving. Likewise, overtaking on cliff edges with a slice of plastic cheese worth of space between you and the overtakee is also absolutely fine. Think of it as gaining ‘lad’ points. The more dangerous the terrain, the better.
2. When in doubt, pull out.
If you are waiting at a left- or right-hand turn for more than 5 seconds (that’s ‘one-elephant-two-elephant…’) just go. Traffic or no traffic. Don’t worry about the other cars on the road, they are there to work around you.
3. Highway can mean anything.
The Kiwi Highway is a self-confessed misnomer. Or, as it is known bureaucratically, an umbrella term. It is known to include: motorways, dual carriageways, single carriageways, 0.5 carriageways, passing lanes, gravel tracks, dirt tracks, mountain tracks, single-lane bridges, rickety Monty Python bridges, hobbit passing lanes, vomit-inducing bends and the Bridge of Death.
4. Do not give way on bridges.
When approaching a one lane bridge i.e. 94.6% of all road bridges, give way signs are purely decorative. Giving way is neither expected nor carried out, so don’t even bother. If crossing a one-lane bridge is akin to playing a Spartan game of chicken blindfolded on the M25, you’re doing well.
5.1 Lines on the side of the road are redundant.
If there is a hard shoulder, or indeed any sort of tarmac-ed surface on the roadside, use it. And by use it, we mean drive on it. The white lines are only there to help possums in the dark.
5.2 Lines in the middle of the road are redundant.
Driving on the correct side of the road is only for pansies, learners and German camper-vans. Use up as much road space as you possibly can. This rule must be adhered to when negotiating the 179 degree turns and hairpin corners of the mountain roads.
6.1 Cars must conform to make and model regulations.
Cars must be at least 10 years old. The more battered the better.
6.2 Cars must conform to colour regulations
The following colours are acceptable: black, white, browny black, browny white, brown, blacky white, whitey brown, whitey black, any combination of the above.
7. Manners are not to be used on roads.
They only confuse. Which could lead to road accidents. So manners are a no-no. Don’t let anyone out, or say thank you, or even acknowledge other road users, and there is a compulsory minimum middle finger use of 3 times per journey.
8. Speed limit signs on corners are for guideline purposes only.
When you see a sign telling you to take a corner at 25 kph rather than your current speed of 100 kph, don’t feel that it is necessary to adhere to it. Think of it like a game of Mario Kart – the faster you go, the more likely you are to get one of those multi-coloured floating prize box things. Go on, you know you want to.
9. Indicating a sign of weakness.
It’s far more interesting trying to guess which way a car is going. Especially on double roundabouts. For true man points, smash all indicators.
10. Expect the unexpected.. of the bovine variety.
This is far more entertaining than the odd suicidal squirrel. Just make sure you brake in time.
Copyright 2012. From a sofa and some very cold feet in Whitianga.