Excessive speed is one of the biggest killers on our roads. On average, 130 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 50km/h
The maximum speed you can travel is 70km/h
A temporary speed limit of 30km/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 100km/h.
Maximum speed 100km/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. Some vehicles have a lower maximum speed limit, such as light vehicles towing trailers.
|Vehicle type||Maximum open road speed limit|
|Heavy motor vehicles (vehicles with a gross vehicle mass* of over 3500kg) and heavy motor vehicles towing trailers||90km/h|
|Vehicles with a gross vehicle mass* of over 2000kg and are displaying school bus signs||80km/h|
|Light vehicles towing trailers||90km/h|
|Heavy vehicles constructed without springs or other forms of suspension, between its road wheels and its chassis||45 km/h|
If a driver exceeds a permanent posted speed limit by more than 40km/h, there is an automatic 28-day licence suspension.
If a driver exceeds a temporary speed limit by more than 50km/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 20km/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 you must slow down and drive at 20km/h or less until you are well past (no matter which direction you are coming from) if:
School bus signs
Note: you may also see ‘Kura’, the Māori word for school, on a bus.
Some schools display signs that are turned on before and after school and other times such as lunch time. Examples are shown below.
This sign will be displayed at the start of the school zone. If the 40 is visible and the yellow lights are flashing, the maximum speed is 40km/h until the zone ends.
This sign will be on a side road.
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
Variable speed signs are used to manage traffic congestion. You need to adjust your speed accordingly.
Variable speed signs
Last updated: 5 February 2015