Driving on the “Wrong” Side of the Road

We have returned from being gone for over 3 months. In January we were in Tucson Arizona and in February and March we were in New Zealand. Most of our trip is on our blog arpsite.com.But some of the things we experienced I am posting here now that we are back in Cleveland.

In about the fourth week of our journey in New Zealand, there was a much publicized crash where a little New Zealand girl was killed. The drivers at fault were Chinese tourists. The media chimed in with reports that only 6% of the fatalities were caused by foreigners and most of them were Aussies who drive on the same side of the road as Kiwis. This statistic didn’t seem to satisfy people.
Citizens commented that many tourists get off a plane jet legged. They immediately rent a car and take to the road. Rental companies don’t give any instructions about traffic tips and safety. There are no tests of competency and no place to practice. Some of these citizens got so worked up they have been known to grab the keys of rental car users.

Some rental cars are easy to spot

Some rental cars are easy to spot

These reports made Dave and me sit up and listen. Dave had been driving in this country for a month at this time and I must say it was an adjustment. Both of us were on high alert when we took out the car. We picked up our rental on a Sunday, drove around Auckland for about an hour, then took to the Motorway toward Cormandal Peninsula. It was a hair raising drive because we went up over a mountain range and ventured through small towns with lots of round abouts. Whew!
At first we relied heavily on our Garmin for navigation. By the end of the third or fourth week we were a bit more confident. But, in the meantime, we had moved from big population and tourist destinations to less traveled roads on the south island.
Driving on the “wrong” side got easier, but both of us still wanted to get in on the wrong side and, even on our last day, Dave used the wiper instead of the turn signal. We came to call this the “pre signal.”Driving

We were outrageously happy that we had no mishaps of any kind on our trip. We felt, with the climate towards tourist drivers being hostile, we might not have been forgiven. But driving on our own and having the freedom to go to remote places was by far the best way to see what we wanted to see.
We loved sharing our driving stories along the way. People who are from United Kingdom countries and colonies got a good chuckle from us. Of all the experiences we’ve had, this is the one that they looked forward to talking about. Kiwis, what can I say? You have a twisted sense of humor.