Kiwis are abysmal drivers. Sometimes it feels as if I am driving in a third world country. Indicators appear to be optional extras that are only invoked when a major maneuver (i.e. a U-turn) is required. Signaling at roundabouts is terrible. The government’s safety mantra to “Keep Left” has resulted in a nation of drivers that hug the shoulder so closely that they spend most of their time sweeping cyclists out of the way. There is a chronic (genetic?) inability to drive between the nice set of white lines that the highways department have placed on the road. They either drive with their car half over the shoulder line, or constantly drift back and forth across the centre line. Slowing down at corners so they can safely be negotiated is avoided and all corners, or changes in direction, are clipped.
My advice to visitors to New Zealand is to keep a good car’s length (or two) between yourself and the vehicle in front if you are driving in town. Keep a good 120 metres if you are driving on the highway.
Beware, however, that if you have a Kiwi driving behind you on the highway, you might find that they feel obliged to overtake you (usually on a dangerous bend) and eat into your precious 120m safety zone in front of your car. Just sigh deeply, ease up on the accelerator, and let that 120m gap open up again. It’s the safest thing you can do.
I have been driving this way for the past 3 years in NZ. When my sighing gets too deep I’ll know it’s time to move on.