Driving Tips For NZ Truck Rentals

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

Read about 'Driving Tips For NZ Truck Rentals' on USAVE, the place for all things car rental.

Driving in New Zealand can be an enjoyable, pretty stress-free affair if you make sure you have done your homework, understand the road rules and take care on the road. Compared to other countries NZ has a lot less traffic on the roads however our rugged landscape and rapidly changing weather can catch out the most experienced drivers. When combined with driving larger and unfamiliar vehicles such as rental trucks this can mean greater caution is needed.

At USAVE we want our truck rental customers to have a great rental experience and as safety is a big priority for us we thought we’d share some truck driving safety tips. It’s always worth bearing in mind the basics, especially if you’ve recently relocated to New Zealand and are unfamiliar with our road code or if you haven’t driven a van or truck before.

10 Tips For Driving NZ Truck Rentals

When driving larger, heavy truck rentals it is normal to be unfamiliar with the operation of the vehicle, its braking distances and maneuvering abilities. Of course, on a normal driver’s license you won’t be driving any eighteen-wheelers, but even trucks that you can hire on a class 1 license still require a different set of skills to a operating car, it is important to keep in mind the following tips.

  1. Familiarise yourself with the controls before you start moving.
  2. Clear the path that you will need to take and keep the movement around the property as simple as possible.
  3. Trucks are big and require longer to complete driving manoeuvres, so allow for extra time to change lanes, etc.
  4. Trucks are also heavier and more cumbersome so allow for longer braking distances.
  5. Reverse carefully and slowly, getting someone to help you back out if necessary.
  6. Your presence on the road is much larger than normal, so check mirrors frequently to make sure you aren’t stepping on other motorist’s toes.
  7. Be careful of narrow gaps such as bridges and power lines.
  8. Make sure the doors are secured shut.
  9. Morning and evening glare can reduce your visibility drastically, take the necessary precautions.
  10. An overheated driver is a distracted driver.

New Zealand Rental Truck Restrictions

When hiring a New Zealand rental truck, you will encounter age and licensing restrictions that you must be aware of. There are also a number of costs that are required for you to be able to hire a vehicle, designed to protect both the rental company and yourself in the event of a collision or other accident. As long as you meet these restrictions, hiring a vehicle is a simple process.

  • Age. While the age limit can vary from hire company to hire company, it is usually that all drivers must be at least 20 years old and hold a full drivers license (not a learners permit or restricted licence). An international full license is required if you are a visitor from overseas and have a licence that is not written in English.
  • Licences. While the majority of rental trucks in New Zealand are able to be driven on a Class 1 Drivers Licence (2-3 ton trucks, usually these will be listed as 10 – 20m³ capacity), some heavier trucks may require a Class 2 license. A Class 2 heavy traffic license will be required as a legal requirement.
  • Bond. A rental bond is required for all vehicle rental in NZ, for hiring a truck expect to pay a bond of around NZ$1000. This is refundable upon completion of the hire period and returning the vehicle in satisfactory condition. Cash or a signed credit card details are both acceptable methods of payment.
  • Fuel. Trucks must be returned with the same level of fuel they started with. You will usually be provided with a full tank upon hire, it is common practice to return the vehicle with a full tank – if you do not you will be charged a set fee for fuel. 
  • Booking Deposit. Most hire companies will require a deposit upon making a booking for a rental truck, the balance is then payable on collection. If you need to cancel your booking this almost certainly will not be refunded, however sometimes it can be transferred to another rental within a certain period of time.

Give Way Rules To Remember

Whether you’re a foreign visitor or a seasoned New Zealand driver, keeping up with the give way rules is  particularly important when driving a truck – larger, heavier vehicles have more propensity to cause damage, so it’s essential to be responsible.

Give Way When Turning  Right

Give Way Rule - Turning Right

The vehicle with the dotted arrow gives way when turning right

At intersections all traffic turning right must give way to vehicles coming the other way and turning left. An easy way to remember is that “the little guy goes first” – in other words, the person making the smaller turn has right of way. The rule applies at T-intersections, cross roads and driveways where both vehicles are facing each other with either the same signs or signals or no signs or signals.

Top of the ‘T’ Goes Before Me

Give Way Rule - Top of the T

The vehicle with the dotted arrow gives way when turning right

If you are coming into a T-intersection (also known as a three-way intersection) from the bottom of the T, you must give way to turning traffic at the top of the T (or the continuing road), particularly those coming from the left and turning right across your intended path. This applies to all T-intersections and public driveways (e.g. supermarkets, car parks etc).

If you’re looking for affordable truck hire in New Zealand, USAVE have a great range of truck hire vehicles available from Auckland, Palmerston North, Christchurch and Dunedin. Stay safe and aware of your presence on the road in order to be a responsible van or truck driver.

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