New Zealand's little-known driving rules you may be breaking

Tackling New Zealand's arcane road rules can be difficult at the best of times.

Watching people struggle with the roundabout system then decide to just have a go and drive through without indicating can be frustrating.

But failing to obey some of the lesser known road rules can get you in big trouble. Punishments can include large fines and demerit points.

Here are some of the Kiwi road laws you might be accidentally breaking.

Playing your music too loud


According to the NZTA, it's illegal to drive a vehicle that "makes a lot of noise" - including the car stereo.

Loud music is more than just irritating to others, it can prevent you hearing emergency sirens and railway level crossing warning bells.

And research shows it might be slowing down cognitive function and having a detrimental effect on your driving.

Psychologist and mindfulness expert Tahnee Schulz says it's having more of an effect than we might think.

"The brain can only focus on five to nine pieces of information at any second," she told Newshub in November.

"In the hustle and bustle of modern life, where we're constantly being overstimulated by both natural and man-made sounds, it's more important than ever for us to be aware of the epidemic of noise pollution and the effects that it can have on us physically and mentally."

Using the horn


Bad news for people stuck in Auckland's growing traffic jams - using the horn could get you into trouble.

"The horn should only be used as a reasonable traffic warning. It should not make an unnecessary or unreasonably loud, harsh or shrill noise," the NZTA states.

Driving with noisy children


"Anything that takes a driver's attention away from the road can be a potential hazard," the NZTA warns.

This doesn't just include the obvious things like cellphones. Daydreaming, noisy children and looking at scenery could all distract you - and lead to a crash.

Research shows if you drive home from work there's a 90 percent chance you were daydreaming most of the way - and it leads to increased crashes.

University of Waikato transport researcher Bridget Burdett says the study tapped in to drivers' thoughts.

"I sat in the car and asked what they were thinking about every few minutes. We found that drivers aren't thinking about driving close to 90 percent of the time when they're on a familiar trip like the daily commute."

Driving too slowly


Driving below the speed limit isn't just annoying for other drivers, it's illegal and could cost you up to $150 and 35 demerit points.

According to the road code, blocking another vehicle could see you hit with a fine of up to $150.

"Pull over as soon as it is safe to let following vehicles pass," the code warns.

"Don't speed up on straight stretches of road to prevent following vehicles from passing you."

Sitting in the driver's seat drunk


Police have prosecuted people for sitting in the driver's seat drunk.

One person was found sleeping in the car with the headlights on and keys in the ignition. He blew 1,121 mcg and was convicted for drinkdriving.

The High Court upheld his conviction, saying that an inference could be drawn that the man had been driving drunk.


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