Difference between driving in NZ and PH

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SETTLING IN is a series of video bites produced by Migrant News : www.migrantnews for newcomers to New Zealand.

Photo credit: Aisha Ronquillo, Photo Journalist with Filipino News NZ (www.filipinonews.nz)

What is the difference between driving in NZ and PH?

By Susan Matencio, Driving Instructor

In the ‘Settling in NZ’ series filmed by Migrant News I was asked to give an overview of the differences when driving in NZ compared to the Philippines.

SEATBELTS:The use of seatbelts in the Philippines is not really strictly enforced. On the other hand, in New Zealand you get a $150 fine for driving without one.

CHILD CAR SEATS: Car seats are required for small children in New Zealand. In the Philippines child car seats are not really required.

LEFT HAND SIDE:In New Zealand we drive on the left hand side of the road whilst in the Philippines they drive on the right side.

ROUNDABOUTS:Roundabouts are common in New Zealand where traffic lights are not deemed necessary. Indicating ahead before entering and exiting the roundabout is required for safety. In Manila, however, there are a few roundabouts, but I believe that there are no clear rules for navigating them.

CELLPHONE USAGE:Cellphone use is allowed in New Zealand when you are driving but you can only answer calls using a handsfree device for safety’s sake. Fines and demerit points are applicable if the police catch a driver using a mobile phone whilst driving. In the Philippine many still use mobile phones when driving, but recently stricter laws have come into effect.

DRINK DRIVING: Driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly monitored in New Zealand with, hefty fines and accrued demerit points if you are caught driving when you are over the limit. In the Philippines there are similar laws, but I believe that they are not very well implemented. More importantly, driving sober saves lives and this should be uppermost in our minds when taking to the roads.

LEARNING TO DRIVE:Learning to drive in New Zealand has both progression and structure. Beginning at 16 years old you may progress from acquiring a Learner Licence, to a Restricted Licence and finally to the Full Licence. The first step in the process is sitting a Theory Test before you take the Practical Driving Test. In the Philippines there are driving schools, but normally driving skills are learnt from family members.