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Starting on Sunday, it's the red car that has to yield on New Zealand's roads. (New Zealand Transport Agency)

Chaos Feared When New Zealand Changes Road Rules Sunday

Mar 23, 2012

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"Road-Rule Chaos Looms For NZ Drivers," The New Zealand Herald warns.

It seems, as The Associated Press puts it, that "New Zealand is finally yielding to the rest of the world when it comes to its unique set of road rules, after decades of confounding drivers from overseas."

But there's great concern that there will be some problems as everyone gets adjusted after the switch happens at 5 a.m. (local time) on Sunday.

Here's how the AP explains the current "give-way" rule:

"For nearly 20 years, New Zealand has been the only place on Earth to force vehicles hugging a turn at an intersection to yield to traffic making a wider arc across the intersection. New Zealanders drive on the left, but in the U.S. it would be like making right-turning traffic yield to left-turning traffic [coming from the opposite direction]."

But now, even though authorities have mounted a campaign to teach drivers that the rules are going to change, "many motorists are still confused about who should yield to whom," the Herald says. It reports that "one in 10 people who have taken a popular online test on our new give-way rules answered at least one question wrong."

For all our friends in New Zealand, or those who may be visiting there soon, there are two videos from the nation's Transport Agency explaining the new procedures. Check them out. And good luck.

(H/T to NPR's Kathy Rushlow.)

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