Keep Safe While Driving in Niue
Road tripping around Niue’s 64km (40-mile) circular road around the island, stopping by sea tracks, snorkelling spots and historical points of interest, is an amazing way to explore the island. However, like driving in any new country, Niue comes with a few hazards that you might not be used to. Before hitting the road, check out our safety tips for driving in Niue!
1. Drive on the Left Side of the Road
In Niue, traffic moves on the left side of the road. This will be familiar for visitors coming from New Zealand and Australia. However, if you come from a country where you usually drive on the right side of the road, you’ll need to be extra mindful when driving to not fall into your usual habits. Remind yourself that you need to drive on the left side of the road every time you get in the car and every time you pull out of a junction – the times when people most slip up! For more road rules, see the 10 Road Rules for Niue You Need to Know.
2. Watch Out for Dogs and Chickens on the Road
Dogs and chickens roam Niue’s roads like it’s nobody’s business. Slow down when you see dogs or chickens crossing the road. If you see a dog crouching beside the road, slow down as they have been known to jump out at cars. For more driving safety advice, see Is it Safe to Drive Around Niue?
3. Don’t Park Under Coconut Trees
While finding a nice shady spot to park makes getting back into your car more comfortable, try to avoid parking under coconut trees. Your car rental company will not be happy if you return the car with a huge dent or broken windscreen from a fallen coconut!
4. Mind the Potholes, Especially in the Sun and After Rain
There’s no denying it. Niue has a lot of potholes. You’ll need to drive slowly to avoid damaging your car, as well as to stay in control. Extra care will need to be taken during the bright morning and afternoon sun when the sunlight can make it hard to see (always have sunglasses with you when you drive)! On the flip side, heavy rain can also fill Niue’s potholes, which makes it hard to judge how deep they are, so take it easy after the rain. Worried about the difficulty of driving in Niue? See Is it Easy to Drive in Niue? for more information.
5. Stick to the Speed Limits
There are two speed limits to stick to in Niue. In villages, the speed limit is 40km/h, which will be indicated by “40” road signs. On the open road, i.e. outside of villages, the speed limit is 60 km/h. Some areas of the island may say a different speed limit if a lower speed limit applies.
6. Wear Safety Belts
There is no law in Niue to enforce wearing seatbelts. However, like driving anywhere in the world, it’s highly recommended to wear your seatbelt. This is for your safety and the safety of others in the car with you.
7. Don’t Drink and Drive
As alcohol obscures your senses, it’s always a good rule of thumb to not drink and drive. The Niue blood alcohol limit is 35mcg breath and 70mcg blood.
8. Helmets are Compulsory for Motorbikes
Those riding motorcycles in Niue must wear a helmet! It is against to law to ride a motorbike in Niue and not wear a helmet. Although it’s not compulsory to wear a helmet while cycling, it’s highly recommended for obvious safety reasons. Most cycle and motorcycle rentals will have helmets for rent too. Learn more about motorcycles in Niue in The Guide to Renting a Motorbike in Niue.
9. Be Careful Where You Park
We’ve already talked about not parking under coconut trees. To add to that list, it’s forbidden to park on the yellow lines on the main road of Alofi, as well as at the Parliament building car park. For your safety, we also recommend checking grass verges before parking on them, as some longer grass covers any dips and drops on the surface.
10. Take Extra Care on Dirt Roads
Niue has around 123km (76 miles) of paved roads that any rental car can use with ease (except for minding the potholes, as already discussed). However, there are a limited number of dirt roads or bush roads that need to be driven with extra care. Generally, they are best avoided after heavy rain. Roads that are not suitable for driving in rental cars are clearly stated on the Niue maps available in the Visitor Information Centre. For more driving tips, see How to Drive in Niue.