The days of rental car companies giving pamphlets to confused overseas visitors and crossing their fingers that they will cope with New Zealand's oddball right-hand rule look set to be over.

The right-hand rule, a relic of an old Melbourne tram system and cause of 2560 crashes a year, has been marked to be reversed by Transport Minister Steven Joyce.

The rule change is part of the Safer Journeys 10-year road safety strategy, released this morning by Transport Minister Steven Joyce. It also targets young drivers, drink drivers and motorcyclists.

New Zealand is the only country in the world to have the right hand rule, where a car making a big turn to the right across oncoming traffic goes before an oncoming car making a little turn to its left into the same road.

At uncontrolled T-intersections with two cars wishing to turn right, traffic on the driver's right get priority.

It means drivers have to check in three different directions, opposite and behind them, and also on the road they are entering.

"We were just talking about it at lunch. We've been asking for it to be changed for years," said Apex Car Rental operations manager Jeff Kerkhofs.

"After talking to my colleagues and the other fellow managers, we're all in favour.

"We tell overseas visitors: 'It's the one thing that's different about New Zealand'. And we hand out pamphlets."

Changing the rule would not only help overseas visitors unfamiliar with it, but also New Zealand drivers because it made traffic smoother, Mr Kerkhofs said.

"From personal driving experience I know it makes sense [the other way around] especially when there's traffic coming up behind you."

The Automobile Association also said it supported the change. There was evidence that the give-way rules were a factor in the 2560 intersection crashes, and one or two deaths, each year, it said.

It is estimated changing the rules to align with other countries would reduce intersection crashes by 7 per cent and the social cost by about $17 million a year.

It would improve pedestrian safety at intersections, where there has been an 88 per cent increase since 2000 in pedestrians being hit, many of them hit by a turning vehicle.

The rule was introduced in 1977 shadowing changes in Victoria, Australia, which made the rule to help trams on Melbourne's streets, according to the Automobile Association.

But Victoria changed back in 1993 and experienced a decline in intersection crashes, leaving New Zealand on its own.

Mr Joyce described the right-hand rule as "confusing", and needed to be put in line with the rest of the world.

Wellington's Jason Timmins, originally from England, said it took him a long time to get use to the rule when he came out for the first time; it just did not make sense.

Drivers with the right of way often found they were turning into pedestrians crossing the road, he said.

"Everyone hesitates and that's the worst thing. Are they going to going to give way or not?

"If we had one rule that intuitively made sense then I would go for that."