Hawaii Driving – Top 10 Suggestions

Hawaii Driving – Top 10 Suggestions

I don’t ever remember seeing as many visitors in Hawaii as we have right now. As you probably know, Hawaii visitor spending rose in May to a record $1.1 billion, and the number of visitors also set a new record. With more cars on the road, it reminded me that safe driving is of paramount importance. Especially with tropical storm Flossie getting ready to hit the Hawaiian islands this week.

Whether you’re a first time visitor or a return guest, here are our best tips to ensure a safe Hawaii vacation.

1. No sudden U-turns. It’s tempting but don’t go there. I know it’s easy to get distracted by gorgeous scenery and our highways often look like country roads. That false sense of security has proved fatal for some.

2. Slow down – you move too fast. Why rush when you’re in paradise? Fines are expensive and being stopped by police deflates the Aloha you’re feeling on any Hawaii vacation. Electronic speed enforcement is wide-spread here.

3. Road shoulders are soft and deep. Be mindful when pulling off because it’s easy to get stuck. Even though I live here, I’ve both popped a tire and have had to be towed. Pot holes are also more prevalent here than on the mainland.

4. Don’t honk. With the occasional exception in Honolulu, or in a dire emergency, we typically only use car horns as a greeting. (Unfortunately, this has been changing and I’m hearing more car horns that never sounded in the past). Panic buttons on car locks aren’t popular either – especially late at night.

5. Let people in; that’s our way. Nuff said.

6. Be careful driving during rainy periods. Hawaii rain can be sudden and intense, albeit typically brief. Slick roads mean reduce speeds.

7. Avoid the commute. Why put yourself in rush hour traffic. Stay off the road between 6:00am to 8:30am and 3:30pm to 6:00pm weekdays. Spend more time on the beach.

8. Hawaii maps – route planning. Whether on your phone, tablet or elsewhere, this always saves me a lot of grief. I like to have turn by turn directions handy. If you ask for directions, we typically use landmarks and mile posts rather than highway numbers.

9. Pedestrian safety. Please watch out for pedestrians when driving. If you’re a pedestrian and not at a cross walk, that’s not good. Walk between the lines and on green lights.

10. Buckle up! Hawaii drunk driving laws and seat belt requirements are strictly enforced.

Please add your tips to ours.

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  1. Ed (3 years ago)

    “Electronic speed enforcement is wide-spread in Hawaii ”
    Are you saying that Hawaii has speed cameras now?

    I think Item 6 is funny…Traffic in Honolulu…Here in the shadow of Washington DC, we have a 12 lane super highway that circles DC and twice a day, once in each direction, it becomes a parking lot from 3pm to 7pm. All roads that feed to or from this super highway are also blocked during these times….And this is *WITH* the federal government’s staggered leave!
    I would prefer, any day traffic in Honolulu than what we have to put up with in Northern Virginia!

    • Jeff (3 years ago)

      Hi Ed.

      No speed cameras that I’m aware of. But lots of laser detection.



  2. Sherri Smith (3 years ago)

    Take da Bus!! Especially on Oahu–inexpensive, goes everywhere, no outrageous parking fees!

  3. Keoki Smith (3 years ago)

    On Big Island (Hawaii) do NOT use cell phone while ‘operating a motor vehicle’, period … $97.00 fine 1st offence, da PoPo jus’ LOVE writin’ did one! Pro hint: by county statute if you have pulled off the highway to take your call safely, they can STILL TICKET YOU if your engine is running and you are in park … you are still ‘operating’ your vehicle … true ‘Aloha spirit’, eh brah?

    • Jeff (3 years ago)

      Thanks Denise, Renee and Keoki,

      Forgot that one. Definitely.



      PS: Strangely I still see many people driving around with cell phones at their ears.

  4. Renee (3 years ago)

    Don’t forget no cell phone talking or texting!

  5. denise (3 years ago)

    aloha-good afternoon, Jeff.

    don’t forget to mention cellphone usage while driving (NOT!) on beautiful kaua’i… and the fact you need to pull over and turn the ignition OFF. see you soon, –denise