For many visitors to the islands, it is a bit difficult to figure out how to drive here. Even though I was born and raised on Maui, I lived in California for over 15 years. When I moved back over a year ago, it was difficult adjusting to the driving culture. The purpose of this post is to give Maui visitors a crash course in Maui’s cultural driving expectations.
Don’t Drive Too Fast
This isn’t the mainland. If you want to drive fast, go to Paradise Speedway. On Maui, we prefer to arrive alive. If you are in a rush to your destination, use more foresight in the future and schedule time appropriately. Here on Maui, police officers will not be impressed with drivers who feel they are justified in speeding.
Don’t Follow Other Vehicles Too Closely
With the unpredictable nature of traffic on some of Maui’s winding roads, it’s difficult to predict how people will drive. In Maui, it’s more important than most places to not follow the vehicle in front of you too closely. Many drivers will stop to see the sites. Many country roads lack pedestrian lanes, which may cause drivers to suddenly stop. Even chickens, cows or deer could require a quick stop to avoid a collision.
Honk Your Horn to Say Hello, Not to Express Anger
Here on Maui, many people say hello with their horn. A quick beep is a common salutation on the island.
When driving, if someone behind me beeps, it’s most likely a longtime friend saying hello. Furthermore if one wishes to express anger with their horn, it’s usually not appropriate. Here on Maui, we all share the same island, so if you want to show hostility towards another, it will most likely serve unfavorable results eventually. If two people on Maui have a dispute, they will most likely see each other again soon. Before losing your cool in your car, remember that you will see the person you are upset with again soon.
The Roads are Bad, So Lets Work Together
While I prefer not to negative about Hawaii, the reality is that our roads are a bit behind many other places in the world. We have stop signs when should have traffic lights. We have traffic lights where we should have roundabouts. Most places lack sidewalks or crosswalks.
Right of Way
Because of our unique road situations, people will often let people go before then, even if it goes against the ‘right of way.’ For many drivers who are new to Maui, ‘right of way’ issues can be frustrating. As I mentioned earlier, I lived in California for many years. I will admit, that in the context of California driving, one should always follow the ‘right of way’ system. However, here on Maui, certain roads never allow for people to make the turns and merges that they need to.
Thus, we have organically adjusted as a culture to a system where we try our best to help everyone get to their destination. While I don’t think it’s possible to explain how the ‘right of way’ works on Maui. The goal of this blog to make people aware of the phenomena. Don’t be too upset, when you observe it!
Mahalo for Reading
I hope you found this post helpful. If you take anything from reading this post, remember to always show aloha, both on the road and off of it. Every person you interact with has value, so treat them accordingly. Aloha!