The Aloha spirit is everywhere in Hawaii, even on the busy roads. When you drive your rental car on your Hawaii vacation, you should be prepared to drive with Aloha. There’s a phrase that goes, “To receive Aloha, you must give Aloha.” So, I want to share my driving tips to help you blend in with the locals and give your Aloha.
1. Allow Merging
In some cities on the Mainland, you must drive very aggressively to get to where you’re going. In Hawaii, it would be rare to encounter the driver with that dog eat dog mentality. You’ll especially notice the Aloha spirit where traffic merges. It’s all quite civil really with everyone making space for merging cars.
2. Anticipate Merging
Since merging is allowed more freely in Hawaii, local drivers have come to expect that they’ll be let into the lanes of traffic. Be alert that someone may pop their car right in front of you when that situation wouldn’t happen on the Mainland. Now the locals aren’t pushy about it, it’s just what normally encounter. On our first visit to Kauai, Andy and I noticed that when a car pulled up to an intersection from a smaller road to a more traveled highway, if the driver saw any gap no matter how small they’d pull onto the road. We termed this ‘Kauai-style’ driving and got a chuckle using this term every time we saw it happen. I’ve even heard stories of people literally stopping on the main highway to let the person from the intersecting smaller road on to the highway. Now that’s Aloha!
3. Use Your Shaka
If someone allows you to merge, move into their lane on a crowded road, or other nice driving gesture, give them a shaka by waving with your thumb and pinkie extended while all other fingers are closed. Flashing a shaka is a local way to say thank you. See this post to learn more about the shaka in Hawaii.
4. Pull Over To Allow Locals Past You
I know the scenery in Hawaii is so beautiful and can be distracting, but please glance back in your rearview mirror occasionally to see if you have a line of cars behind you. Most likely, you’ll be driving slower on the roads because they are new to you and you’re soaking in the sights. So, don’t force the locals to drive as slow as you are. They may be in a rush to get to an appointment, school, or to work whereas you are on a joy drive. Remember that you are visiting their island.
5. Lay Off the Horn
Blowing the horn at home might be a regular part of your driving routine, but that’s not the case in Hawaii. One of my friends who lives in Laie told me that you don’t honk the horn in Hawaii unless you are in an emergency.
So, these are some of the tips we’ve used to drive with Aloha in Hawaii. What other tips would you add? Do you have an interesting driving story from your visits to Hawaii? Please share your thoughts in the comments.