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Mainland Driving Tips for New Residents

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Due to the distance between Hawaii and the mainland, driving culture can be different. When visiting the land of perpetual righteousness, there is going to be different driving etiquette than what you are typically used to.

Driving As Slow As Possible

When jumping on the highway, you will quickly take note that most Hawaiian residents drive slower than usual. The top speed of their main highways is typically 55 mph. If you’re thinking of driving 75+, then think again. This may or may not have to do with the number of retirees coming to the sunny island.

Mainland Hawaii Traffic Can Be Difficult

With multiple cities sprawling across the mother island, traffic can be daunting. Imagine a metropolitan area on an island. If you asked a Hawaiian resident, they will tell you that traffic is the worst part of driving. If you can compare Honolulu’s population’s density to other cities, you will find that it is, indeed, packed. There are over a million people living in the city, and a million people in any closed area is still a lot of people. It’s a small island with a lot of residents. If any lane closes down, then traffic certainly backed up.

Don’t Be Rude

It’s a courtesy anywhere you go to be polite when you drive. Let the person into the lane, wave them in and give them a thumbs up. This keeps your surrounding driving space positive and ensures everyone around you is on the same page. Always let people in, use your blinker and be careful when using your horn. Using your horn should be used in emergency situations or to friendly let the person in front of you know that the light is now green.

Take It Easy on the Mainland

As someone who moved from New Hampshire (where there is no traffic) to Los Angeles, the most important tip for driving is to take it easy. There’s no reason to be going fast (there’s also no place to drive fast unless you leave the city). All you’re doing is increasing the accident rate. Hawaii is known for its “laidback” lifestyle so being in a rush is a total buzzkill for most residents. If you think you’re going to be a crazy driver, perhaps find an alternate route. Drive by the ocean on your way into the office and calm yourself. There is no need to be frustrated, even if it might take you 40 minutes to drive 10 miles.

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