Tips For Driving In Maui

Last year we told you about the etiquette involved when visiting Maui. In this blog, we want to expand on one piece of advice we offered: driving in Maui.

Tips For Driving  In Maui by Hana Kai Maui Beachfront Condos.

Many people visiting the Islands don’t think about the “local rules” involved when driving around. But driving anywhere in Maui—or Hawaii for that matter—can be somewhat different from driving in your hometown. This is especially true if you’re accustomed to a long daily commute on a huge freeway like Houston or LA.

Driving here is enjoyably different, but you should still pay close attention. Maui’s main roads are safe and well-maintained, and in that respect, much like driving on the mainland. They are well-lighted, and well-marked to find attractions as well as directions. (You should still have maps and guides to get around.) Drivers are considerate here, and parking is manageable. Because there aren’t that many roads in Maui, it’s harder to get lost unless you go too far off the beaten path.

Before you take the wheel on your Maui adventure, here are some tips for driving around the Valley Isle.

Slow Down

Big-city driving won’t work here. Island time also applies to the roads. You may see bumper stickers proclaiming,“Slow Down, This Ain’t the Mainland.”  If you drive like a Texan in Maui, (much faster than a posted speed limit) you will likely anger locals and possibly get a ticket.

The speed limit on many of Maui’s highways is 55 mph, but those signs are few and far between. Most roads and villages usually have speed limits of 35 mph to 45 mph, with minimums posted for locals and the visitors who slow down to see the sights.  Lahaina, Kihei, Makawao, and other smaller towns have a posted speed limit of 20 mph. You’ll also have to drive slower in the areas around the volcanoes.

Make sure to eliminate any distractions before turning the engine over.

For a mainland driver used to 65 mph, this will be an adjustment while you’re here. But isn’t that why you’re coming to Maui?

Wandering Animals

Another reason to slow down is for the animals. Wild pigs and cattle are frequently found wandering around, and can cause serious damage to a rental car if you hit one. Cattle are usually found upcountry, and some end up as roadkill. It’s another reason to slow down and watch your surroundings.

Axis Deer are abundant in Maui, so pay attention when driving during sunrise, or along the back side of Hana. You’ll also see chickens on the loose in some parking lots. They aren’t a danger to your car, but you could hit one. And don’t honk at the wild pigs or cattle, either.

Plan For Maui’s Rush Hour

Yes, even here, we have a rush hour, which normally starts about 4 pm. With so many two-lane roads, it doesn’t take long for traffic to slow or stop like it does on the Mainland. Some of the worst is going from West Maui to the central valley. That rush hour begins about 3 pm, with beachgoers and workers exiting West Maui. Check the Waze or Google Maps apps before you leave (or leave the beach.)  You can also check the Maui Road Closure Schedule when you plan your vacation to see if anything scheduled will interfere with your plans.

Hands Off The Horn

Road rage isn’t tolerated here. Car horns are only used in an emergency in Maui. Do your best not to use it unless you absolutely must alert someone. Drive with aloha, wave back to the person who waves to you, and enjoy the island friendliness.

One-Lane Roads

This is an adjustment if you’re accustomed to multiple-lane highways. Even on the mainland, there are two-lane rural roads, and some become nail-biting one-lane roads.

Even with Maui’s well-maintained highways, there are some rural roads that are two lanes, and become one lane for a stretch. Most tourists don’t visit these areas, which stretch from Haleakala (upcountry) to the northeast side of West Maui. These roads tend to be rough, and close to the edge of cliffs. There aren’t any tourist spots here, and if you find yourself in trouble, you may have a difficult time getting help.

Be Aware Of Sudden Changes

Because Maui is prone to flash flooding, it’s important to pay attention to weather reports before heading out. You could find yourself in a flooded area quickly.

Other Maui Laws

Also remember that:

  • It’s illegal to use a handheld device while driving. This includes talking, texting, or otherwise using the phone, unless you’re calling 911.
  • Littering is also illegal, and can lead to a fine of $500 to $1,000. The land is very important to Maui’s locals, so tossing trash out of the window is considered very disrespectful. Find a garbage can and use it.
  • Maui has an “open container” law that can bring DUI charges and fines as much as $2,000 if there is an open container anywhere inside the vehicle.

You can learn more of our local rules at Maui’s county website.

Make Hana Kai Maui Part Of Your Hawai’ian Adventure

Whether you’re just visiting Maui, or doing a full tour of the Islands, Hana Kai Maui’s comfortably designed beachfront condos on Waikaloa Beach are a quiet, relaxing stay while on the island of Maui, Hana Kai Maui is both a journey and a destination for a night, a weekend, or longer.

Call to book your next reservations at 1-800-346-2772, or book directly online. We’re open 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Hawaii time to answer all of your questions.