During my many years of driving in Hawaii, I have observed some traits that have sparked me to write something in the hopes that people would be more aware and see things differently.

This is where my observations have finally made me do something positive, rather than negative.

First and foremost, before starting your engine, let’s get familiar with the vehicle at hand:

  • Know where you are going and know how to get there. If you are lost, pull over, do not stay in the middle of the road and decide, be respectful of others on the road.
  • On the steering column located on the left had side is a lever; it is called the “blinker.” The blinker does not use blinker fluid (as I assume since rarely people use them) and it is used for signaling a lane change or indicating where you would like to turn, the key words to focus on are “like to” and it does not mean you have the immediate right of way to go into that lane, but to signal you would “like to” go there.
  • Next up, the hazard lights. This is used for signaling that your vehicle is in trouble, or now in recent times, to say “thank you.” Perfect if you have dark tint, it’s raining, or at night, and you want to thank the other drivers when they are courteous and allow you to merge or change lanes.

NOTE: Hazard lights are not to be used for illegal parking while you go in to grab something, use a stall or get some exercise.

Next up, driving.

Honolulu Freeway traffic Kapiolani Blvd offramp.

Yep, traffic sucks in Honolulu. But we should all still strive to drive with aloha.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat


Here are some tips:

  • Texting while driving is illegal, that’s it! I love my “do not disturb” function on my phone, use it! If you don’t have it, do not look at your phone or learn how to activate that feature. There are other lives at stake and don’t be selfish!
  • Saying thank you can go a long way. Have any of you ever thought that a simple gesture as waving thank you can really brighten someone’s day? Try it, you will be surprised. Make it practice to do so; roll down your window and wave thank you, when you do look back in your rear view mirror, the person’s expression is pretty funny, in a good way.

A good friend once told me, what if you wave thank you and that person had a really bad day that little gesture could have prevented that one person from taking it out on another person. Hmm, think about it. A few seconds to wave thank you can go a long way to brighten someone’s day.

On a daily basis I average about five vehicles merging or wanting to come into the lane I am currently in. Guess what, on a week I am lucky to get 5 percent of anyone saying thank you. Yes I do the counts, nothing else to do. Come on, people, where is the aloha?!


More advice:

  • If you are waiting at a lighted intersection, please keep the space between your vehicle and the one in front to a minimal distance. If there are turning lanes, your “spacious” distance may keep them from proceeding. Also, the lights are on timers with pressure sensors embedded in the lanes to regulate traffic lights “Spacious” distance may cause the sensor to think there are less vehicles in that lane.
  • As you are crossing an intersection with traffic signals, please keep up with the vehicle in front, do not dilly-dally as the signals are on a timer and/or have sensors, any deviation in timing will cause the lights to change, be courteous to the driver(s) behind.

Lane Change Or Turning

And more:

  • When making a turn (either left or right) stay to the side of the lane you will be making the turn, space permitting of course. Do not take the turn from the middle of the lane and be courteous to the others behind you to pass. This is not Costco where you hog the entire aisle, be courteous and move to the side you are turning to.
  • Merging. Studies show that traffic moves more efficiently if drivers go to the end of the merging lane then merge. Also, if you are the one having to allow merging drivers, the general rule of thumb is every other vehicle. Do not hold up traffic in both lanes so you can merge early! Don’t be selfish, be courteous.
  • Lane changing. remember the lever on the left hand side of the steering column, the blinker. Use that when you want to signal the other driver in the lane you want to enter. Let the other driver decide to let you in or not. It is not your decision to decide.

In the Hawaii Driver’s Manual it states: “Signaling does not give you the right to make the indicated maneuver; you must check to ensure that it can be safely completed without interfering with other traffic.”

Playing Games

Finally, there is this:

  • I know there are many, many out there that play the “beat the traffic” game. Don’t deny it, I see it. I can honestly say I do not play that game. I do required lane changes and stay in my lane till I get off the freeway. Cuts down on pissing people off and accidents. Try it, it only takes a couple of minutes longer, but way less stressful.
  • For those of you who do play that game, do not get angry if in fact the person in that lane you need to get in will not let you in. There are many reasons why, but I thought I would enlighten you:
  • You made that choice to play that game, it is your fault to assume that people will let you in. Guess what, many of us will not and we know the game you are playing all because of your selfishness.
  • Think about this, if you were at Aloha Stadium at the Bruno Mars concert waiting in that long line just to get in, would you let someone “cut” in front of you? Highly unlikely. I’ve seen videos of people trying to cut, most likely the ones that play the “Beat the Traffic” game.
  • “Signaling does not give you the right to make the indicated maneuver; you must check to insure that it can be safely completed without interfering with other traffic,” according to the Hawaii Driver’s Manual 2017. So don’t get mad, it is your fault for playing that game, you are the one taking that chance.

As I have nothing to do in traffic other than observe, it sparked me to do something positive rather than negative. I could easily have a bout of “Road Rage” but where will that get me? Although I am tired of the selfishness on the road and how people these days are so impatient, it makes me wonder if in fact that is the person’s true personality.

If it is, it’s a pretty sad future we have here. I can attest I am not the most patient person around, but the idea of angering or negatively impacting a person concerns me more. So I instill patience. Is it hard,? Nope, not when you think of how negatively it can impact the other person.

In other words, you live in the Aloha State. Practice it, drive with aloha.

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