How to Drive On Maui

Driving in Maui has many benefits.

Despite the natural tropical beauty, the year-round pleasant weather, the ocean sights, or the beautiful sunsets, Maui still has it’s driving challenges.


One driving challenge is the high volume of tourists that you are sharing the road with. These tourists are not only captivated by the beauty of Maui but sometimes they are preoccupied with the desire to capture that perfect photo while exploring the island. This eagerness sometimes overshadows driving safely. Tourists are also challenged with the task of reading the Hawaiian named street signs.  Even with modern GPS and smartphone technology, trying to distinguish all those vowels and foreign names while operating a vehicle can be difficult. So when driving, be prepared for abrupt stops or random slowing from tourists. 

Hawaii’s Beauty

Being distracted by the Hawaiian beauty while trying to navigate, tourists are unfamiliar with operating their rental vehicle. Their rental is not the car they spend countless hours driving to and from work each week. This is a completely different vehicle. Tourists likely have no idea how their vehicle will handle around a sharp turn; or how effective or ineffective it is at braking. So heed extra caution!

Axis Deer Population

One factor most people neglect to take into account is the large axis deer population. Deer in Maui? Yes! The axis deer population on Maui is estimated between 50,000-100,000. Experts also predict that the population will continue to increase. This massive deer population causes accidents around Maui each day. When driving in the less inhabited areas, anticipate that deer may be near, and keep your vehicle within the designated speed limits. 


The last group of potential hazards to your vehicle are surfers. On Maui, there is a substantial surfing population. However, there’s a lack of beach parks to accommodate all these wave seekers. This means that surfers or beachgoers have to park along the roads and highways to access the beach. This poses a challenge to drivers because there are big groups of cars lining highways at random locations.  Also, these beachgoers are attempting to cross the busy streets without any traffic lights or crosswalks to support their safe crossing. In addition to the lack of infrastructure to aid in crossing, these surfers might be distracted by the beckoning call of the ocean, which may lead a surfer to not notice the rapidly approaching cars. When approaching a large group of cars parked along the side of the road, slow down to give yourself enough time to stop, allowing surfers to cross the road safely. 

Slowing down is also crucial because it’s common for surfers to underestimate the size of their boards.  It’s common for surfers to be crossing the highway carrying large longboards often ranging 10-12 feet in length. So when the surfers are peeking their heads out to look for oncoming cars, their boards might be sticking out on the road 2-3 feet. These massive boards could do major damage to your beautiful car as well as inflict harm to the surfer.

Mahalo for Reading

In summary, when taking in all the beauty Maui has to offer, be sure to remind yourself that you are sharing the road with tourists visiting, the axis deer population, and eager surfers. Surfers and beachgoers are dangerously attempting to cross busy highways and streets with no assistance. Be sure to remind yourself that this is Maui and we don’t need to be driving too fast. Prepare accordingly and always drive with Aloha.