7 Hawaii Traffic Laws Drivers Commonly Ignore

In Hawaii, drivers often ignore crucial traffic rules, such as the minimum speed limit and not following too closely.

Traffic laws exist for a reason: to keep drivers safe and to help keep the flow of traffic moving. Unfortunately, many drivers choose to ignore these regulations, putting themselves and others at risk.

When you’re driving in Hawaii, it’s important to know and obey the rules of the road. Here are seven traffic laws that drivers often ignore in Hawaii.

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1. Hawaii Slower Traffic Keep Right Law: The “Move Over” Rule

Hawaii traffic laws require slower drivers to keep to the right. If you are moving slower than the normal speed of traffic, you must drive in the right lane. When no right lane is available, you must drive as far right as possible.

An exception exists for passing other vehicles or preparing to turn left.

Any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle or when preparing for a left turn.

HI Code § 291C-41

2. Hawaii Flow of Traffic Law: The “Minimum Speed” Rule

Some roads in Hawaii have a minimum speed limit. If a county ordinance or signage establishes a minimum speed limit, you cannot drive slower than that speed.

A person violates this section if the person drives a motor vehicle at a speed less than the minimum speed limit where the minimum speed limit is established by county ordinance or by official signs placed by the director of transportation on highways under the director’s jurisdiction.

HI Code § 291C-102

3. Hawaii Driving in Left Lane Law: The “Passing on the Left” Rule

If you want to pass another vehicle in Hawaii, you must do so on the left. You also must remain a safe distance away from other vehicles and stay on the left until you have cleared the other car.

To legally pass on a two-lane road, you must wait until the left side of the road is clear. Make sure you return to the right side of the road before coming within 200 feet of oncoming traffic.

When being passed, you must yield the right-of-way to the passing vehicle if the driver sounds their horn. You also cannot speed up until the other car has finished passing you.

The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.

Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle on audible signal and shall not increase the speed of the driver’s vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

HI Code § 291C-43

No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit the overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle overtaken.

In every event the overtaking vehicle must return to an authorized lane of travel as soon as practicable and in the event the passing movement involves the use of a lane authorized for vehicles approaching from the opposite direction, before coming within two hundred feet of any approaching vehicle.

HI Code § 291C-45

4. Hawaii Rear-End Collision Law: The “Following Too Closely” Rule

Hawaii’s traffic code requires you to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. You cannot follow another vehicle more closely than is “reasonable and prudent” given your speed, the current traffic level, and road conditions.

The driver of a vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.

HI Code § 291C-50

5. Hawaii Mobile Phone Driving Law: The “Hands-Free Driving” Rule

In Hawaii, drivers under the age of 18 cannot use a mobile phone while the vehicle is in motion. This is true even if using a hands-free device. Adult drivers cannot use a handheld cell phone, but they can operate one hands-free.

For all drivers, there is an exception to this rule for calling 911 in an emergency.

No person shall operate a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device.

The use of a mobile electronic device for the sole purpose of making a “911” emergency communication shall be an affirmative defense to this law.

No person under eighteen years of age shall operate a motor vehicle while utilizing a hands-free mobile electronic device, except for the sole purpose of making a “911” emergency communication.

HI Code § 291C-137

6. Hawaii Four-Way Intersection Law: The “4-Way Stop” Rule

When two vehicles arrive at a Hawaii intersection at the same time, the driver on the right gets to go first. The left-hand driver must yield the right-of-way and wait for the right vehicle to make it through the intersection.

When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.

HI Code § 291C-61

7. Hawaii Left Turn Intersection Law: The “Right of Way” Rule

Under Hawaii law, you must yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic when turning left. If a car, bicycle, or pedestrian is close enough to pose a threat, you must wait for them to pass through the intersection before making your turn.

The driver of a vehicle intending to turn within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle, bicycle, or person approaching from the opposite direction or proceeding in the same direction when such vehicle, bicycle, or person is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.

HI Code § 291C-62

The next time you are driving in Hawaii, be sure to obey these seven traffic regulations. They may seem like common sense, but many drivers choose to ignore them anyway. Remember, it is important to drive safely and follow the law so that everyone can arrive at their destination. Mahalo!

Amy Grover is a licensed attorney in the state of Ohio. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, then passing the bar exam in 2014, Amy began her diverse career as a practicing attorney. Amy has a range of experience in the legal field, including work with the Department... Read More >>