When you venture farther off the beaten path in Hawaii, you’ll encounter a few things: rural towns, mom-and-pop shops and one-lane bridges. The bridges symbolize an escape from the Waikīkīs, Poipūʻs and Lāhainaʻs of the islands and act as gateways to a more simple Hawaii.
Hana and Maui are known for their one-lane bridges, where motorists yield to one another when crossing. Because there are no traffic lights to regulate the flow of cars, it is important to follow a specific etiquette:
- Follow the signs.
There will most likely be traffic signage along the road letting drivers know that they’re approaching a one-lane bridge. Slow down and look for the stop line painted on the ground, several feet away from the bridge.
- About 5-7 vehicles at a time.
Generally, only about five to seven vehicles should cross at a time. After that, those waiting on the other side of the bridge have the right to go. Otherwise, you would be waiting all day to cross the bridge!
- Be mindful of the speed limit.
There’s no need to blaze through the bridges when crossing. Mind you, most of these bridges may be old and decrepit, so it’s actually better that you drive slowly – for obvious reasons. Generally, motorists should not drive more than 10 miles per hour when crossing.
- Look out for pedestrians.
These bridges not only lack a second lane but also bike/pedestrian paths. It’s likely people may be crossing to get home or to get to the beach, so be on the lookout.
- Assess the situation.
Lastly, and most commonly, you may encounter some flooding when driving through one-lane bridges. Heavy rains cause rivers to overflow on to the roadways, making it virtually impossible to cross. If that’s the case, then do not cross! These gushing rivers have the potential to wash away you and your car.