Weather plays a huge part in Hawaii’s road conditions.
Fog or vog (volcanic fog) can make it hard to see.
Rain can make the roads very slippery.
Even the snowy peaks make driving your 4WD a lot more challenging.
And it isn’t just weather, either.
You face different road conditions at dusk, dawn, and night.
This is why, today, we’re going to look at the safe driving tips through all these Hawaii road conditions.
This way, you know what to do when you face that specific situation.
So let’s begin!
Safety Tips for Driving in Hawaii Road Conditions
Let’s go through each type of road condition mentioned above and give you the safety tips that you should know about.
Safe Driving Through the Rain
Heavy downpours cause two problems.
The first one is that it makes it hard to see. The big raindrops can block your view, no matter how fast your wipers go.
Another thing is that skidding and losing control are very likely. This is because when the rainwater hits the ground, it mixes with dried-up oil on the road, making it extra slippery.
That said, rain shouldn’t be something to be afraid of when driving. Just follow these tips to avoid accidents:
- Slow down. This is common sense, but it easily slips from people’s minds. But the slower you are, the more distance you have between vehicles and the more time you have to react.
- Turn on your headlamps, but not the bright ones. You’re not the only one having trouble seeing when there’s rain. Other drivers struggle with this, too. So don’t make it worse for them by flashing your high beams.
- If you cannot determine if the flood is high or low, change direction and do not brave the flooded road.
- Gentle step on the brakes if you need to slow down or stop. Do not suddenly step on the brakes. Sudden braking can cause you to slip or surprise the vehicle at the back.
- If your windshield and windows become foggy inside, lower your windows a tiny bit to let air in and reduce the humidity levels that cause the fog.
- If you experience skidding, straighten your wheel first. Then, when your car has some traction, gently steer the wheel in the direction you want to go.
In cases of thunderstorms, you should still follow the same tips, but if you can help it, postpone going out.
In general, if you don’t need to drive on a rainy day, don’t.
Safe Driving Through Fog
When volcanic dust hangs over the island, it causes fog, or as locals like to call it, vog.
So if this happens when you’re driving, here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
- Slow down. Again, this is the best thing to do if it’s hard to see.
- Turn on your low-beam lights. You want other people and vehicles to see you in the vog. Don’t use the high beam lights because this will only make it more difficult for others to see (especially at night).
- Stop in a safe place when necessary. If the vog is too thick, it’s much safer for you to park on the side of the road than risk going through it. Just make sure you park somewhere other vehicles know you’re there.
- Reduce the build-up of moisture inside the car. Turn on your car’s defroster if it has one. You can also put the windows down slightly to reduce the build-up of moisture.
- Try to maintain the distance between the car in front of you. If you suddenly enter a foggy area, do not increase your speed. Try to maintain the current speed you had before the vog took place.
Just like rain, vog can reduce everyone’s visibility. Do not risk being unseen, so make sure to turn on your lights, defrost your car, and go slow.
Safe Driving in Winter
Say you like driving your 4WD on the Hawaiian peaks. And say that you do it during the winter.
If so, then be very careful.
Melted snow can be very dangerous since it makes the road even more slippery.
As much as possible, don’t drive when there’s snow. But if you like a challenge, make sure to do these things first before hitting the road:
- Change to snow tread tires for more grip on the road.
- Remove snow, frost, or any obstruction on your windshield, side mirrors, and windows.
- Before going farther, get a feel of the road to know if it’s still safe to drive. If the roads are too slippery, do not attempt to drive.
- Bring snow equipment and emergency aid with you. This includes blankets, food and water, warm clothing, a flashlight, and medicines.
- Slow down. If you need to stop, slowly step on the brakes until your car slows down and reaches a stop. Do not stop abruptly.
- Keep distractions away. Put extra focus on the road and where you’re headed. Do not look at phones, eat food, or get into unnecessary chatter that will distract you.
Again, we discourage you from braving the snow when you don’t have to. In these weather conditions, it’s best to avoid the peaks at all costs.
Safe Driving in Dusk and Dawn
Driving at dusk or dawn does come with some difficulty. This is mainly because these times have a lot of light changes. Your eyes have to adjust constantly.
It’s also more difficult to see because the sun is still on its way up or down. In other words, it can be directed at your eye level.
Here’s what you can do to ensure your safety when driving during these times of the day:
- Be mindful of other vehicles and pedestrians. Identify places where there are pedestrians crossing the street or vehicles stopping to pick up or drop off passengers.
- Wear sunglasses during sunset if your eyes are sensitive to brightness.
- Slow down while your eyes adjust. Your eyes might deceive you and you might end up miscalculating. Give your eyes time to adjust to their surroundings.
- Turn on your headlights when it’s too dark to see.
Safe Driving at Night
And finally, driving at night. Even if it’s common for people to drive at night, it doesn’t mean that the risks are lower.
Follow these tips for safer driving at night:
- If you’re sleepy, pull over and get some rest. Do not drive while you’re drowsy.
- Use high beams when it gets too dark. However, always bring it down when another vehicle from the opposite lane approaches.
- Dim your dashboard so the light doesn’t reflect on your glasses. These reflections give your eyes a harder time adjustment.
So that were your safety tips for the Hawaii road conditions.
Different weather and times of the day can impair your ability to see well and drive properly.
In all of these scenarios, you must take full control of your car and focus on the road. Remove all distractions and slow down.
Some of the tips here are very simple, so it’s easier to follow.
Remember, taking extra precautions can save you from an accident.