You've got your rental car, a road map and are all set to holoholo ka‘a (go for a drive). You're thinking about exploring off the beaten track. Our kapakahi (crooked) black roads are part of the island's charm so, before you grab the car keys and the camera, here are a few reminders to help you safely enjoy your kapakahi roads adventure.
Roads Less Traveled
Driving on Our Kapakahi Roads
- While these roads may be quaint, they are not deserted. Some provide the main throughfare to small communities, homes, B&B's, or favorite fishing spots. Watch for other vehicles, bicyclists, pedestrians, and animals (some of which can be big).
- Is this a back road or a private driveway? They may look the same, but you don't want to end up in someone's back yard.
- Be respectful of the folks and animals that live along the roadside.
- Most of the kapakahi roads are narrow with little or no shoulders to pull off onto. A fender-bending ditch or stone wall may be hidden under that tropical vegetation growing beside the road.
- Many are one lane with no center line; others widen and narrow at will. Always stay to the right.
- Whee! You're winding up and down around blind curves on what may have once been a donkey cart trail. Those donkeys didn't travel very fast--you shouldn't either.
- Some are steep. Save your brakes. You'll want to use low gear going up and down.
- A few aren't paved or have more potholes than pavement. Be kind to the car.
- Speed limits are not often posted. Nor will you find many caution or yield signs, but both are good driving practices.
- Don't expect public facilities or gas stations along the way, and you may find areas without cell phone service or quick and easy access to emergency services.
- A four-wheel drive vehicle is required on some roads (such as the road into Waipi‘o Valley and to the top of Mauna Kea) and this is the law!
- Interested in exploring more of the Big Island of Hawai‘i? Click on the Big Island Visitors Bureau website for http://www.bigisland.org/