Most Maui residents would agree that five of the most common problems on our island (which may never be resolved) are: 1) cane burning; 2) lack of convenient bathroom access in many stores and restaurants; 3) lack of important daily vog updates; 4) parking stalls often so small that car doors constantly ding each other, and: 5) obtuse highway signs (the subject of today's column--why they may be hazardous to our health).
First off, let me promise that when I become the "Supreme Ruler of the World," I will put signs on all island highways that will read, "Share the Road: Keep Right Except to Pass or to Turn Off."
We won't try to figure out who is responsible for the current, unrealistic, 45 mph speed limits on da kine. That is for local comedy club jokes and the "Guinness Book of Weird Highway Signage"--not for us poor Maui residents to try to understand.
One does not need to research very deeply to find credible statistics confirming that people moseying along in the left lane and holding up traffic are a common cause of road rage, aggressive driving and preventable accidents.
Whether we like it or not, the non-aloha response, "I am going the speed limit, so I really don't care that there are several cars behind me who need to pass," simply does not work anymore for today's Maui.
I am not advocating turning our highways into autobahns--I'm simply saying that other drivers may be having different experiences from yours, and that we should all respect those differences.
Oftentimes, people simply need to pass other cars. That is the reality. They may have to get to the hospital, or maybe their child got hurt in school, or they need to get to the airport because their airline switched departure times, their cat is hemorrhaging--or for whatever reason, they have a need to use the left lane that you are blocking.
In many cities and towns, it is against the law to drive in the left lane, not keeping up with the traffic flow. If you are daydreaming or thinking about something to make for dinner tonight, tooling along at 45 miles an hour and there is a car riding along next to you in the right lane--you have now set up a virtual "rolling roadblock" for all traffic behind you. As a result (unless those cars are filled with Baba Ram Dass followers), you could be triggering unnecessary road rage and causing more aggressive driving on the highway around you.
Until more practical, traffic-friendly signs are posted all along our highways that say, "Slower Drivers Keep Right" and "Keep Right Except to Pass or Turn Left," or "Share the Road - Please Stay Right," this problem can only get worse as our still-beautiful island continues to increase its infrastructure.
So, please share the road and share the aloha. Pull over from the passing lane and let everyone enjoy the drive.
Charles Laquidara has lived on Maui for over 11 years. He worked at WBCN radio in Boston for 30 years as the morning-drive host of a show called "The Big Mattress" and is occasionally heard on Mana'o Radio here on-island.