Hawaii Road Signs (A Complete Guide)

Hawaii Road Signs (A Complete Guide)

Want to ace your permit test on the first try?

Then it’s a must to be familiar with the Hawaii road signs. 

Even if you already have a driver’s license, it’s still important to understand the meaning behind the signs you drive by. I mean, it is there for a reason. 

This is why, today, we’re going to give you a complete guide to the Hawaii road signs. Not only that, we’ll also explain the traffic signals and pavement markings in the state. 

We want you to be able to pass the permit test, as well as be a safe and responsible driver. 

So shall we begin? 

Hawaii Pavement Markings

Let’s begin with the pavement markings.

You already know that there are markings that separate traffic going in the opposite direction. There are also markings that separate lanes going in the same direction. 

But did you know that those pavement markings can indicate whether or not you can pass other vehicles on the road?

With that in mind, let’s dive into the pavement markings in Hawaii. 


You’ll find centerlines between two lanes with traffic going in opposite directions. These are typically yellow.

Single Broken Yellow LinesThese serve as the centerline in a 2-way roadway. While driving, remember to keep to the right. However, you can cross it to pass another vehicle if it’s safe.
Double Solid Yellow LinesTwo solid yellow centerlines mean you cannot pass, regardless of which direction you are driving. There is only one exception — when you need to turn left into or from an alley, driveway, or private road.
No Passing LinesA no-passing line is a single yellow centerline. As its name implies, you cannot pass another vehicle if it’s on your side. Like double solid yellow lines, you can only cross if you’re turning into a private road, alley, or driveway on the other side of the street.

Lane Markings

Lane markings are markers for traffic going in the same direction. It is usually colored white.

Single Dashed White Lane LinesIndicates that you can pass other vehicles when it’s safe.
Single Solid White LineBe careful when you see these because moving from one lane to another may be dangerous. You may also notice that its width varies in certain areas — the wider the line, the more serious the hazard. Although you can cross a single solid white line, you can only do so during unusual situations.
Double Solid While LinesYou cannot cross these lines, regardless of the circumstance. Moving from one lane to another is not allowed.

Other Pavement Markings

Besides Centerlines and Lane Lines, you must also be familiar with the following:

Red Pavement MarkingsYou cannot use or enter a roadway when there are red pavement markings. Besides using paint, the state also utilizes reflectors.
EdgelinesEdgelines act as safety guides and can be yellow or white. Depending on the color, you may find them in different areas. 

White edgelines are typically on the rightmost part of the roadway. Yellow ones are on the left edge of highways and divided roads.
Stop LinesAs its name implies, stop lines indicate the point where you’re supposed to cease moving. You typically find them at intersections and pedestrian crosswalks.
Crosswalk LinesCrosswalks are primarily for pedestrians, indicating where people can safely cross the street.  

You always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on a crosswalk.
Two-Way Left Turn Channelization MarkingsThese consist of solid and dashed yellow lines in the center of a roadway. They indicate areas where you can turn left from either direction. However, you cannot use these to pass other vehicles.
Obstruction MarkingsObstructions, such as bridge supports, take up road space, requiring you to drive around them. These markings help you determine where to pass. 

These may be yellow or white, and the color determines where you should pass. Motorists can drive on either side of white markings but should stay on the right side of yellow ones.
Directional MarkingsThese are white arrows or words that indicate which direction you can take. If your lane’s arrow only points in one direction, it’s the only path you can take. If the arrow points to multiple routes, you can choose between them.
Railroad Crossing MarkingsYou’ll find this marking before a railroad crossing. It consists of a large X with two Rs on either side. You’ll also find a solid yellow centerline because you can’t pass other vehicles at a railroad crossing.
Traffic Island MarkingsTraffic Islands protect pedestrians when they have to stand in the middle of a roadway. This is why it’s also known as Safety Islands. 

Traffic Island Markings indicate which directions you can go. Remember, these can be painted on the road but have other forms, such as paved, landscaped, or curbed areas. You cannot cross a traffic island.

You cannot drive into it either.

Hawaii Traffic Signals

As with pavement markings, most of you are familiar with the common traffic signals, better known as stoplights.

But there are other traffic signals, too.

Now, traffic signals in Hawaii help direct and control the traffic flow. Although you can usually find them at intersections, they can be scattered around. 

Standard Three-Color Signals

Steady Red Light When the light turns red, you must stop at:
The stop line
Before entering a crosswalk (if there is no stop line)
Before entering an intersection (if there is no stop line or crosswalk) You cannot move until the light turns green. 

You can turn right with care, unless, of course, there’s a sign prohibiting it. If so, you must yield the right-of-way if other vehicles or pedestrians are at the intersection. 

You can turn left if you are coming from a one-way street and entering a road where traffic flows to the left. However, you cannot proceed if there is a sign indicating it isn’t allowed.
Steady Yellow Light This immediately precedes a red light, which means you should begin slowing down when you see it. When you see a yellow light, avoid entering an intersection. 
Steady Green Light You can continue driving on a green light, whether straight, left, or right. The only exception is when there is a sign prohibiting a turn.  

You must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian or vehicle already at an intersection.

Lighted Arrows

There are times when you’ll also see arrows on traffic signals. Let’s see what these mean.

 Red and Yellow Arrows have the same meaning as their traffic signal light counterparts. However, it means stop or slow down in the direction of the arrow. 
A Green Arrow has the same meaning as a green light. However, you can only move in the direction it shows.

Combination Signals

In some instances, you’ll see lights and arrows used simultaneously. Don’t worry — it doesn’t necessarily complicate things.  

The lights and arrows carry the same meaning as when used separately. Remember that you can only go in the direction a green arrow indicates.

Flashing Signals

Flashing signals capture your attention — and that’s because they typically warn you of hazards.

A Flashing Red Signal carries the same intent as a stop sign, which you’ll find posted in the same area.
You can only proceed with caution if you see a Yellow Flashing Signal.

Sometimes you’ll see traffic signals showing flashing lights instead of steady ones. These mean the same as flashing red or yellow lights.

Lane Control Signals

There are scenarios when the state needs to control the traffic flow in a particular lane. 

You can’t use a lane marked with a Red X. The traffic is going in the opposite direction.
You can proceed as usual if you see a Green Arrow on a lane.
If you see a Yellow X on your lane, prepare to move off it. It means the traffic is about to flow in the opposite direction. 

You can only use a lane with a Flashing Yellow X if you are about to turn left.

Pedestrian Signals

Last on our list of traffic signals are those for pedestrians. You’ll often find these at intersections or crosswalks to help direct the movement of people. These help them cross the road safely.

Don’t Walk signals come in two forms. Sometimes, you’ll see an upright palm symbol. Other times, you’ll see the actual words. 

Regardless of the visual cue, a steady sign means you shouldn’t cross. A flashing one means the same thing, but those already at the crosswalk must hurry to the nearest traffic island, sidewalk, or safety zone.
You can cross the road if you see a Walk sign or a walking person symbol. However, if you see a flashing light, it may mean there’s a possible conflict between pedestrians and vehicles.

Hawaii Traffic Signs 

Finally, let’s look at Hawaii’s traffic signs. 

Sign Colors

Hawaii uses colors to help you get an idea of what the sign is indicating. So let’s look at these sign colors. 

REDRed-colored signs mean specific actions aren’t allowed. For example, Do Not Enter is colored red. 
YELLOWYellow typically indicates danger. You’ll mostly see it on diamond-shaped warning signs.
ORANGEAn orange sign almost always indicates that an area is undergoing road work. These signs are usually rectangular or diamond.
BLACK and WHITEBlack and white signs are usually rectangular and necessitate action.
GREEN, BLUE, BROWNInformation and guide signs are typically in these colors and are usually rectangular.

Regulatory Signs

Running into a regulatory sign means you need to change your driving behavior. These may require stopping, going in a specific direction, or shifting your speed. Failing to comply with a regulatory sign may lead to a penalty.

Now, let’s look at the regulatory signs in Hawaii. 

Stop Sign
Encountering this sign means you must yield the right-of-way to other vehicles. A stop sign is always red with 8 sides. 

The appropriate place to stop is before the stop line or crosswalk.  

You can proceed slowly if there isn’t any traffic coming from the opposite direction. 

Yield Sign
You’ll always know a yield sign from its shape — an inverted triangle, colored red and white. You don’t need to stop every time you encounter this sign, but you must do so if other vehicles have the right-of-way.

Speed Limit Sign
These indicate the minimum and maximum speed you can use when driving in a particular area. You must always maintain a speed between those limits.
Reduce Speed Ahead SignsThese look similar to speed limit signs. However, its main purpose is to inform you in advance that you will need to shift to a lower speed in preparation for a new speed limit sign.

Lane Use Control Signs
These signs indicate that vehicles in your lane must turn in a specific direction. Like speed limit signs, Lane Use Control signs are also black and white and rectangular.

Do Not Pass Signs
Other rectangular signs are Do Not Pass signs.  These indicate which areas in two- or three-lane roads prohibit passing.

No Passing Zone Signs
No Passing Zones look different because it’s pennant-shaped (imaging a triangle on its side). They complement the Do Not Pass signs but specifically indicate where the no-passing zone begins.

Pass with Care Sign
These indicate where a no-passing zone ends.
  Other Alignment SignsThese are rectangular, black, and white signs that tell you where you must drive. Traffic may become congested if you don’t follow.
Exclusion Signs
As the name implies, these signs indicate whether or not vehicle types can enter a roadway. These also tell you if there are specific maneuvers you cannot make. 

Visually, these come in different forms, although all are rectangular. Some are blank and white, others show a red circle against a white background. 

Other times, you’ll see a red circle with a red diagonal line on a black and white background.
Other Regulatory Signs
There are more regulatory signs beside the ones previously mentioned. These typically restrict people, parking, as well as vehicle types and weights, among other things.

Warning Signs

As the name indicates, warning signs inform you of hazards you may encounter on the road. Taking the necessary precautions keeps you safe while behind the wheel.

Beginning of a Divided Highway

End of a Divided Highway
Approaching a Hill
Road becomes slippery when wet

Pedestrian Crossing

Lane Ends or Narrows

School Crossing OR School Zone

Traffic Signal Ahead

Guide and Information Signs

These signs are crucial for motorists looking for a specific place. As the name suggests, these signs help you find your way. 

Route Markers

Location and Distance Signs

Park Signs

Recreation Signs

Service Information Signs

Construction/Maintenance Signs

Construction or maintenance work areas can be a source of hazard to motorists. You’ll typically find orange diamond- or rectangle-shaped signs warning you of potential dangers.

Following these can ensure your safety as you pass through the areas.


The Wrap Up

And there you have it! Your complete guide to Hawaii road signs. 

Once you get an idea of the pavement markings, traffic signals, and road signs, it will be a lot easier to understand the ones you come across. 

So make sure that you have a clear idea about the Hawaii road signs. 

But more importantly, make sure you follow these signs. 

Remember, it is placed there for your own good.

Be a safe and responsible driver!

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