You better watch that traffic while on Oahu, sometimes it can spoil your plans if not the whole vacation.
Especially the H-1 highway is notorious for being packed with cars early mornings and evenings between 4 and 6 pm.
In Honolulu itself you really don’t need a car, so if you can avoid renting one than it would be a good decision. Just remember that you’ll be paying loads of money for parking, too.
There are ways to avoid traffic, sometimes going through the city is faster than taking the highway. You’ll get by tons of traffic lights, but it’s still (sometimes) better than standing still on the highway.
As for driving on Oahu, I found it quite pleasant. People of Hawaii are careful and responsible drivers. But then again, if you ever experienced Israeli roads you'll understand that even an ape can be a better driver :)
Most people don't include traffic back-ups in their idyllic dreams of paradise, but they happen in Honolulu every day. With nearly a million people cammed onto the mountainous island of Oahu, there are very few places to put all those cars (yeah, parking sucks, too!). Though it's only about 10 miles, at the height of rush hour it can take up to an hour to get from Pearl Harbor to Daimond Head -- especially if its raining. The H1 is consistently backed up on weekdays and alternate routes are equally unpleasant. Oahu traffic compares favorably to my other favorite place to drive 5 mph -- the Washington Beltway.
Oahu has the normal morning (0630-0900) and evening (1500-1900) rush hours. But traffic also backs up significantly on Friday and Saturday nights as people from all over Oahu descend on Waikiki looking for a good time. Traffic can also be bad on the North Shore when the winter waves meet the tourist crush, so expect to drive no faster than 30 mph by Waimea and Sunset Beaches.
All this being said, don't be scared to rent a car -- some of the best parts of Oahu are away from Waikiki. Just accept the traffic as it is -- it's paradise, right?
At the Sunset Beach area on the North Shore of Oahu it gets very busy with vehicles parked on the side of the road, or some times too close to the road..
There is a parking lot across the road from the Beach , many people cross this road all day long ,Please be careful crossing and driving in this area ,
It becomes very dangerous at times.
If you're renting a car, be careful of the speed limits, they're lower than on the Mainland USA. Most limits in town are 25 - 35. Highway speeds range from 45mph to no faster than 60mph. You will find it hard to SLOW down once you get on the H1, H2 or H3 freeways, especially if you are used to legally driving at 70mph on mainland roadways! Slow down though ... "most" locals like the slower pace of life here. Cops monitor regularly, so it doesn't hurt to "control your speed"
It doesn't really matter when you travel to O'ahu there is always some sort of gridlock on the highways, especially in and around Waikiki. We have always gotten stuck in some sort of gridlock even in the evenings and find it quite annoying.
My suggestion if you are driving back to the airport allow yourself enough time for some form of traffic.
Traffic can be a mess at certain times of the day on the island of Oahu; just like any other place. During the weekday commuting hours; it's best to avoid the highways unless you want a bit of a wait in your car.