Understanding the road ahead is important if you are planning a vacation in the Aloha state. From traffic jams to winding one-lane roads, Hawaii offers diverse traffic environments and challenges for tourists. One such challenge is the infamous Ala Mauna (translated as trail to the mountains) Saddle Road, which is so dangerous that some rental car companies prohibit tourists from driving their rental cars on it. Despite ongoing improvements, narrow areas of this road, poor visibility on curves, single lane bridges and frequent dense fog mean a high rate of head-on collisions – and an accident rate that’s been up to 80 percent higher than the average for other roads in the state.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 113 traffic fatalities in Hawaii in 2010 — up four from 2009. Clearly, Hawaii can be a dangerous place to drive. So as you plan your trip, ask yourself whether you really need a rental car. Are you staying exclusively at a resort with shuttle service from airports and other destinations? If planning extensive touring, limited bus routes and taxi costs are good reasons to rent a car.
The rental car experience in Hawaii is similar to elsewhere. Before booking a car, check the fine print of your car insurance to determine existing coverage for damage to a rental car. Give yourself time to understand your coverage and rental company policies such as loss of use after an accident.
In case of accident
When operating a rental car, you have a responsibility to be careful and follow local rules and regulations. But if you are involved in an accident, consider these tips:
Get medical help and then contact law enforcement
Exchange information, obtain witness information and take pictures of the accident scene if you can
While noting the comments of others, do not discuss the accident with witnesses or accept responsibility
Contact the rental company
Contact your own insurance company if appropriate
Hawaii is a great place to vacation. But remember to keep your eyes on the road ahead. And if you do suffer injury in an accident caused by the negligent or reckless actions of someone else, seek experienced local legal counsel.
Posted in Personal Injury