The Aloha State is well-known for its pristine beaches, beautiful culture, and being the world’s largest island chain (not to mention it is the only US state that still contains the Union Flag on its own!). There remains a hidden tragedy underneath all the good: the high rate of car accidents. This post will cover what you should know about driving in Hawaii so that you can stay safe while driving.
Car Accident Rates In Hawaii
Throughout the US, distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents, and the state of Hawaii is no exception. Increased use of cell phones while driving is often to blame. Now that smartphones are widespread, drivers use their phones to make calls, check email, look up directions, and use social media while driving, increasing the amount of time they are distracted while driving. This is obviously a dangerous situation and is why the accident rate has remained stubbornly high for some time now.
Hawaii has different statistics for each island, but overall, there are approximately 10,000 accidents per year on the entire island chain, with up to 150 of them being fatal. There are an estimated 1 million registered vehicles in Hawaii, meaning that the accident rate is approximately 0.01%. While this might seem small, behind these numbers are real people who suffer as a result. Despite a steady improvement in awareness and safety on the road, automobile accidents continue to pose a severe injury and even fatality risk in the islands.
However, the picture isn’t the same throughout the state, and some areas seem to pose a higher risk of accident than others. For example, on the island of Oahu (where the state capital is located), accidents are the highest. Moreover, some areas of the island are higher than others. For example, car accident statistics in Waipahu show that in 2019 alone, 4 people died from 6 car accidents. Again, while that number seems low at the outset when you consider that 4 people died from just 6 accidents, the fatalities per accident are incredibly high.
Main Causes Of Accidents
As with anywhere in the states, a few reasons tend to cause most accidents. These include:
- Drunk driving
- Reckless driving
- Aggressive driving (road rage)
- Fatigued driving
- Driver inexperience
Things You Need To Know If You Will Be Driving Here
If you want to avoid becoming another tragic statistic, there are some things you should be aware of if you plan on driving in Hawaii.
Oahu Has The Busiest Roads
This should come as no surprise, seeing as it is the most densely populated island and home to the capital and largest city, Honolulu. It also boasts the most advanced roads and road system in the state, including numerous high-speed highways. Nonetheless, most of the island can be reached via the Kamehameha Highway.
Hawaii Has The Lowest Maximum Speed In The US
Hawaii has a maximum speed limit of 60 miles per hour, which is much lower than other states with similar population sizes and landmasses. This means that if you are driving on a highway in Hawaii, you will have to drive at a slower pace than other states on average. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t be a problem since most islanders take it slow for the most part anyway.
Hawaiians Don’t Honk Their Horns Often
Aside from some incidents (see the road rage point earlier), most Hawaiians refrain from using their horn as much as possible. If you do find yourself in a situation that might warrant its use, think twice before doing so, and you could incur the wrath of other road users, or at the very least receive lots of angry, passive-aggressive stares!
The Legal Driving Age Is Pretty Low
That title is a bit of a misnomer, but the fact that you can obtain an instructional permit at the tender age of 15 years and 6 months, makes it one of the youngest in the US. However, you will need to wait until you are 17 if you want to get a full license and be able to drive legally by yourself.
Hawaii Does, And Will Continue To Accept Out Of State Permits
Although a story surfaced last year pertaining that the state would no longer accept out-of-state driving licenses, this is not true. Hawaii always has and will continue to accept permits from all other states in the USA, as long as they are valid and legal.
So there you have it, some facts about driving in the Aloha State. While it is true that they do have a substantial amount of road traffic incidents, you should be safe for the most part, as many Hawaiians are pretty laid back and drive relatively slowly.