The headline of a recent front-page article caught my eye: “Accidents kill visitors at unusually high rate.” Within the first five weeks of 2013, there’s been 11 nonresident deaths because of drownings, car crashes and cliff falls. That’s compared to the 60 or 70 that Hawaii may see during a 12-month period. Ironically, adjacent to that article is a story about ziplining and sky ping.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser article points to 2012’s record number in visitors and the “dare devil” mentality that arises during a vacation. I would not doubt either as the cause of increased deaths. For some reason, travelers think that in order to get an out-of-this-world experience, they have to do something really crazy, i.e. dangerous. Maybe they’ll explore an unmarked trail or jump into advisory-level surf.
There’s nothing wrong with being a thrill-seeking traveler, but I’d think twice if it means risking your safety or the safety of others. There are so many more (safer) things out there that’ll give you an adrenaline rush. How about go-kart racing or a night hike through a lava field? If you’re experienced at those gnarly stuff, like skyping and big-wave surfing, then by all means. But most visitors aren’t, and that’s where it can get dangerous.
Also, it’s the urgent need to “go where the locals go” that may often get visitors into trouble. These secret spots or activities not listed in guide books are not listed for a reason. They’re most likely not sanctioned by the state, which means they don’t get maintained regularly and can be unsafe. And while residents may know these areas, it doesn’t mean they’re completely out of harm’s way either.
Of course, there’s no way of preventing every accident and every death in Hawaii. But at the very least, please make smart decisions in order to get the most positive memories of your trip to paradise.