Your Local Personal Injury Law Advocates

Car accidents, damage beyond the vehicle

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2024 | Car Accidents

The scenic beauty of Hawaii attracts millions of people to island roadways each year. There is always an inherent risk of collision, whether you’re the one behind the wheel, riding as a passenger, traveling by bicycle or are a pedestrian. However, driver negligence (i.e., distraction, fatigue, intoxication) increases the risk of car accidents, and often causes more than physical injuries or vehicle damage. 

Approximately 30% (or more) drivers experience symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following car accidents. A broken bone, a laceration, whiplash and other injuries often heal if a recovering accident victim receives proper medical care and lots of rest. The emotional trauma associated with PTSD and other post-accident anxiety issues can last a lifetime.  

Dealing with lingering trauma after car accidents 

If you were driving along a Hawaii road one minute and lying in the back of an ambulance the next because another vehicle hit you, you might experience symptoms of intense anxiety, recurring fear or other mental health problems. Knowing that this happens to many accident victims doesn’t necessarily make recovery any easier. Many people are afraid to drive again after a serious collision.  

If you’re trying to manage emotional trauma following a Hawaii motor vehicle collision and are having trouble getting back behind the wheel to drive, the tips shown in the following list might help:  

  • Spend time each day just sitting behind the wheel of a parked vehicle.  
  • Take short test drives around a parking lot, like when you were learning to drive for the first time; practice relaxing your hands, so you don’t grip the wheel too tightly, and sit in a comfortable position. 
  • Before setting out onto the road, turn on some relaxing music.  
  • Avoid driving if you have not had adequate sleep. 
  • Practice deep breathing techniques to stay relaxed while you drive.  

Sleep deprivation causes symptoms similar to that of intoxication while driving, which is why it’s imperative to get enough sleep before returning to the road following a car accident. It’s a good idea to have a trusted family member or friend with you during your first few driving excursions after a collision; the added support can be quite helpful.  

Trauma associated with riding as a passenger 

Car accidents can have a debilitating effect on your everyday life, including causing intense fear when you’re traveling as a passenger and another driver has control of the vehicle. These tips are useful to lessen anxiety as you strive to move on in life during recovery:  

  • Sit in the back seat. 
  • Sing, read, scroll the internet on your phone or listen to music. 
  • Practice deep breathing skills any time you begin to feel anxious or afraid. 
  • Attend cognitive behavioral therapy sessions to learn how to overcome negative thinking patterns. 
  • Acknowledge (instead of denying) your fear and allow yourself to process your emotions. 

Implementing these ideas may help you mitigate emotional trauma while learning to navigate the aftermath of a serious car accident. Never hesitate to reach out for additional support as needed.  

There are several apps for managing stress and anxiety, as well as local resources that you can tap into, such as counseling or meeting with an experienced legal advocate who can guide you through a personal injury claim, which many recovering victims say has helped them gain closure and a sense of well-being knowing that they have achieved justice.