Better Days: Abandoned car

Abandoned vehicles are something of a problem in Hawaii. The root of the problem is that it’s expensive to responsibly get rid of an old car. So people leave them by the side of the road or on undeveloped property by the highway. I’ve posted before about one such vehicle here.

This latest one was sitting alongside the road just north of Kawaihae. At first, it looked like an older car that had perhaps broken down and was awaiting a tow or for the owner to return and fix it. But after a few days, it was clear that wasn’t happening.

If a vehicle sits unattended for a few days, people move in. Wheels are often the first to go. Then the hood goes up and anything useful in the engine compartment gets removed. There’s also a good chance that someone will tag the vehicle with graffiti.

What else can they do? Why not set it on fire. That’s what happened to this one. When I took these photos, the car had been sitting there two or three weeks.

About a week later I saw a police car parked behind it. The policeman wrote out a notice warning that the car will be towed at the owner’s expense if it was still there the next day. It should not come as a surprise that no one reacted to this notice, but neither was the car removed.

Another week passed and some traffic cones were placed around the burned-out hulk. There was good reason for this. The car was low to the ground and, with all the color burned off, it blended into the road. Someone could easily not have seen it, especially at night, and run into it.

Another week passed and then, one day, the car was gone. Only the traffic cones remained surrounding a small mound of ashes. Another week later, the cones and ash mounds area still there, but one day those too will disappear and that stretch of road will be ready to accommodate the next abandoned vehicle.

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