Dangers of Hitchhiking
Awareness on the part of a hitchhiker will keep you from accepting dangerous rides- for example, a driver travelling under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. Examine the driver and vehicle. If there are signs of intoxication (slurred or erratic speech, no eye contact, open alcohol containers) do NOT get in the vehicle. Refuse the ride.
Talk to the driver before getting in the car! This way you make sure the ride offered is one that you would like to take, and that it will end at a safe spot to stop. Ask the driver before getting in their car: Where are you going? Can you drop me off at a service area or other safe place near your destination? A rhetoric question like “Are you going north” and the driver’s reaction can give you some information about him or her. Dropping humour into your brief conversation is a good way of gauging a person’s personality as well. Trust your instincts! If you do not feel comfortable accepting the ride, thank the driver and say no. Walk away.
Here are some quick tips which will make you safer:
- Ask for rides at petrol stations instead of signaling at the roadside.
- Know that hitchhiking at night is more dangerous than during the daytime
- If you have doubts about the ride offered, turn it down.
- You can also check if the doors open from the inside by pretending not to have closed the door properly.
- Note the vehicle’s registration number, or at least the make, model, and colour, etc. You could then SMS this to a friend. You can pretend calling your mum and saying the car type, color and license number aloud. This makes driver believe he is under surveillance.
- It’s probably safest to not go with more than one guy in the car.
- It’s better to sit in the front of the vehicle.
- If there are other houses or people in sight, you can wave to them or pretend to say goodbye to a friend. The driver will think that somebody has seen you getting into their car.
- Always trust your instincts. But don’t panic!
All your actions contain a risk and hitchhiking is of course no exception. When people try to evaluate something unknown, they will usually overestimate the danger. They judge something they don’t know, so for their judgement they use sources which leave out the good and much bigger, but less exciting part of the story. In the news you will never hear about the millions of hitchhikers, who safely arrived at their homes after having uncountable great experiences. You will hear about the one who got killed by a psychopath. Generally speaking you hourly get to see all bad things happening on the planet, concentrated in five minutes of news. If there’d be a lifelike news coverage, reporting about positive and negative happenings in realistic proportions, people would be much less afraid and had a ways more positive view of the world