Getting into a car with a complete stranger used to be completely normal a few decades ago – people were generally friendly and well-intentioned, stopping to help a person out. Nowadays, a scene where a car stops and the driver offers a ride to a lone hitchhiker in the middle of nowhere seems like the opening scene of a thriller or one of those CSI dramas we watch.
So, the question is how safe is hitchhiking? If we accept a ride will we get to our destination safely or do we risk our safety, if not our lives?
According to some experienced hitchhikers’ experience, you can read on various internet forums, hitchhiking is not dangerous if you follow some simple rules to make sure you’re safe.
First of all, you should avoid doing it at night. If you must do it, make yourself visible by wearing bright colors or yellow (they come in different neon colors) traffic vest. The chances of something bad happening to you at night are much higher simply because there is a greater chance to meet a drunk or tired driver. If that happens, make sure to decline the ride offer politely. You should never risk it.
Secondly, some experienced hitchhikers suggest taking a photo of the license plate number and texting it to a family member or friend informing them about your destination. This is just a safety precaution measure which could dissuade the driver from any bad intentions that might cross their mind.
Thirdly, when you are deciding if you should accept the ride or not, rely on your instincts since most of the time, they are quite helpful and people who seem shady usually are. If you do accept the ride, feel free to ask the driver to respect the speed limit and traffic rules – it is your life in their hands.
Hitchhiking could be dangerous, but most of the time it is not. Experienced hitchhikers say that awkward and unpleasant situations could arise, especially for female hitchhikers who might be verbally abused to sexually harassed so id they do not have “thick skin” and do not know how to react and protect themselves in these situations, hitchhiking (with truck drivers especially) is definitely not advised.
However, all these potentially negative things aside, hitchhiking with the right person can be interesting and fun. Unless they are introverted, cranky drivers, most people enjoy having company. It is quite possible to have a nice, interesting chat, and maybe even make a new acquaintance or friend, get an invitation to a dinner or a party, or just some helpful tips and suggestions about the area you are passing through.