Many people around the world do not have their own vehicle or access to a car for going to work, school or other important places. In addition, they may not have the funds to simply call for a ride-share.
In countries other than the United States, people still hitchhike to get around. It is an acceptable and safe way to get from point A to point B. Unfortunately, in America, hitchhiking is mostly an unsafe way to get around, even in small towns. For more information, go to sanetraveller.
Below are the pros and cons of hitchhiking in 2020:
Free Rides – The best argument for hitchhiking, in America or any country, is that it does not cost anything. The United States does not have as many hitchhikers as it did in the 60s and 70s, however, it still happens. Mostly homeless people who do not have money for a bus ticket to travel across the country are now depending on the kindness of strangers.
Meeting New People – When you hitchhike, you may meet all kinds of good people. Individuals, families, and groups of friends that are traveling the country and willing to help someone get to where they are going, or at least closer.
If you are clean (don’t smell bad) and not traveling with too much luggage, you are more likely to be picked up by a nice family in an RV or a truck driver who could use the company.
Legality – In the United States, it is illegal to stand on the side of the highway for the purpose of getting rides, or hitchhiking in almost all of the states. The reason is the safety of the passing cars as well as the hitchhiker’s safety.
It is, however, legal to stand at the beginning of the highway or at the on-ramp to solicit rides. Unfortunately, if a highway patrol officer, or the state or local police officers stop and ask you what you are doing, they may send you on your way without getting a ride from anyone. They could also arrest you for a number of reasons, like loitering or homelessness, depending on the area’s laws. Not cool, I know.
Safety – There is a lot of talk about stranger-danger, especially in the US. The fact is, you never know who you are, accepting a ride from. It is obvious why young women and girls should not hitchhike, but young men could be in just as much danger.
Traveling in pairs or groups could be safer, but there is no guarantee of your safety.
In other countries, it is best to seek out the local laws when it comes to hitchhiking. There are some places that it is encouraged to hitchhike because the local people do not have access to their own cars and they depend on others to get around. There are also many places in which it is illegal to solicit rides from strangers.
When all is said and done, listen to your gut. If you don’t feel comfortable with the individual or people who stop to pick you up, don’t get in the car.