“OMG hitchhiking is so fun,*Takes money out of glovebox* so yea. its good fun.”
Hitchhikers are anyone who has somewhere to go, no way to get there, and not enough money to call a cab or buy a car. They are very common on American highways and in obscure areas of Europe such as Transylvania. Common hitchhiking types are: Old, smelly hobos; little, 6-year-old girls with a purpose; college teens without any money on their gap year; and most of all people about to be killed by a crazy murderer as part of a scary movie.
- 1 How To Be A Good Hitchhiker
- 2 The Thumb
- 3 Different Approaches
- 4 Tips and Tricks
- 5 Safer hitching
How To Be A Good Hitchhiker
Most people would be helpless if lost out on a road somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Beyond the usual (but very important) thumbs up sign, many more intricate and important factors are apparent. You can try to achieve on of three looks to get you an honest hitchhiker host; The helpless approach, the frantic approach and the money approach.
“*Pulls out huge lottery win* Would this be enough for one ride?”
When hitchhiking in the western world (North America, Europe), one signals this by standing beside the road and with outstretched arm, fingers curled inwards towards the palm, and the thumb sticking out at a right angle, or as close to it as possible.
Hitchhiker's thumb is a term for hyperextension of the thumb. This shows up in biology classes because in humans it is an autosomal, recessive trait. People who have two recessive genes for this trait can bend the distal joint of their thumb back so that it forms an angle of almost 45 degrees.
Helpless Approach: Best if used at night in the rain. What you want to do here is to appear completely defeated to the driver of the car you want to go into. Having your head down, coat pulled up over your head, and crying (not as helpful in the rain) are all good strategies. Upon entering the vehicle, stay silent for approximately 30 seconds and then feebly whimper your destination to the driver. If they didn't understand you the first time either pull out an item of emotional signifacance from your pocket with the place you're going or if that is not available to you, mumble the location very quietly a few times (make sure the driver doesn't understand you) and then yell it out in half-choked up sobs. This strategy will leave the host with a nice happy bubbly feeling gotten after doing a good deed.
Frantic Approach: Best used by people who are too well dressed to look helpless and aren't very rich. Works better with women, by the way. This is the most difficult strategy to use as it can go wrong in many ways if done incorrectly. The goal here is to appear in a hurry or late to something very important (weddings and funerals do well as an excuse). Going at a slight jog or pacing in circles mumbling under your breath are good strategies. When you first notice the car pretend that this is your last hope and wave frantically (ignoring the traditional use of the thumbs up signal).Jumping in front of the car can be rewarding if the driver tries to ignore you but is also risky to your helath. Things that can go wrong with this strategy are appearing to frantic as this can scare the driver into thinking either that you are insane(likely) or have a mass murderer chasing you and trying to kill you(not as likely). Not appearing frantic enough can result in the driver not caring. Upon completion of his journey the driver will have a nice happy bubbly feeling gotten after doing a good deed.
Money Approach: Best used when money(or counterfeit money)is available. Easiest, but most costly, way to get a ride is this method. Simply pull out a wad of cash from your pocket (it can be all singles for all the driver can tell) and wave it over your head while performing the traditional thumbs up sign. About 95% of the people in this world will be more than happy to help you out. Simply enter the car, and at the same time hide half or more of the wad of cash in your pocket. Upon arrival smile and leave the wad of cash in the car whilest making your escape. Yes, your escape, because if you had a wad of in your pocket and couldn't afford a cab then it is obviousely fake and the jolly redneck who picked you up won't be so jolly anymore.
Tips and Tricks
Maximise your pick-up potential by following these guidelines:
It's a universal truth that you're more likely to get a lift if you look clean and presentable. There's no law that prevents you from standing at the roadside in your 'masturbation is not a crime' T-shirt and all your piercings on show, but then you do risk standing in the same place - all day. You're not in a fashion show here, so bite the bullet and tone it down a bit.
If you're surrounded by suitcases and soap crates, you can rule out being picked up by vehicles with scant space for luggage. Travel seriously light, and drivers are more likely to make room for a little one like you.
Expect to be standing on the roadside for a long time, so pack enough food and drink to keep you on your feet. If you strike lucky, and get a lift straight away, at least you have something to offer your chauffeur for the day.
If you're planning on some serious hitching, be prepared for all elements. You don't want to be forced to find shelter from a downpour, at a time when you really need a lift, so pack a mac, even if the sky is clear and blue.
The size of your pen
You want the fattest marker pen money can buy, and a clean square of cardboard to advertise your destination (you'll find most petrol stations can provide you with this. Failing that, root around beside the rubbish bins). Paper is OK, but can go a bit limp in a breeze, and try to write neatly. If your handwriting scrawl reminds people of ransom notes, go for simple block writing.
Travel in company
Hitching may seem like a free and easy way to get around, but you are effectively locking yourself into a steel box with a stranger. Ultimately, you can't be too cautious here, especially if you're female, so at the very least hitch in pairs. It may mean you're less likely to get picked up straight away, but at least you've put your safety first.
Tell someone where you're going
Inform them where you're heading and the route you hope to take. Carry a mobile if you can and leave contact numbers. Also agree to call in at regular intervals, if only for the company. Ultimately, you can't be too cautious.
Don't drink and hitch
You need your wits about you at all times, so don't booze, don't smoke, don't do anything that could compromise your physical and mental state. What's more, if you lean into a car half cut, you're only reducing your chances of a pick up.
If in doubt, decline a lift
You have to trust your instincts here, so if a car pulls up and you don't like the look of the driver, or the way he behaves, then politely turn down the offer of a ride. You have everything to lose, for the sake of a ride, and chances are the next car to stop will be driven by a couple of nuns.
Establish where you're going
It's one thing to be picked up, but another to find someone who's going to the very same destination as you. You need to be crystal clear about where you want to be dropped off, and this should be established before you even set foot in the car. If possible, make a note of the number plate, and text it to someone you know - just to cover your tracks. Also pack a map, in case you're dropped off in the middle of nowhere.
Every country has different regulations about hitching lifts from public highways, some punishable by fines or imprisonment, so always check it out before you reach the roadside.