Published on Sep 19, 2011
Ever hitched a ride? Probably not. Why? Because it's dangerous? Any statistics to back that up? NO! Of course not! It's just dangerous...everybody knows that. There's a certain percentage of crazies, criminals, and murders out there and that number hasn't changed significantly throughout the course of human history. It's also a very small number of people. In the course of a typical ride a normal person picks up a normal person who needs a ride into town. This is called being nice, or doing someone a favor.
In the towns around the AT, hitchhiking is still an accepted practice. It's how hikers get to town. Even though town may be just a few miles off-trail, that's a few miles that don't count toward the 2000+ a thru-hiker has to trek. So hikers hitch-hike. It's because we're "lazy" after having walked 15 to 20 miles through the mountains.
The problem is that hitchhiking has become demonized. Horror stories abound and there are plenty of movies depicting scenarios where someone attacks someone. Ever see Disturbia? Does that mean you're afraid to live in the suburbs?
To raise awareness, I've put together a list of do's and don'ts to make things go smoothly:
- Stop for hitchhikers that don't appear to have weapons or drug abuse problems
- Roll down the window or offer the bed of your truck for smelly hikers.
- Hitchhike from a place where the road only goes to one place. There's no confusing where you're going, and there's no reason not to stop.
- Wave hello (if you're not stopping, you're an a**hole, so don't pretend to be otherwise)
- Yell or gun your engine.
Hitchhiking is common in many advanced societies. Here are a list of reasons why you should support it:
- It's Green
- It's Healthy
- You meet new people
- It's good karma
Imagine this scenario: You stop for a hitchhiker. This takes about 30 seconds. That person probably is going to walk about 1/2 mile on either side of your ride, thus getting daily exercise and reducing obesity in America. They entertain you, tell you stories, expand your knowledge of the world, and make your ride more bearable. Your helpfulness has allowed them to live without a car, thus reducing their carbon footprint and making the air you breath cleaner. You drop them off. This takes another 30 seconds. You have done a good deed. You feel better about yourself. All is well in the world.
Consider this alternate scenario: You see a hitchhiker weary from walking on the hot asphalt. You are to busy to waste 1 minute of your life on a fellow human being. You honk at him as you respond to a text. You swerve into the shoulder, hit a blow-out tire and careen uncontrollably into a tree. The Hitchhiker walks by and waves hello to you as he continues on. He is too busy to hold a pressure dressing on your bleeding head. Since nobody will give him a ride, he has to walk the 3 miles into town and doesn't have time to deal with you.
- There's no place to pull over!
- Solution: Look behind you. No cars? Then you don't need to pull over.
- You smell!
- Solution: The bed of your truck seems empty. Or you could roll down the window.
- You could be a bad person!
- Solution: Highly unlikely. However, if you're concerned, that's what the bed of your truck is for.
- I don't have the time!
- Solution: You seriously can't spare 60 seconds?
- I would but.....
- Solution: Stop making excuses, they're as useful as tits on a bull.