Hitchhiker's compendium,  Sage advice

How to hitchhike – part 3

Today’s focus is an issue which discourages many people from ridesharing.


Of course the matter of safety begins with choosing a proper spot and making sure that you’re visible on the road, but this I’ve mentioned before.

Now for the other aspect.

First and foremost, the most common cases of an uncomfortable feeling when being in a vehicle with a stranger concern their way of driving.

Second of all, I have never experienced a situation when I would feel uncomfortable, had second thoughts about entering a car or wanting to get off early. 99.9% of the drivers who stop are those who want to help/ talk/ meet you/ hitchhike or used to hitchhike themselves/ have kids your age and feel empathy. All in all, good people with good intentions.

Nevertheless, you must never forget about the other 0.1%. You need to know when you’re “allowed” to start feeling alarmed and how to behave if this occurs.

  • there is no obligation to get on a car if you have misgivings about it. You mustn’t get on a car if you suspect that the driver is intoxicated.
  • if your backpacks are in the trunk it’s good if one person (dawdling on purpose) stays in the car until the luggage is taken outside
  • have the most important items on you (passport, ID, money, mobile), just in case you need to leave your backpack behind
  • if the driver stops on the way (e.g. in a gas station), one person should stay close to the car
  • quite often if the driver says something like “Don’t be afraid”, you actually have a reason to start being afraid.

If something alarming is starting to go on in the car, for instance you notice that the driver leaves the route you agreed on without giving a reason, has disturbing phone calls, etc., you want to start getting off the vehicle. I don’t recommend jumping off a speeding car, there are better methods.

  • first of all, don’t panic
  • call or pretend to call a local (possibly imaginary) friend who is supposed to wait for you in a given place and let them know about all details of your ride that you can think of
  • look for a good spot to stop and ask the driver to drop you off. It’s worrying if they refuse and/ or start getting aggressive
  • faking sickness is a perfect solution. You simply ask the driver to stop asap, because you don’t want to throw up inside their car. Simple and elegant, everybody will react 😉 Another, similar way: a woman can make the driver stop at a petrol station or close to some bathroom facilities suggesting that she’s menstruating. Many men become embarrassed and will stop without any comments.
  • emergency phone number in Europe: 112
  • worst case scenario: use pepper spray. Before, make sure you don’t spray it on yourself and the current vehicle position is not too risky (the driver will lose control over the car)

Oy with the scaring already! See you later!

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