I’ve made these observations over the last few months; I thought people might find them funny/interesting…
- People are inherently friendly. I don’t think there are a greater percentage of psychos out there, but maybe accessibility to cars these days means that there are more on the road. I think that the “don’t speak to strangers” ideal of our mothers has made people more paranoid.
- Trucks are goldmines, but near impossible to stop. The best place to get them is at on-ramps after trucks stops when they’re still in low gear (unless you solicit for rides at the actual truck stops…which I refuse to do as I feel it encourages aggressive hitching). If they think for a second about picking you up, this is the place where they still have the possibility to do it. Company trucks aren’t meant to pick up hitchers, but a lot still will. Fishing for a long truck ride is a gamble because you will miss all the regular traffic on the highway.
- A smile goes a long way. I’ve been picked up because I had white teeth and I ‘obviously’ took pride in my teeth. Eye contact shows social ability, people won’t pick up someone if they think they can’t hold a conversation.
- Having a sign can be good or bad. No sign means you get people stopping out of curiosity to see if they can possibly help you out (and any lift is a good one). Having a sign gets people to pay more attention to you as they drive past, but often they will only stop if they can drive you right to where you are going.
- Hitching rides has a very steep learning curve. You learn very quickly what works and what doesn’t, and you gain a feel for what sort of ride you can expect.
- Hitching is an unbelievable test of character. What sort of mood will you be in after standing for 2 hours in the same place?
- It pays to look entertaining. Stay in a good mood by singing/dancing/juggling rocks/whatever. If you look unsociable then you won’t get a lift. So stay happy, appreciate the sunshine and stay confident about the next car.
- The people picking you up are putting as much faith in you as you are in them.
- Look over every car before getting in, be decisive and not stupid. If you have doubts you can always send the car on its way before getting yourself in trouble.
- Most people who pick you up are lonely. The want to tell you something, if you give them your ear then they’ll take you further than they intended.
- The VAST majority of people who pick you up are men; I’ve had close to 50 lifts across the country and only one female so far.
- Be friendly EVERYWHERE you go. You always see the same people on the road; if you’re friendly with people in gas stations then they’ll usually pick you up 5 minutes later on the highway. Same goes for car/passenger boats; if you talk to as many people as possible you’ll always get a ride right off the boat just by standing with your thumb out when the cars are leaving.
- The hitching loop is small. You always meet the same hitchers on the road, either by leapfrogging each other on the highway, or by getting the same lifts.
- Rules of Thumb
- 1 female = no problem.
- 2 females = DEFINITELY no problem.
- 1 male, 1 female = no problem.
- 1 male = little harder but no problem.
- 2 males = don’t bother.
Dirty hitching techniques I’ve learned of include…
- Walking along the highway carrying an empty can of gas. People will pick you up thinking you need a ride to a gas station.
- Having a sign with a location in the wrong direction. People will stop to tell you you’re on the wrong side of the road, this is when you hop in for a lift to where you really want to go.
There are always exceptions, I successfully hitchhiked across Prince Edward Island in a group of four…