One page guide to safe hitchhiking

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Hi, this should be a project page to collect and save content for safe hitchhiking. The aim of this project is to collect tips about safety by hitchhiking and produce a printable, readable, not boring .pdf file. Please feel free to edit and collect tips. - mabe

Also see Safety, and please do copy stuff back and forth.

How to


  • Introduction
    • I think it makes no sense to deny that hitchhiking is not safe in all situations. The sooner people know that and think about it, the better they can react in bad situations. So in this paper we should mention this fact. link
    • I think there are 3 levels of situations which are dependent on the driver's actions and your reactions:
  1. Before you enter the car, how to know to enter, why not enter, driver might be very kind to you so no reason why not to enter
  2. Leaving a driving car because you get a bad feeling and have recognized that the driver wants more than just to give you a lift. link
  3. I think the 3rd level is the most worst case, what can I do when really somebody wants to kill me/ to rape me/ to steal my money! I am sure that in the most cases you will not recognize this situations so fast, because the driver was very kind to you all the time and funny. He builds up a friendly relationship to you. So I even believe that to get raped must not be in a car (you know the stories about raped family members).
    • Seems to be prostitute, get out information from [1]


Just to remember, I think there is a double of more actions which are not in the news. These are just facts and make me really sad:

Some Idea of Introduction:

On earth there are living more than 6 billion people at the moment. It is not countable how many people still are active hitchhikers on earth. Maybe it is 100, maybe it is an amount of about 2000 hitchhikers. Who knows, who cares, why should I be interested in it? You should be interested because it is for your safety. It is a fact that a hitchhiking lift could not be all the time that nice as you remember them. There is a small possibility to get in a difficult situation you have to handle and where you have to act. In the following paper we have tried to collect tips/advice/informations and useful stuff for situations like that. We don't want to scare you. Hitchhiking is in most cases the most wonderful way of traveling. We want to make you strong and give you the power to react in bad situations. So please take the time to read this carefully and let us know if you have more tips or ideas.

1. Before you enter the car?

First of all hitchhiking is safe in most situations and one of the most beautiful ways of travelling. If you have not hitchhiked yet and you plan to do it in the future you should get more information about hitchhiking from the internet. There are a lot of good tips collections about hitchhiking. Here are only some good tipps. When you want to reach a far place, first write down only the first letters of the next big city. You should try to jump in steps to your place you want to go. At far distance hitchhiking, it is seldom that you will get a top lift directly to the place you want to go. You should look into the eyes from the drivers which are passing you. Mostly you can even tell it by a look that the dirver will stop his car for you. When there are highways with petrol stations you should try to get to these wonderful spots as fast as possible. From there you can easily ask the drivers like that: "Excuse me, are you driving in direction to Berlin and have some free place for taking me with you?"

If you are unsure about hitchhiking alone you should hitchhike with friends. Hitchhiking with a friend is really beautiful because it is not getting boring while standing long time and you can change while somebody talks with the driver and the other can find rest and maybe sleep in the back of the car. If you find nobody for hitchhiking with you, try to get in contact with somebody on the internet. For example you can find a black board on or the international mailing lists where you can connect to other hitch hikers.


We want to give you reasons here, why not enter a car even when it is raining, you have stood two hours in one place and your are pissed of because all the drivers before didn't want to take you and a car has stopped in front of you. The first talk with the driver is very important and shows you a lot if the driver wants you to take for some other reason with the car. You should never just jump into the car without making a little talk with the driver. During the talk you should go trough your checklist in your head like that: Where is the driver going? Which way will he go through? Where can you leave the car at a good hitchhiking spot to get maybe a second lift? Is the driver drunk? Is there more than one person in the car? Where can I put my stuff? Is the driver kind and helpful? Does it really make sense to go with the driver or is it maybe better just to stay? Should I write down the number plate of the car?

At the first time it is good to be at distance to the driver. You are in a better position. You don't have to take the first lift. When you feel uncomfortable about going with the driver just say NO. Another car will surely come. You can try to say NO in situations where you are sure to get another lift.

This all sounds really easy when you remember these hectic situations where you just jumped in because there have been a lot of cars around and the driver wants to start the car again. You should really learn to get cool and easy. There is no reason to stress. The really best way for cool hitchhiking is to start from a petrol station or to get a lift to such a start point as fast as possible. On a petrol station the drivers are more relaxed and you can get an overview really easy.

2. Leaving a car?

The best is not to let it come to the worst case. Many long-term hitchhikers learn over time to get out of the car early on when something like sexual harassment, or strange, disconcertening remarks happen, even if it is just to avoid a bad mood. For many long-term hitchhikers being with good people becomes more important than "getting there". Many less experienced hitchhikers will think it is impolite to ask to get out for no reason, or will just want to continue the journey, because they already waited so long. It is important to do what you can to recognize what could be early signs of something going potentially seriously wrong, and get out of the car in a polite manner, while you still can.

The situation is there that you feel not comfortable anymore with the driver. Your feeling tells you to better leave the car. There can be different reasons for leaving a car like the driver is drunken, the driver is not driving the direction he wanted to go, the driver is driving really fast and scary, the driver touches your legs all the time, the driver asked you for sex... In any way, the reason why you have a strange feeling is not that important. Important is that you listen to that feeling and try to get out of the car. You should act cool and overstanding(???). Don't let the driver see that you are unsure. Simply tell the driver to stop the car. A good stop for the car is a place like a petrol station, bus station something where you are not alone when you leave the car. You should train and try to leave a car on normal hitchhiking lifts. For the most people it is not that easy to lie in that way because before you told an other aim where you want to go. You should not care about lying. When it seems that the driver doesn't want to stop at that place you have said it is time for you to start acting in any way.

First of all try to make you visible for other people. Write a SMS or make a direct phone call to a friend and tell him the important facts about the driver, where you are and in which car you are sitting. When you have no mobile phone and it makes no sense to make a call because you are traveling in foreign countries try to get noticed by other car drivers. You can hold a paper with the word "HELP" out of the window or just open the window and try to get in conntact with other car drivers. The most important advantage for you is that the car driver has to concentrate on the street. The driver will not be able to punish you and at the same time drive the car with 100 km/h on a highway. You can try to make the driver nervous and do strange things like laughing, screaming or destroying the drivers car. You can try to get into the back of the car because there you are less reachable for the driver, but be careful because some cars have these kid's locks. You can burn a paper in the car and make a fire inside. You can try to open the door (but with seatbelt on). With your feet you have a big power so why not break the door or the window. You can also try to get the key from the car because in the most cars the car will stop and not be moveable with the steering wheel any more. If the driver stops, maybe because of a traffic light or because he is confused, you should try to leave the car and run away. Don't care about your big stuff (it is good to have the most important things like id-card, money and so on all the time with you). When you run away you should try to find your way to other people. When you have the time to write down the letters from the serial number plate.

3. What to do in the worst case?

The worst case could be that the driver started to hassle you and doesn't want to stop anymore. Maybe the driver has even hurt you. It is really time for you to recognize that you are in trouble and for sure the driver will you not let you go just because you said you want to leave the car. Concentrate on getting out of the car as fast as possible and don't care about your stuff anymore.

If the driver is stronger than you, maybe it is not a good idea to start attacking the driver physically because you will get back harder hits. When you want to hit somebody think about where you want to make a hit beforehand. Where to hit a man should be clear. Of course there are some other places like pushing your fingers into the eyes of the other person or trying to bite in ears or nose. (de:diesen part sollte man wirklich mal verlängern und vielleicht mal bei selbstverteidgungskursen für frauen abchecken|en:This part should be expanded and probably referenced with women' self defense courses.)

To feel safer you can also take a pepper spray with you that you can use. You can also use a lighter and a deodorant or just pure deodorant. In any way you should know that your enemy could also use your stuff against you. Also for pepper spray you should be carefull because in some countries they are forbidden and you can get in trouble at the border.

If you have no doubts what the driver wants from you:

  • throw things out of the car
  • grab the steering wheel
  • pull the handbrake ***DO NOT try this, as it will result in a crash.
  • have with you a "Help" sign and hold it to the window
  • let out a guffaw, use the element of surprise
  • pretend to have an epileptic fit
  • open the door during the ride and try to break the door with your feet (only belted up)
  • turn on the hazard lights / the flashing light / honk
  • be careful while jumping out of a truck; be aware of the height