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* [http://girls.hitchbase.com Hitchhiking as a female] - Guide
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<!-- [[File:Bundespolizei AT Warnweste rueckenansicht.jpg|thumb|right|250px|Police safety vest. Consider wearing something similar at night (well, probably without the Polizei text).]] Picture is missing ~~~~ -->
You should make sure you are standing along a safe portion of road, as far back from the travelled portion of the road as possible (on the unimproved portion of the road shoulder). Make sure that you are visible to drivers from a good distance (100 meters or more is ideal) to allow them time to 1) decide if they want to pick you up and 2) safely pull to the side of the road.
Wear bright, visible clothes, especially while walking on the road! Consider wearing a bright reflecting safety vest. At night time use reflectors and carry a small torch. You can purchase these often at petrol stations and supermarkets. Carry these in your backpack at all times: even if you are not planning to hitchhike during the darkness. Make sure you are visible from both sides. Attach reflectors to your backpack for example.
Awareness on the part of a hitchhiker will keep him or her from accepting dangerous rides- for example, a driver travelling under the influence of [[alcohol]] or narcotics. Examine the driver and vehicle. If there are signs of intoxication (slurred or erratic speech, no eye contact, open alcohol containers) do NOT get in the vehicle. Refuse the ride.
Talk to the driver before getting in the car! This way you make sure the ride offered is one that you would like to take, and that it will end at a safe spot to stop. Ask the driver before getting in their car: Where are you going? Can you drop me off at a service area or other safe place near your destination? A rhetoric question like "Are you going north" and the
drivers reaction can give you some information about him or her. Dropping humour into your brief conversation is a good way of gauging a persons personality as well. '''Trust your instincts!''' If you do not feel comfortable accepting the ride, thank the driver and say no. Walk away.
== [[Women hitchhiking]] ==
[[File:Parnu-riga.jpg|thumb|left|200px|[[User:Amylin|Amylin]] hitching to [[Riga]] in the snow]]
For women, hitchhiking seems to be
more risky. But it is not really. Many men are reporting the same degree of violation as women. If most reported cases of murder or rape of hitchhikers involve women hitchhiking alone, it is because men are less likely to report rapes , and murders are not getting the label of "hitch-hiking-murders" as often with male victims. <!--- I think we should link to [[Pippa]] here :( ~~~~ -->
Hitchhiking as a woman can be easier though. Often, women stop for other women or girls. Even families (or other usual-not-hitch-hiker-friendly car owners) stop to "save" women from a situation in which they think she could be in "danger".
Read more at the Hitchwiki page on [[Women hitchhiking|Female Hitchhikers]
], as well as this guide for Women hitchhikers at [http://girls.hitchbase.com girls.hitchbase.com].
== Top tips for safety ==
* If getting in a truck or car driving long-distance, maybe to where you want to go, including sleeping in the truck with the driver. Never tell yes to go all way from the beginning. Say you are going to visit a friend in a city on the way and then when you get a feeling of safety with the driver tell him that you will visit your friend some other time and go all the way now.
* If there are other houses or people in sight, you can wave to them or pretend to say goodbye to a friend. The driver will think that somebody has seen you getting into their car.
* Always trust your instincts.
But '' don't panic''!* Try to be good conversation for the driver for tips see [[etiquette]]* Hitchhike with someone you know. On hitchhike forums (such as at [ http://couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=12 the CS group], or [http://www.jayride.co.nz Jayride] for [[New Zealand|NZ]] you can find other hitchhikers.
* It might a good idea to get yourself some [[pepper spray]], just in case. But it can be illegal to carry in some parts of the world so be aware. Also it might not be a good idea to use in a closed space as you'd get a good dose of pepper yourself. There are also canisters of ''pepper gel'' which emit a stream of gel instead of a spray mist, which could save you in enclosed spaces.
Don't use pepper spray while the car is in motion. Blinding the driver will probably result in a crash.
=== Road safety ===
* Wear well visible [[appearance|clothes]], stand at a safe spot, be careful while walking on the road.
* If it starts raining, standing under a tree is an option. <!-- ?? -->
* Aim to leave the vehicle at a safe spot.
*Do not hitchhike on the highways in western countries. People will not notice you, thus they will not pick you up and there have been accidents. It is very dangerous and often illegal, too.
== Choose your drivers ==
One of the safest ones to get a lift from is the truck drivers. You sit far away from the driver. You are always able to open the door if needed (just don't jump while the truck is moving if you like your life moving again). Big trucks in [[Western Europe]] anyway also have a sensor on their trucks that let their boss know exactly where they are. Going off the road or stopping for some minutes and the boss will be all over the case, calling on the phone...
This is not always the case however. In [[Australia]], truck drivers drive long distances on one lane highways and are often overworked. This can lead to dangerous driving conditions and bad experiences.
== Leaving the vehicle early ==
== Hitching in Extreme Climates ==
The climate poses an entirely separate danger to
hitch hikers. As a hitch hiker you may find yourself in the situation of being stuck in an extremely hot or cold place, both of which are potentially fatal if not dealt with appropriately.
=== Extreme Cold ===
:''See [[Winter]] for more information.''
Driving in the cold can be particularly risky, let alone
hitch hiking. If travelling a long distance, it is advisable to have a backup plan, to avoid being stuck outside at night. If there is a significant chance of being stuck outdoors for a long time, then you must take precautions. Having plenty of warm clothes, hat, gloves and thick boots are a must for the day time. If there is a risk of being stuck outside at night, try finding a host, either on the internet prior to leaving, or else at a hostel if there is one. You should bring money with you for emergencies. If you absolutely must sleep outside, then you will need to acquire a heavy sleeping bag - a 5 season sleeping bag is not too expensive. Be sure to set up camp in a covered area - such as in a forest or under a shelter, and make sure it is sheltered from the wind. A gas lamp will also assist in heating you up. You might want to learn how to start a fire
=== Extreme Heat ===
The extreme heat poses a great risk of dehydration and
sun stroke in the summer months in many countries in the world. You absolutely must bring plenty of drinking water. Try to have no less than 4L of water with you per day. If there is a risk of being stuck in direct sunlight for a long time, bring sun screen, and perhaps also an umbrella, particularly if there are not many trees around.
== See also ==
* [[Picking up hitchhikers]], for drivers
* [[One page guide to safe hitchhiking|Safety pdf]] - a project to create a one-page guide to safe hitchhiking
* [http://wegwijzer.be/dossier/veilig-liften PDF guide about hitchhiking safety] - A complete guidebook about safety, including how to jump from a moving vehicle
* [http://www.yourworldyourhome.com/hhsafe/ is Hitchhiking safe?]