Difference between revisions of "Hitchhiking"

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(again clarification: (also called ''lifting'' or ''thumbing'' or, universally in several Languages around the world, ''auto-stop'' with different pronunciations))
 
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'''Hitchhiking''' (also called ''lifting'' or ''thumbing'') is a form of [[transport]], in which the traveller tries to get a lift (ride) from another traveller, usually a [[automobile|car]] or [[truck]] driver.
+
'''Hitchhiking''' (also called ''lifting'' or ''thumbing'' or, universally in several Languages around the world, ''auto-stop'' with different pronunciations) is a form of transport, in which the traveller tries to get a lift (a ride) from another traveller, usually a car or truck driver, for free. This wiki contains a lot of information about hitchhiking: [[Where to hitchhike|where to start]], practical info on how to do it, pictures and much much more. If you've never hitchhiked before and you want to try it out you should check out the article hitchhiking for the [[first time hitchhiking|first time]].
  
The distance covered may vary from a short distance that could also be walked, to a long journey involving many rides. Those who choose to hitchhike usually do so for one of two reasons: necessity (no funds, no transportation) or [[adventure]] ([[serendipity|serendipitous]] travel, meet new and unexpected people)
+
[[File:Img l 1306483.jpg|thumb|250px|right|Hitchhiker in the UK]]
 +
Contrary to popular opinion there are a lot of hitchhikers, all over the world, even in the [[United States of America|United States]]. There are people like [[User:Irvthom|Irv Thomas]] whose hitchhike experiences span more than half a century. Hitchhiking is a very common means of transport
 +
in most less affluent countries (although often a form of payment is
 +
expected). Hitchhiking is probably as old as the wheel and will
 +
probably exist as long as people need to move from one place to
 +
another.
  
Hitchhiking is forbidden in some areas, such as near [[prison]]s. In some cases, a local government may ban it altogether. Certain [[United States|US]] states have created conditional bans, such as [[Utah]], [[Pennsylvania]], [[New Jersey]] and [[Nevada]]; it is frequently illegal on the actual shoulder of [[Interstate highway | Interstate highways]], but usually not from the highway on-ramp (entrance).
+
There has been surprisingly little scientific research on hitchhiking,
 +
so it's really hard to say come up with any hard statements on the
 +
rise or demise of hitchhiking. There is a nice community of hitchhikers in
 +
Europe, and it seems to be growing. It's sort of going hand in hand
 +
with the [[finding accommodation|hospitality exchange]] movement. Some try to link this
 +
to the much larger (and economically highly influential) movement of
 +
free software and free information (think GNU/Linux and Wikipedia),
 +
and there is huge potential in this sense. If we want it or
 +
not, internet will be in people's pockets and most of our locations
 +
are already easily tracked. Link this to the potential [[trust]]
 +
available in online social networks (friends of friends), the rising
 +
prices of petrol and the lower need to be in one location and
 +
hitchhiking could be just at the start of a global come-back.
  
''The base of this article was published in [http://www.wikipedia.org Wikipedia] under the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitchhiking same title]''
+
[[The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking|People will participate because]] it's ecological, others because of the economical aspects. Numerous people pick up hitchhikers is means of getting a
 +
bit of excitement in their life. For some hitchhiking starts as a form
 +
of extremely cheap transport and then it turns into a lifestyle
 +
that allows to do amazing and useful things without being trapped
 +
in an office 5 days a week. Some people have
 +
this idea that hitchhikers are stinky bums. Of course, at (rare)
 +
times hitchhikers can be on the road for more than 24 hours and feel the need for a
 +
shower, but others are traveling equipped with laptops, mobile phones, a fresh shave and shower and GPS devices.
  
== Method ==
+
There are several types of hitchhiking.
 +
* traveling by road motor vehicles: [[hitchhiking a car|cars]], [[hitchhiking a truck|trucks]], [[hitchhiking a bus|buses]].
  
To obtain a lift in many parts of the world, including [[North America]], hitchhikers traditionally stretch out one arm and stick out their thumb. Car drivers understand this to be a sign that the person requests a lift. A hitchhiker may also hold a sign with the name of their destination. This is primarily for the benefit of truck drivers, so that the driver does not have to stop their large vehicle to find out where the hitchhiker is headed.
+
* traveling by train, either the risky act of [[train hopping]] or, as is sometimes possible, with the permission of the engineer or conductor.
  
In some areas, other signals may be used. (This may be because the traditional [[gesture]] with the thumb has an offensive meaning in that region.) For example, in [[South Africa]], a hitchhiker may show an oncoming car the back of his hand with the index finger raised, rather than the thumb. In [[Poland]], the hand is held flat, and waved. In [[India]], the hand is waved with the palm facing downwards. In [[Israel]] the sign is a stretched forefinger pointed toward the road.
+
* traveling by ocean vessel, often called [[hitchhiking a boat|boathitching]]
  
Often nothing is given or performed in exchange for the lift, but some hitchhikers will contribute money for [[fuel]] and others will feel the provision of company on the trip is itself a worthy contribution. (This would not normally be the case when getting a ride in a commercial vehicle, such as a cargo [[truck]].)
+
* traveling by air: planes and helicopters, also called [[hitchhiking a plane|airhitching]]
  
== Reasons ==
+
Please check [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitchhiking Wikipedia's article for more encyclopaedic information about hitchhiking].
 +
[[Category:General info]]
  
A hitchhiker may have several reasons to travel in this way, amongst them:
+
[[de:Trampen]]
 
+
[[es:Como hacer dedo]]
* not being able to afford alternative means of transportation;
+
[[fr:Auto-stop]]
* where no [[public transport]] is available and one has no own vehicle available; one can distinguish:
+
[[he:טרמפ]]
** there is no public transport at all;
 
** there is no public transport at the time one wants or needs to travel:
 
*** public transport is very infrequent;
 
*** the last [[bus]] or [[train]] of the day goes very early;
 
*** one misses the last bus or train;
 
* because of social equality reasons (semi-force vehicle owners who would not normally use public transport to share the ride with the public by "bringing the bus to muhammad);
 
* because of ecological and political reasons (reducing dependency on fossil fuels);
 
* for the challenge of using limited resources to reach a destination;
 
* for the sense of adventure that not knowing where you will be at the end of the day presents;
 
* for the sheer and simple love of it (many hitchhikers are known to become pasionately enthusiastic about this mode of travel);
 
 
 
A mixture of the first two reasons is when the only alternative is an expensive [[taxicab|taxi]].
 
 
 
Car drivers may also have several reasons to give lifts, for instance because:
 
* they want companionship;
 
* they have hitchhiked themselves and know how hard it can be;
 
* simple good will;
 
* Requests for drugs and/or sex;
 
* a sense of social responsibility (e.g. sharing resources, filling single occupant vehicles);
 
 
 
Hitchhiking is often resorted to by stranded motorists or people without money or transportation such as the homeless while others engage in it as a passion or even sport.
 
 
 
== Reputation ==
 
 
 
Although most hitchhiking occurs without incident, it has a bad reputation with some people. Some criminals who prey on the good will of others to rob or molest have masqueraded as hitchhikers to procure victims, or picked up unsuspecting hitchhikers themselves. There is some dispute as to whether it is actually less safe to hitchhike now than in the past, or if simply more reporting increases the visibility of negative examples - see [[#Safety]] below.
 
 
 
This appears to be restricted to the western world however. For example, many eastern European governments firmly supported hitchhikers and in many eastern European and developing nations it is still a very mundane and ordinary occurrence, with hitchhikers a part of the ordinary social landscape, in some places crowding one another out waiting for rides.
 
 
 
Any number of [[urban legend]]s are told about hitchhiking, in which either the hitchhiker or the car driver may take on the role of a [[bogeyman]]. For example, some stories have the driver as a [[ghost]], or the hitchhiker as an escaped convict. The folklorist [[Jan Harold Brunvand]] wrote an entire book titled ''[[The Vanishing Hitchhiker]]'', using the ''Vanishing Hitchhiker'' legend (''references'') as his prototype.
 
 
 
== Chances of getting a ride ==
 
 
 
There are many things to consider that affect the hitchhiker's chances of catching a ride.  Some of these include:
 
 
 
'''Traffic density:''' Catching a ride does of course depend on there being people to offer one.  If someone is trying to hitchhike and only sees a vehicle go by every half-hour, it may be to their advantage to walk to a more frequently travelled road.  There does however appear to be a maximum as well.  Once the frequency of the traffic becomes too high, the chance of someone stopping actually appears to drop.  This may occur for various reasons:
 
* Heavy traffic makes stopping more dangerous, so one may feel less inclined to do so;
 
* Often, areas with heavy traffic include a large number of local vehicles that are not going any significant distance;
 
* People may not feel as compelled to pick up a passenger if there are a large number of vehicles on the road, thinking that someone else will pick them up anyway;
 
 
 
'''Traffic speed:'''  The actual speed of the traffic plays a major role in the chances of someone stopping.  If a vehicle is moving at high speed, it takes considerably more effort to stop and then get back up to speed than it does if they are moving at a slower pace to start with.  For this reason, one of the best places to catch a ride is immediately after an intersection or any other place where vehicles are forced to stop or slow down.
 
 
 
'''Road condition:'''  In order for someone to stop and pick up a passenger, the road must offer a relatively safe means of doing so.  Most drivers will pull over to the shoulder of the road if one is available.  If there is no place for a driver to pull off of the road, then the traffic needs to be light enough that one can stop in the road without obstructing it.
 
 
 
'''Presentation:'''  The way a hitchhiker presents themselves is another major factor in how likely they are to catch a ride.  Usually, someone's chance of catching a ride is far greater if they look clean and non-threatening.  Standing in the well-lit place offers drivers a good chance to look at you before stopping.  Showing one's destination (by holding a sign for instance) will also help.  In the case of a longer journey, having [[backpack]] visible tells drivers that you are a serious [[backpacker]], not a local, seeking to get a short ride. (this is important in less developed countries, where hitching complements regular public transportation)
 
 
 
'''Weather:''' A little bit of rain or other precipitation can work in the hitchhiker's favor, since many drivers will feel sorrier for the hitchhiker. Too much, however, can hurt the hitchhiker's chances, because drivers will be less eager to have a wet passenger getting their car seats wet or muddy.
 
 
 
== Hitchhiking in literature ==
 
 
 
The writer [[Jack Kerouac]] immortalized hitchhiking in his book ''[[On The Road]]''. The road has a fascination to Americans; countless writers have written of the road and/or hitchhiking such as [[John Steinbeck]], whose book ''[[The Grapes of Wrath]]'' opens with a hitched ride. [[Roald Dahl]] wrote a short story called ''The Hitchhiker'', in which he uses the idea that you can hear fascinating stories when giving people a lift to introduce one of his trade-mark eccentric characters. Another lesser known author, a lifetime hitchhiker named [[Irv Thomas]], incorporates hitchhiking into his writing perspective and lifestyle [Innocence Abroad: Adventuring Through Europe at 64 on $100 Per Week], as well as recounting his hitchhiking travels [Derelict Days] in a memoir. [[Douglas Adams]] postulated on interstellar hitchhiking in his [[cult following|cult classic]] [[The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy]].
 
 
 
An avid researcher into the phenomenon of hitchhiking, [[Bernd Wechner]] [http://bernd.wechner.info], has compiled an extensive literature on hitchhiking comprising many hundreds of works from newspaper articles, to research papers and books. A good body of this work is scanned and can be shared electronically with other researchers. The beginnings of a project to make this library available on-line to researchers (in as far as copyright owners permit this) appears on-line [http://bernd.wechner.info/Hitchhiking/]. The scanned library has been converted to text with [[Optical character recognition|OCR]] software, but volunters are required to adopt individual works, proof read and copy edit them, for re-publication on-line. Contact Bernd Wechner for further information [http://bernd.wechner.info/mail.html].
 
 
 
== Safety ==
 
 
 
The safety of hitchhiking varies from country to country. It's rumoured that the most dangerous country for hitchhiking in [[Europe]] is [[Poland]]. In the United States, where hitchhiking had been a fairly common means to travel from one location to another well into the 1970s, especially among younger people, the practice has greatly declined in the past several decades to the point that is extremely rare to see people hitchhiking in the US today, in part because of the supposition that it is unsafe.
 
 
 
There have been very few efforts to objectively study the safety of hitchhiking. Two notable efforts include:
 
 
 
''California Crimes and Accidents Assciated with Hitchhiking'', Operational Analysis Section, California Highway Patrol (CHP), 1974
 
Conclusion: the results of this study do not show that hitchhikers are over-represented in crimes or accidents beyond their numbers. When considering statistics for all crimes and accidents in California, it appears that hitchhikers make a minor contribution.
 
 
 
''Anhalterwesen und Anhaltergefahren'', BKA-Forschungsreihe, Sonderband, Wiesbaden, 1989
 
Conclusion: The current study has demonstrated, that the potential danger while hithchiking is significantly lower that it is estimated to be and therefore the sharing of rides by and with strangers can very well be included in transport planning.
 
 
 
Neither work was highly publicized. The authors of the German study, easily the most recent and comprehensive study suggest very real efforts to suppress and discredit their results. Such is the apparent strength of the conviction that hitchhiking '''must''' be unsafe, that objective evidence is anything but popularized and lauded.
 
 
 
In summary: there is a dominant belief that hitchhiking is dangerous, but every effort to find actual evidence of this danger objectively has been unable to do so.
 
 
 
==[[Future of Hitchiking]]==
 
 
 
The widespread use of location reporting [[mobile phones]] combined with [[social networking]] will likely engender a resurgence of hitchiking.
 
 
 
== Miscellaneous ==
 
 
 
Hitchhiking is often combined with other cheap forms of transportation, such as [[walking]] or travelling by [[bus]] or [[train]].
 
 
 
In [[Poland]], during the [[communism|communist]] regime period, hitchhiking was institutionalized. Many people would have a formal document for recording travels and they would give the driver confirmation that the travel occurred. Soviet Union instituted coupon system that benefited the driver. It was probably similar in other communist countries. Hitchhiking was likely considered much safer in Poland at that time. In [[Cuba]], truck drivers are still obliged to pick up hitchhikers. And in [[Romania]] hitchhiking is so much part of the culture that it's often hard to get a lift due to the intense competition.
 
 
 
In [[Eastern Europe]], especially [[Lithuania]] and [[Russia]] hitchhiking turns into adventure sport. There are Hitchhiking clubs with regular gatherings, hitchhiking schools, competitions, hitchhiking gear, etc. From 1992 to 1993 Russian hitchhiker [[Alexey Vorov]] made a first trip around the world, hitchhiking by cars, planes and boats.
 
 
 
== External links and references ==
 
 
 
*[http://www.wikitravel.org/en/article/Tips_for_hitchhiking Tips for hitchhiking] at [[Wikitravel]]
 
*[http://www.hitchbase.com/index.php?LANG=eng Worldwide Database of places for Hitchhikers]
 
*[http://www.snopes.com/horrors/ghosts/vanish.htm The Vanishing Hitchhiker urban legend]
 
*[http://www.digihitch.com/ digihitch.com - A hitchhiking culture portal]
 
*[http://www.hitchhikers.org/ Board for offering and setting up rides in advance]
 
*[http://www.autostop.lt/ Vilnius Hitch-hiking Club - leading hitchhiking community in EU]
 
*[http://www.artoftravel.com/ The Art of Travel - Hitchhiking]
 
*[http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/hitch_hiking Suite101 : Hitchhiking]
 
*[http://www.socresonline.org.uk/6/3/chesters.html The Neglected Art of Hitch- hiking: Risk, Trust and Sustainability]  by Graeme Chesters and David Smith (2001)
 
*[http://www.trampstop.de Trampstop - Hitchhiking in Germany]
 
*[http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hitching/ Hitchhiking Mailinglist]
 
*[http://www.pcpros.net/~oleson/lrindex.html The Hitchhiker's Guide to North America]
 
*[http://www.roadjunky.com/cheaptravel/hitchhiketao.shtml Mini-Guide to Hitchhiking] The psychology of thumbing a ride
 
*[http://www.tomthumb.org/travelbooks.shtml Hitchhiking from England to India] Free, full-length book
 
 
 
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Latest revision as of 15:28, 7 September 2016

Hitchhiking (also called lifting or thumbing or, universally in several Languages around the world, auto-stop with different pronunciations) is a form of transport, in which the traveller tries to get a lift (a ride) from another traveller, usually a car or truck driver, for free. This wiki contains a lot of information about hitchhiking: where to start, practical info on how to do it, pictures and much much more. If you've never hitchhiked before and you want to try it out you should check out the article hitchhiking for the first time.

Hitchhiker in the UK

Contrary to popular opinion there are a lot of hitchhikers, all over the world, even in the United States. There are people like Irv Thomas whose hitchhike experiences span more than half a century. Hitchhiking is a very common means of transport in most less affluent countries (although often a form of payment is expected). Hitchhiking is probably as old as the wheel and will probably exist as long as people need to move from one place to another.

There has been surprisingly little scientific research on hitchhiking, so it's really hard to say come up with any hard statements on the rise or demise of hitchhiking. There is a nice community of hitchhikers in Europe, and it seems to be growing. It's sort of going hand in hand with the hospitality exchange movement. Some try to link this to the much larger (and economically highly influential) movement of free software and free information (think GNU/Linux and Wikipedia), and there is huge potential in this sense. If we want it or not, internet will be in people's pockets and most of our locations are already easily tracked. Link this to the potential trust available in online social networks (friends of friends), the rising prices of petrol and the lower need to be in one location and hitchhiking could be just at the start of a global come-back.

People will participate because it's ecological, others because of the economical aspects. Numerous people pick up hitchhikers is means of getting a bit of excitement in their life. For some hitchhiking starts as a form of extremely cheap transport and then it turns into a lifestyle that allows to do amazing and useful things without being trapped in an office 5 days a week. Some people have this idea that hitchhikers are stinky bums. Of course, at (rare) times hitchhikers can be on the road for more than 24 hours and feel the need for a shower, but others are traveling equipped with laptops, mobile phones, a fresh shave and shower and GPS devices.

There are several types of hitchhiking.

  • traveling by train, either the risky act of train hopping or, as is sometimes possible, with the permission of the engineer or conductor.
  • traveling by air: planes and helicopters, also called airhitching

Please check Wikipedia's article for more encyclopaedic information about hitchhiking.