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Quick Tips on Safely Hitchhiking

Quick Tips on Safely Hitchhiking
How many times have you picked up a hitchhiker?
For many of you, probably never. If you have never picked up a hitchhiker there are likely valid reasons why you haven't. I have, but not much in the past ten years or so. That's mostly because where I drive there is very rarely anyone hitchhiking. There are some mixed feelings out there about hitchhiking. Overall it seems more feared than it once was in back in the days (i.e. the sixties or even seventies). Many times I have overheard people say that they would never pick up a hitchhiker, usually reasoning something like "just in case, better safe than never, that one time might... you never know..."

However, I have picked up hitchhikers, and had to hitchhike myself a couple of times when my car broke down. Overall I've had harmless dealings with the hitchhikers I've picked up and even met a lasting friend that way. One hitchhiker, Bonita, afterwards turned out to be my girlfriend for several years. That was a very fortunate hitchhiking experience.

I have never had a negative experience or any experience picking up hitchhikers that has dissuaded me from helping other people I feel might be in need. Yes I still use some caution when I think about picking up hitchhikers. I am almost always in the car by myself and am reluctant to pick up groups of people or generally more than one person. My reasoning is that if two and I made a mistake then those two could overpower me. I am normally reluctant to chance that although I have when the hitchhikers are a couple (man and woman).

Also if there is someone that is much bigger than me or looks very tough I am generally more cautious in picking them up and may pass the opportunity. Tricksters and Intuitive Feelings It's just a matter of following your gut feelings, your seventh sense, in learning how to be receptive to someone's vibes and even determining if you feel comfortable in picking up the person in the first place. We don't give our intuition enough credit. Although it cannot be pinpointed, our intuition often gives us clues as to whether to go ahead and pickup that stranger or pass them by. In my case I have, so far, been right in selecting those I have picked up and given a ride.

There have been no bad experiences. The trick both in hitching, and picking up hitchhikers, is to be in-tune with the subtle energy flows that seem to allow you to read someone's intentions. Although it may be nothing specific we often can tell if the person we give a ride is someone to be leery of. The vast majority of people are pure of heart and kind. However many people are also selfish and shallow and those are the ones we need to watch out for. Someone who wants to take advantage of you can learn to capitalize on people who are kindhearted but na ve. They could easily make you feel like they are really in need and you let your guard down listening and believing their story. You end up believing in their shadiness and their situation of need.

I believe this occurs successfully when the people being taken advantage of are helping out of a feeling of social obligation, rather than genuine compassion. Sometimes being truly compassionate can appear quite cruel. For instance, calling someone on their deception and smashing their facade, something that will be good for them in the long run but will ruin their charade and blow their cover when you confront them.

Some Do's & Don'ts of Etiquette Stand somewhere where it is easy for people to pull over, or at least possible. Interstate entrance or exits ramps are great, as long as there is plenty of room for deceleration and clear vision of the area. People are much more likely to pull over if they see you for a few moments prior to passing you, wherein they can have a second or two to process the decision to stop. Stick your thumb out in a relaxed, not insistent manner, facing traffic. A simple cardboard sign ("15 North") can work also. You don't have to stick your thumb out if there are no cars around. Never gesture angrily or yell at people who don't pick you up as you'll just contribute to the negative imagery of hitchhikers.

When a car pulls over, run to it on the passenger side and wait for a door to open or window to roll down. If you get an uncomfortable ('bad') vibe, politely tell the person no thanks you'll wait for the next one. Alternately you can make up an excuse to justify you not wanting a ride with them. Something like "Oh, never mind, I thought you were Jerry, I'm sorry." can even work. If they are insistent, walk away. If they continue to follow you, run away screaming or yelling and don't get in their car under any circumstances.

When you do get a ride, thank the person immediately and introduce yourself. They will probably ask you where you're going and you'll need to figure out how far they can take you. Offer a few dollars for gas money if possible. If they take you a long distance that would be especially nice, or if they seem inconvenienced too much by your presence. Try to make small talk if the situation seems to warrant it or you may sit quietly watching out the window if they prefer silence. During rides is a prime opportunity to gain knowledge about surrounding areas. You can ask the driver of the vehicle if they are from the area, what it's like, nearby areas of interest, or anything else you want to know.
People usually love to talk about such things to strangers. It makes them feel more important somehow, in a position of power, which should make them feel more at ease as they have the upper hand in the situation.

When they drop you off, thank them again by name (try to remember it if they have introduced themselves). If you don't remember, ask them their name again. If the situation seems right and you will be in the same general area as them get their contact information if you really liked them. Most importantly, have fun. Don't get discouraged if there are a lot of people that pass you by before you get your ride.

After all you are one of those hitchhikers that some people will refuse to give a ride to no matter what.***

by Cozee Cackel
Cozee is a software developer who creates websites and writes articles. Cozee collects recipes and you can add yours to the site. Download free software at the cozy computer software hangout. Cozee is also interested in traveling, not just hitchhiking.
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