How long is it since, if ever, you picked up a hitchhiker while driving your car? A better question may be when was the last time you actually saw a hitchhiker?
No thumbs up
We are all familiar with the site of people showing their special plates to attract the attention of other professionals to give them a lift but the sight of a student, rucksack et al, at the side of the road thumbing a lift has virtually disappeared. Figures just released by the AA explain why.
Difference in attitudes
In a survey of over 16,000 of its members only 1 in 10 said they would stop to pick up a hitchhiker, with only 1 in 100 saying they had hitched a lift themselves in the last year. Only two years ago 1 in 4 members said they would stop for a hitchhiker but it seems personal security has become much more of an issue in the last 24 months. Drivers who had vehicle insurance did have a different attitude to helping fellow drivers who were in distress. Over 6 in 10 said they would stop to help a fellow driver if they thought they could help the situation and it was safe to stop, even 45% of females questioned said they would do this.
Provincial drivers more willing
The people most likely to stop for strangers were motorists who drove professionally, typically a driver covered by online van insurance. However, it was quite apparent from the survey that English drivers were far more reluctant to pick up hitchhikers than their counterparts in the provinces. In fact, 12% of Welsh drivers said they would probably stop, double the number of motorists in the London area who would do the same.
New age travellers organise their lift from home
The survey also revealed just why hitchhikers are becoming a rare sight. The big majority of young motorists have never even tried hitchhiking, only 7% said they had hitchhiked which is seven times less than middle aged motorists. Apparently today’s equivalent of hitchhiking is lift sharing which can be organised from home using the World Wide Web. There is no doubt that this is somewhat safer and a lot more comfortable. Police advise hitchhikers to carry a phone with them at all times and to leave details of the route they are taking with friends and relatives.