Hitchhiking

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Hitchhiking (also known as thumbing, tramping, hitching, autostop or thumbing up a ride) is a means of transportation that is gained by asking people, usually strangers, for a ride in their automobile or other road vehicle to travel a distance that may either be short or long. The latter may require many rides from different people; a ride is usually but not always free. If one wishes to indicate that they need a ride, they must simply make a hand gesture. In North America, the gesture is to stick one of their thumbs upward. In other parts of the world, it is more common to use a gesture where the index finger is pointed at the road. This cultural difference stems partly from an alternate offensive meaning for the thumbs up gesture in parts of Europe and Asia.

Contents

Legal status

Hitchhiking is an historically common practice worldwide, and hence there are very few places in the world where laws exist to restrict it. However, a minority of countries have laws that restrict hitchhiking at certain locations.[1] In the United States, for example, some local governments have laws to outlaw hitchhiking, with safety being the stated reason. In 1946, New Jersey arrested and imprisoned a hitchhiker leading to intervention by ACLU.[2] In Canada, several highways have restrictions on hitchhiking, particularly in British Columbia and the 400-series highways in Ontario. In all countries in Europe it is legal to hitchhike, and in some places even encouraged. However it is illegal to hitchhike where pedestrians are banned, such as motorways (United Kingdom), Interstates (United States), or the Autobahn (Germany).

Signaling method

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