What is hitchhiking? 1
What exactly is hitchhiking? Hitchhiking refers to a method of personal transport by asking individuals for a lift in their car or other vehicles, which is usually for free. People usually stand on the side of the road with one thumb up in the air, signalling passing cars that they would like to hitchhike or ‘hitch a ride’.1
Why do people hitchhike?
The appeal of hitchhiking could be that it is usually free or the cheapest way to get to a destination. South Africans usually make use of public transport or their vehicles to get to the journey’s end. But, what if someone needs to get somewhere and doesn’t have money to do so? Poverty and unemployment are major issues that many South Africans have to deal with daily. For example, how does someone, who has no money, look for a job? Transportation is a challenge for many South Africans. So, it is understandable why many South Africans do hitchhike, even though it may not be advisable when it comes to personal safety.
Why is it a bad idea?
Standing on the side of the road while waiting for a lift could be dangerous for various reasons. Crime is a potential problem. When a person is exposed for some time on the side of the road while waiting for a lift, there is a risk of being a victim of crime, irrespective of whether it is an isolated location.2
Pedestrian fatalities are a major cause of losses on South Africa’s roads. Approximately two-thirds of road fatalities are pedestrian-related.3 Walking near or on our roads is not safe for pedestrians. All pedestrians should be mindful of their safety.
It may be illegal to hitchhike, especially in some municipalities within South Africa as a result of respective by-laws.5
Tips to stay safe4
Please follow these tips if you are a pedestrian near a road, for whatever reason.
- Don’t get intoxicated before walking about or walking near public roads.
- Never walk or run across a road when it is unsafe to do so. Don’t run across a highway.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. For example, don’t be too distracted by your cell phone, forget where you are, then end up walking into the road.
- Obey the rules of the road. Don’t ignore road signs and traffic lights.
- Ensure that your clothing makes you highly visible if you are walking around at night.
- Never leave your children unattended near roads. Don’t let small children walk across roads on their own.
- Always look right, left and then right again before crossing a road at a designated pedestrian crossing.
Motorists should also be mindful of pedestrian safety and take care to look out for them, especially at night.
Please keep safe on our roads by following the rules of the road and by being cautious regarding crime, irrespective of your mode of transport.
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This article was prepared by Eric Sandmann in his personal capacity. The views and opinions in the article should not be attributed to anyone but the author unless expressly stated. Nothing in this article should be relied upon as advice, this publication is presented for informational purposes only. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found in this article, without first obtaining proper financial advice from the appropriate professional. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, or completeness, of any information linked from, referred to, or contained in this article. The author reserves the right, to edit and change the content of this article.
— Arrive Alive (@_ArriveAlive) September 20, 2019