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Afternoons with Kristen Herrmann

Weekdays 3:00pm - 7:00pm

Our Program Director Chuck saw something unusual along the side of the road the other day. A hitchhiker! It was on a sunny Saturday morning in Jersey, and it makes us wonder… would you ever consider hitchhiking? Under what circumstance would you consider it?  What about picking up a hitchhiker?

I think I would consider hitchhiking if I were with someone else, a safety in numbers sort of thing. Cell phones and GPS and the FindFriends App and so many other things make it safer today than its probably ever been, but I wouldn’t do it without a charged phone in an area where I wasn’t going to lose service. This article had a lot of helpful tips for doing it safely, and taking a photo of the license plate and immediately texting it to a friend seemed like a good idea.

I didn’t realize this, but hitchhiking is actually legal in 44 of the 50 states in the country, as long as the hitchhiker is not impeding traffic or standing in the roadway itself. Each state also has its own laws, and only New York, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Wyoming ban hitchhiking altogether. Many countries even encourage hitchhiking. Here’s a website dedicated to hitchhikers, with a number of hitchhiking races all over the world (think the Amazing Race without the cameras).In Cuba, it’s mandatory for government vehicles to pick up hitchhikers, if passenger space is available. Cuba doesn’t have cars as readily accessible as the US, and like a lot of countries, the hitchhikers must be picked up and dropped off in designated spots.

It seems like now would be a good time for hitchhiking to make a comeback in the US. Lyft and Uber have made rides with strangers pretty much the norm, so maybe if there was a free Lyft App or something like it, with less anonymity than the hitchhiking of the past, more of us would give it a try. That App may even already exist.

What do you think?

~ Kristen