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Although hitching is probably no more dangerous (statistically speaking) than a variety of other things most people do on a daily basis, its rather obvious that taking a ride from a complete stranger makes a person vulnerable.

To start, your greatest risk from hitchhiking is an accident, and statistics bear this out. An average of 250 people die on American highways daily, which is about 93,750 annually. Accidental death is without a doubt the greatest risk factor of all.

Automobile accidents and commonly-known safety risks aside, there are also some people with bad intentions cruising the roads and highways. Bad intentions could denote anything from a simple robbery to sexual assault or even murder. This was frighteningly and tragically re-enforced in the 1970s and 80s in the western US, when many rapists, sadists and serial killers specifically took advantage of hitchhikers (ever heard of Ted Bundy, 'The Freeway Killers' or Lawrence Bittaker). However, because this has clearly always been an uncommon scenario to begin with and is no longer occurring at the same levels that it used to, it isn't nessecarily a rational concern and has no doubt been highlighted all too often by the media.

I personally will not hitchhike, nor will I pick up hitchhikers. Choose public transit, by all means.

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Q: What are the dangers of hitchhiking?
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