Common sense will keep you safe

By Bevan Hurley

Despite the occasional horror story, New Zealand is one of few places in the world where picking up hitchhikers remains a relatively safe and common practice.

Rod Bishop, co-founder of rideshare website JayRide, says drivers simply need to follow a few common sense tips.

"Ordinarily if a person looks dodgy on the side of the road, it's simple enough not to pick them up.

"At least in New Zealand every bad story is reported. I would be much more concerned about hitching in countries where this type of thing has become the norm."

Bishop, who has hitched around Thailand and India, as well as New Zealand, says people shouldn't be afraid to pull over at any time.

Calling a friend to let them know you had picked someone up may also discourage would-be criminals.

He says anyone thumbing a lift should prepare a sign with their destination and - most importantly - a please or thank you.

Male hitchers should shave and wear a collared shirt and large backpacks should be kept visible.

"People are more likely to stop for foreign travellers because they're usually friendly and tell better stories."

- Herald on Sunday

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