UK Drivers Give Thumbs Down to Hitchhikers

Not so long ago the sight of a weathered gentleman or lady begging for a ride with an optimistic thumb in the air was a common sight on the UK's roads.  It was also not uncommon for drivers to give these people a lift.


Times have apparently changed and if you do not own a car, you had better make alternative arrangements very fast.  A recent survey conducted by the AA shows that up to 91% of drivers will not stop to pick up hitchhikers.  A mere two years ago this figure stood at 75%.  Only 1% of drivers said they were very likely to pick up a hitchhiker.


There are also fewer hitchhikers on our roads.  The decline of this honourable way of getting around is largely attributed to more people having their own cars and cheap intercity coach travel.


This explains why fewer people are hitchhiking than in the past, but why are drivers less likely to pick up hitchhikers today than a few years ago?  The answer seems to lie in the fact that most young people of today have never had to resort to hitchhiking and they simply see no reason to pick up one of these wayfaring strangers.


The poll showed that 93% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 have never tried to hitchhike.


So it seems that the days when Simon Calder's book The Hitch-hiker's Manual: Britain was a best seller are drawing to a close.  Soon we will all be speeding along in our isolated steel cocoons without even noticing that lonely figure on the side of the road.

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