Horror Stories of Hitchhiking? Is it Safe and Legal Worldwide?

Here’s mine story of Hitchhiking in France:

I got a lot of advice on my last post so I wanted to share some information with you guys. As it turns out hitchhiking on highways is illegal in France. The police near Orléans was very upset with me when I tried to walk on the side of the road in order to get to a good spot in the direction I needed.

I was dropped off next to the toll station by the driver and wasn’t allowed to go back to the same place. Instead, an officer took me to a roundabout outside the highway where I waited for 2 hours until I found someone who went my way.

Tip: Ask the driver to drop you off at a resting station before he/she leaves the highway (I rode all along the A-10). It’s still “on the road” so it serves the purpose but not on the highway itself where the police give tickets and drivers don’t stop. If you’re going long distance (as I did) most likely that those who stop at that station would also since you usually don’t stop to have coffee and something to eat when you’re close to home.
Stay safe and hitch wisely ☺

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Answers ( 6 )

    1

    Hitchhiking on highways is illegal EVERYWHERE. Not because of hitchhiking itself, but because walking on highways, or standing too close to highways is not allowed- for safety reasons. Except Oregon, in the US. Seriously!

    • Magnolia Trantow
      1

      I have also similar experience actually. I wanted to hitchhike to Lyon, but car driver missed some gas station, so he just dropped me off before he had to turn away “You can just walk to right road, its few meters” – but I could not, as if I would have done that, I would have need to cross highway- as I did not find any bridge what would bring me to right side.

      So at some point I just tried to hitchhike next to highway: there was some safety thing between me and road, and behind me, there was space enough for a car to pull over. (some SOS thing, or something)… and I stood there a long time, but nobody stopped. Until someone called cops and they picked me up. They offered me that they will bring me to Dijon instead. So I accept it.

      What was nice actually, as its looked nice city and I met some cool people there- and I would have never gone there otherwise.

      But I have hitchhiked on highways before actually. and there are people like “hop in fast, it’s not allowed to be here” – who then when you are already in a car ask where you actually want to go.

      Not something I would recommend to do, for anyone. But I think if I look back at my traveling life, then a list of “what I have done and would not recommend anyone to do” is quite long 😀

      • Trinity Bogan
        0

        Lucky you! The first highway I tried to do it in Germany… and police thought me the lesson, but they were fair and left when I took myself and backpacks on the other side of metal rails running along the road. There were just bushes, but since I was off the highway they left.

        • Makenna
          0

          I guess Europe and the US enforce this law better than in other places.
          In Mexico, everyone directed me to the payment station on the highway and the police there didn’t take a second look at me.

          • General Braun
            0

            Indeed never walk or stand along a high way! I would be scared as a driver also. In the Netherlands, you would get fined definitely. I always go from gas station to gas station, works perfectly.

            • Magnolia Trantow
              0

              Its quite annoying to hitchhiker from gas station to gas station in the Netherlands as car drivers all the time miss the right gas station, and then you end up in a situation where there just are no gas stations.

              I told that to one driver, and his answer was “well, it is a really small country, we don’t need so much gas stations”.

              What is true, in the driver perspective, but as a hitchhiker, it is still annoying.

              • Vincent Girard
                0

                East Coast Canada, side of the highway works fine and is legal. It’s the gas stations that kick you out. It’s a little different on the bigger roadways near Toronto and Montreal tho.

              • Raleigh Stracke
                1

                On highways, cars drive 130km/h, don’t need to be very perspicacity to realize that’s really dangerous for you or for the guy who’s stopping for you… then, there is a sign at any motorway entrance in France to tell what is forbidden to do!

    0

    Actually, hitchhiking is not illegal on highways in France (unlike in Italy) but walking is, You are unlikely to have trouble with the police if you hitchhiking at a toll station.

    • Magnolia Trantow
      1

      I think that standing on the highway is also not allowed… (although I have no fact checks on it) unless you have a car accident or something…. so that would mean no hitchhiking also. They don’t need to phrase it “Hitchhiking is not allowed”, but how could you hitchhike there if you are not allowed to stand or walk?

      Sure, if you stand somewhere and police pick you up and you say you had no other choice, as a car just throw you out, then they will just give you a lift somewhere safer, not give you fine – but anyway you can not hitchhike there. And should not also, as its not safe.

      If you stand on the small part of a road, before highway starts or you go to gas stations / toll stations, then there it is allowed.

      • Neva Kuhlman
        0

        Standing and walking on highways is the same for a police officer in France.

        • Magnolia Trantow
          1

          So, if you are not allowed to stand or walk on highways, then you are not allowed to hitchhike either: how else are you gonna hitchhike, if you don’t stand or walk? 😀
          So your “hitchhiking is not illegal on highways” is not making any sense.

          • Neva Kuhlman
            0

            Getting dropped in a gas station or at a toll station which are parts of the highway and hitchhiking there, something which is illegal in Italy for instance.

            • Magnolia Trantow
              0

              Well, toll and gas stations- are stations, so that’s why I did not count them as a highway. If I speak about highway I mean actual road.

              And in Italy, when I first time went there, I saw a big sign “No Autostop!” on the road. Next to it was a gas station, and there were police, so I asked them what the hell should I do then- and they said that in a gas station it is okay, as long as I don’t go to the road. – maybe it was just these cops, and it is against the laws there, but I have never had any problems with hitchhiking in gas stations in Italy.

    0

    Obviously, it’s for safety reasons that you must not hitchhike on highways, cars won’t stop when they are driving at 130km/h. What do you think?
    But you can hitchhiker and stop on resting areas, you’ll be more than welcome to do it.

    Think twice before acting …

    1

    The life expectancy of a pedestrian on a French motorway, walking on the right-hand side lane where vehicles stop in an emergency is only of 15 to 20 minutes.
    It is an official statistic.

    • Camilla Jacobi
      1

      That’s a true statistic but it has been recorded on dead people and it does not say what you imply
      So people who died on the emergency lane died within 15 to 20 minutes.
      But your life expectancy, if you walk on the emergency lane, is not 20 minutes.

    0

    Just to be clear: I didn’t try to stand on the right-side shoulder and hitch a ride and trust me when I say that I can see a road, any road, and know if it’s safe or not with a sign that says so.
    There was a payment station, where cars slow down and have a place to stop for a minute, and that’s where the police kicked me from. I wasn’t planning on that spot but that’s where the driver dropped me at…

    • Toby Mitchell
      0

      It was more a lament about the state of the social practice that the very basics are not well known by someone attempting it.

    0

    Unfortunately, as a French driver, I won’t stop to pick someone at the toll, I will stop at a rest area but you can’t stop at the pay toll, that’s not a place to stop, even for 1 min.

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