I grew up with stories of my uncles hitchhiking across country after the second world war and I found those stories to be riveting. When I was traveling around the country during my vagabond days I remember meeting all types of people that would hitch around the country. I had a friend of mine who went to Europe for a while and that was one of their ways to get around. It has been a major part of the history of the U.S. but over the last few years it has almost vanished. There are lots of speculations about why you don't see it like you used to and some of them are very valid reasons. You hear stories of someone being picked up or picking someone up and either the person in the vehicle is killed or the hitcher is killed. We have heard it enough and we've seen movies that depict a hitchhiker as a killer and thus it turned into no one wanting to pick someone up.
Over the years I have picked up many hitchhikers and never thought much about it but I had to have that "gut feeling" about it before I would stop. If I didn't feel that than they would not be riding with me. I never hit the road and used my thumb to travel but I always thought it would be fun but as I get older the less appealing it seems. I just wish people could still feel safe to do it or to pick someone up because I think the ability to talk to someone new and hear their stories of traveling and just the joy of sharing a road or journey can be a real treat.
Art of Travel: hitchhiking
What killed hitchhiking?