California, April 1 - May 15, 1940.
Exploited almost exclusively by young people, hitch-hiking has become an accepted means of transportation for the job hunter, the traveler between school and home in the holidays, and the personable young fellow who is habitually on the move. Hitch-hiking has a technique of its own. The "thumber" must maintain a clean, intelligent and youthful appearance, must carry only an unobtrusive amount of luggage, must learn to stand at city limits or where cars are forced to slow down at traffic signals. He must learn that there are times when hitch-hiking is difficult, notably holidays when salesmen don't travel, days when school is out and the competition with school thumbers is a detriment, and Saturdays and Sundays when cars are filled with families on an outing. If traveling at night, he must learn that it is practically an impossibility to get a ride if stranded on the open highway in the dark where cars flash past without being able to see him, and must make a point of staying around stop signs and gas stations where the prospective driver can see him and size him up in the light. He must develop a specialized technique if he hopes to ride with truck drivers at night, for insurance clauses eliminate coverage when a truck is carrying a thumber and rides are few and far between. In this case he wears the black leather jacket, cap and duck pants of a professional truck driver and gets his rides on the basis of being one of the fraternity.
A distinct code of ethics has developed around hitch-hiking. One must never flag a woman, or a car with a woman passenger. It is improper to thumb from just in front of another's established "stand", and a reasonable distance must be established further down the road. It is even considered bad form to stop and talk with another thumber for more than a few minutes.