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A good starting point for your judgment is often their luggage. You should take a good look at the person's belongings as you slow down and pull over. Do they have a well worn rucksack and are their hands full with a map and a book while they frantically try to grab everything and rush toward your car? An honest traveler will probably have similar paraphernalia. Still, many hitchhikers hitchhike for short day trips on well-known territory and sometimes don't carry any luggage at all.
After this initial look, you should exchange a few words with the hitchhiker before throwing the door open. Many drivers pull over and hurriedly gesture for you to pile in, but you can often tell a lot about a person from an quick exchange, which could save you a lot of trouble. During this quick exchange, you have to keep in mind that the hitchhiker may also have apprehensions, and generally, they get the privilege of asking "where are you going?" before the driver does. This is because a the hitchhiker needs a "way out" if they pick up a bad vibe from the driver and decide they (politely) want to decline the ride.
Bus stops are convenient places to stop. Highway on-ramps can be more tricky, but are similar.
Many hitchhikers prefer to ask drivers at gas station. This gives both hitchhikers as well as drivers more time to think.