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Everything you need to know about sleeping in your vehicle in one quick article!
Sleeping in your car might be something you’ve never considered before or something you do regularly, either way we think it’s important you understand the legal and safety concerns you’ll need to consider when you do.
Is It Illegal to Sleep in Your Car?
It is generally legal for you to sleep in your car, van or other vehicle provided you are parked in a safe location and your vehicle is not causing a hazard to other road users. However, there are a few circumstances where you should not sleep in your car and could face legal penalties for doing so.
Drinking and Sleeping in Your Car
If you have been drinking or have taken illicit drugs then you might think sleeping it off is the sensible thing to do, and it is but you should not sleep in your car. If you are caught sleeping in the car and you’ve found to be intoxicated, then you could be charged with being intoxicated in charge of a motor vehicle which comes with a large fine and up to 10 points on your licence, which can lead to you losing your licence, if found guilty.
You can be charged with being intoxicated in charge of a motor vehicle even if the keys are not near you or you are resting in a passenger seat. People parked on private property may also be charged if they are discovered to be intoxicated and asleep in their car.
Parking to Sleep in Your Car
If you are going to sleep in your car then finding the right parking is essential. You want to park in a safe location where you will not be a potential hazard to other road users.
Safe locations to park include:
- In a car park
- At a service station
- A designated roadside parking area
- A street without parking restrictions where you are not obstructing traffic
- On a private drive (with the owner’s permission)
- On private land (with the owner’s permission)
Some of these locations may have charges or restrictions on the amount of time you can stay there so you should always check these before you nod off. One thing that might be helpful if the location does have a time limit is to set an alarm for ten minutes before you need to leave so you can wake up and be alert enough to drive.
We recommend parking somewhere where there are other vehicles so you’re not in an isolated location, and make sure the vehicle is locked from the inside. For safety and to prevent the battery running flat you should make sure the engine is turned off and there are no ancillary features such as the radio playing. Make sure you put the keys somewhere safe but where they will not injure you if you move in your sleep.
You will probably want to crack a window, if it’s not wet, to allow air flow in and out of the vehicle to prevent condensation build up and keeping fresh air flowing around.
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