Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Dec 23, 2021

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The Lowdown

  • You can sleep in your car at rest stops nationwide
  • However, some states limit how long you can stay or ban overnight sleeping outright
  • It can be a great way to save costs short term but leaves you without many amenities

Where can I sleep in my car legally? There are many places you can sleep in your vehicle legally, including state rest stops Walmart parking lots. However, you should be aware of state laws that prohibit people from sleeping overnight or for more than a couple of hours per visit.

You’ll also want to make sure you have comprehensive and collision auto insurance to keep you from losing your home and vehicle in one accident.

If you’re curious about where you can sleep in your car legally, enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool to see what you could pay.

Where can I sleep in my car near me?

Whether it be a long road trip or an extended stay in your four-wheeled home, you’re going to need some rest from the road eventually. However, it isn’t always safe or legal to do so. So how do you find the best place to catch a nap in your car?

Safety should be at the top of your concerns, so prioritizing somewhere that’s well-lit and close to civilization will help you rest a little easier. Access to food and water is also essential, so resting somewhere where you can quickly find breakfast will benefit you as well.

Where can I find free places to sleep in a car near me? Keeping safety and convenience in mind, several sites will work great as a resting spot for you and your vehicle. Some of the examples of a place to sleep overnight in your car include:

  • Rest stops
  • Walmart parking lots
  • Welcome/Information centers
  • Churches (with permission)

Most of these places will provide you with quick access to other people and the supplies you’ll need. Not to mention the first three will likely have bathrooms for you to use within operating hours.

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Are you wondering how to sleep in a car overnight?

If you’re going to sleep in your car overnight, you must keep yourself safe and make sure you’re aware of the legality of your residence. For instance, legislators have passed laws that prohibit you from sleeping in certain areas to combat homelessness.

Some states have been harder on car sleepers than others, and you’ll need to be knowledgeable about any restrictions to keep from facing a ticket or worse.

Where is it illegal to sleep in my car?

The good news is that there are no federal laws that dictate when you can or cannot sleep in your car. It’s up to states to decide how one can sleep in their vehicle, how long, and for what hours. Rest stops are a legal place to rest anywhere in the country, though.

For example, some of these varying state laws regarding people sleeping in their car include:

  • Hawaii – You can’t sleep in your vehicle between the hours of 6 PM and 6 AM, according to the Hawaii legislation.
  • Tennessee – Two-hour limit at rest stops, so you may need to cut your nap short.
  • Washington – You’re permitted to stay overnight at a rest area, but no longer than 8 hours.
  • Florida – No laws or regulations limit how long travelers can sleep in their vehicles.

As you can see, these laws can range from banning overnight stays to allowing someone to get the recommended amount of sleep before getting back on the road.

Florida auto insurance won’t suffer a cost hike for letting people sleep in their vehicles because it isn’t that common. It would make sense that letting tired drivers rest would benefit everyone, pushing states to allow some rest.

How can I safely sleep in my vehicle overnight?

As mentioned above, there are tons of reasons you might want to sleep out of your vehicle. However, your car won’t provide you with the same protection as a home, so you should know how to protect yourself.

Some of the suggested methods to ensuring your safety in your vehicle include:

  • Text Someone – Letting someone know where you are with as much detail as possible can help someone find you if you need it later.
  • Create a Bed – Try to create a long and even surface, including some car mattresses, that will benefit your sleep.
  • Leave the Car Off – Keep your key away from the ignition; otherwise, you may risk breathing in harmful fumes.
  • Doors and Windows Locked – Make sure your doors are all locked, and your windows aren’t open more than a little crack.

If you’re in a well-lit area, you’re likely in a much better spot to rest. Parking in the appropriate rest areas and taking the proper precautions will ensure you’re as safe as you can be.

What are the positives and negatives of sleeping overnight in a car?

If you need to sleep out of your car by choice or necessity, there are some positives you can look forward to. First, as long as you remember to be knowledgeable about the local laws, you shouldn’t have a problem getting some shut-eye.

Some of the positives of sleeping in your car include:

  • No hotel costs/rent
  • Ability to travel anywhere at a whim
  • Never far from your bed

It isn’t all rainbows, though, as you’ll be missing out on some essential amenities that your car doesn’t have. Some of the negatives that come with sleeping out of your car include:

  • Only access to public restrooms
  • Less room to move around at night
  • May have to drive out of state to sleep, depending on time

As will all things, sleeping out of your car comes with its benefits and some negatives. Unfortunately, the freedom and convenience of going anywhere also mean that you’ll be giving up certain benefits like plumbing.

Sleeping Overnight in a Vehicle: The Bottom Line

There are many places where you can sleep in your car legally, but it will depend on the location. Some states are more lenient towards sleeping overnight in a vehicle, while others have banned it altogether. If you’re going to sleep in your car, you should be aware of these laws and regulations.

If you’re wondering where you can sleep in your car legally, enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool so you can get an insurance policy on your vehicle today.