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  1. Default Sleeping in rest areas?


    I apologize if this is not the right location for this question but...

    Is it legal / safe to sleep in your car in interstate rest areas overnight?

    I know truckers do it.... but what about normal cars?

  2. #2

    Default rest areas

    Most states that I have travelled through have a five or six hour maximum stay time at rest areas. How they would enforce this without someone there 24 hours a day is beyond me? If you are only going to sleep for a couple of hours it shouldnt be problem. A friend of mine is a state trooper and he has said that he would rather have someone who is too tired to drive, sleeping in a rest area at 0mph than sleeping at 75mph on the roadway.

    As for safety, I think that parking next to the big rigs in the brightly lit areas of the rest stop will be your best bet. Being aware of your surroundings, ie watching for anyone who is watching you a little too closely and such, is a good idea. I have slept at several rest stops and other than one run in with a lost soul looking for the next good time, I havent had any problems with it. I did have one state trooper ask me if all was okay and then he left me alone for the rest of the time that I was there.

    Truck stops are probably the safest place, but make sure you go in and buy something like a meal or a snack. Ask the clerk or wait staff the best place to rest up and to keep an eye out for you during their shift. An extra tip is usually all it takes to get them to keep a watch on you. Plus you get the added benefit of a shower being available at most of them, how clean they are is debateable, but they are there and cheap none the less.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Not Recommended

    Welcome to the RTA Forum

    Rest areas would not be the best option. They are often poorly lighted, underpatroled, and since you usually can't park by the truckers, you'll be fairly isolated. It is also often illegal to park overnight.

    If you need to stop and just get a quick nap, its not the worst place in the world (as galaxie mentioned, its a lot better than taking one at 75 mph), but if you want to settle in for a nights worth of sleep, I'd look for a truck stop or other location with better lighting.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Some alternatives

    Truck stops are definitely your best choice but, if you can't find a truck stop when your eyelids are getting too droopy to go on, you might try any kind of 24-hour gas station/convenience store that is staffed and feels safe. Things I would look for are lighting, traffic (the more likely traffic is going to be continuous all night, the less likely someone will probably try something), etc. I would go in and buy something and ask if you park "over there" if you're out of the wait of customers enough to catch a few z's and ask if it's OK. Unless you get a creepy vibe from the clerk on duty, this should work out fine, too.

    In a pinch, I slept several hours one night in a casino parking lot because they're open 24-hours and there are people coming and going all night, and most have good security guards anyway. I didn't stay all night but I slept for about 3 hours one night without a problem until I was rested enough to go the rest of the way home.

    Of course, neither of these options allow you access to showers.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France

    Default Probably not a good idea

    I know truckers do it.... but what about normal cars?
    Even for truck drivers, they're not really recommended. Truckers will often go to rest areas because there is no parking space left at the nearest truck stops and as you may know, big rigs cannot park anyplace like cars. Think about it, why bother with rest areas when you can safely sleep at a truck stop, have breakfast and coffee in the morning, take a hot shower and buy whatever you need. In most rest areas, all you have is vending machines (or worse : Burger King) and cold water fountains

    To my knowledge, there has been several attacks at night in rest areas (like the one in Onatrio a few months ago where 3 guys attempted to kill a truck driver) while I've never heard of anything similar about busy truck stops. Of course, some rest areas are better guarded (security, cameras) but make sure you read the signs before you go to sleep.

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