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Where Is It Legal to Sleep in Your Car

Driving for long hours can be tiring. While most people will go to a motel to sleep, it can be expensive. So, some people will sleep in their car.

Now, most places will allow you to sleep in your car. What can make it illegal is where you park it. So, if you plan to go on a long road trip, here is some useful information to help you with where you can sleep in your car.

Sleeping In Your Car in the US

In the US, no federal laws will make it illegal to sleep in your car unless you are on private property and did not ask the owner any permission. States can consider it as trespassing. And you could get into serious trouble with the law. There are also cities like Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Diego, and Key West that will prohibit you from sleeping in your car on private land and public roadways.

That said, there are places where you can legally sleep in your car, like rest areas. But you must pay attention to the limits. State-set time limits can vary from 2 to 24 hours. But if you have reasonable grounds on why you slept for too long, like driving fatigue, you will not get into trouble with authorities. States will always encourage safe driving, and taking a break is one of them. The time limit is just there to prevent people from loitering.

Another place you can park, and sleep is in areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). There are 245 million acres of public land managed by the BLM. And their website allows you to search for places to sleep. Some would even let you stay for 14 days. These places are often scenic. So, it would be best to take a tent with you to capture all the stunning scenery.

Walmart is also a popular place to park and sleep for road trippers. But it’s up to the manager’s discretion. The same goes for 24-hour establishments like casinos and hotels. If you have a friend in the area, you can park and sleep in their yard or private driveway if they permit you.

Sleeping In Your Car in the UK

If you are going to sleep in your car in the UK, where you park your car is a great consideration. While no laws will prevent you from sleeping in your car, location is essential. For example, you can’t park on double yellow lines. Hard shoulders are also not a good place to pull up for snooze since they are only for emergencies.

Residential streets are okay to park and sleep but be wary of parking restrictions. You’ll need to be wary of car parks, too. Some may charge you for an overnight stay, which could be more expensive than staying in a motel. Others will lock their gates. There are also places that have bylaws that prevent overnight stays in car parks, especially in coastal locations and town centers.

Also, don’t sleep and park on private land if you don’t have permission. You can get a rude awakening from the cops.

The best place to park and sleep would be a motorway service. Some are available 24/7, and you can freshen up in their facilities after you have taken your rest. But do set your alarm as after two hours they will charge you.

Sleeping in your car in Canada

There are also no federal laws prohibiting you from sleeping in your car in Canada. But there are territories, municipalities, and provinces that make it illegal to sleep in your car, depending on the parking area. For example, the maximum parking limit on a public road in Toronto with no signage is three hours. There are also residential streets with a permit parking program that only allows those with a permit to park for extended periods.

There are rest areas in Canada, but you can only park and sleep for a limited time. So overnight sleep may be prohibited. The best place to park and sleep would be campgrounds. It will cost you, but it is cheaper than staying in a hotel. And it’s also safer than other areas in the big cities.

You can also park and sleep in 24-hour Walmart or other 24-hour retailers with parking lots. But, like private areas, always ask permission.

Sleeping in your Car in Australia

Since the states are the ones to decide on what road rules to follow, there can be regional variations in Australia.

Most states will allow you to sleep in your car if you can legally park in the area. Queensland is the only exception because some councils have by-laws that make it illegal.

If you sleep in your car in Queensland, that can be considered camping, and state laws prevent anyone from camping outside designated campgrounds. The Northern Territories also have similar laws. Although technically, you can legally camp in a public space. But the people their frown upon it.

It’s a different story in New South Wales since the state encourages you to sleep in your car to prevent driver fatigue. The only limitation is if it is legal for you to park your car in the area. The same is true for the Australian Capital Territory.

It’s also legal for you to sleep in your car in Victoria. But there are councils with different laws on the topic. If you are traveling through Victoria and want to sleep in your car, it would be best to check on the local council first.

The rest of Australia will fall in between NSW and QLD. For example, it is not illegal to sleep in your car in South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania. But there can be stricter laws when you are near beaches and parks.


With all that said, it is safe to say that most places will allow you to sleep in your car if you follow the laws. There can be some exceptions to this, so it would be best to research the laws in a particular location, so you won’t get into trouble for sleeping in your car.


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