When you are on a long trip, it is good to rest on the way especially if you are driving. You’ll want to stop on the way to stretch your legs and back.
What if you want to sleep in your car because you did not plan on lodging in a hotel, you would think of where to sleep. Truck stops are places you can park your car and sleep through the night.
if you are considering doing this on one of your long trips, the question would be: is it illegal to sleep in your car at a truck stop? it is very important to know the rules guiding where you are so that your long trip won’t end with you facing a law enforcement agency.
Since a truck stop is a place created for truck drivers to sleep through the night, it is not illegal to sleep in your car at a truck stop except if you are trespassing or camping.
What is a Truck Stop?
A truck stop is primarily a place provided for truck drivers to park their trucks and sleep over. There are bathrooms in the park for the drivers to shower but a fee will be required. The places have gas pumps and diesel for the trucks.
Truck stops started in the US in the 1940s. In recent years, they are now commercial facilities controlled by business chains. They are places where trucks are refueled and parked. It is also a place where truck drivers eat. Truck stops are mostly located near busy roads.
The services provided by truck stops differ based on their sizes and the chains managing them. Smaller truck stops have a parking lot and a gas and fuel station. They might also have a dinar.
Larger truck stops have the basic amenities listed above and other things like showers, TV theaters, wash services, and convenience stores. Iowa 80 is the largest truck stop in the world. It is located in Walcott, Iowa.
Importance of Truck Stops
Truck stops are important to truck drivers. The following are the importance of truck stops;
It Ensures Drivers’ Safety
A truck driver is not just using physical strength to drive but also the mind. When you are driving for a long time, you will surely feel tired.
Nevertheless, Akerstedt and Kecklund classified fatigue into local physical fatigue (in a skeletal muscle), general physical fatigue (after heavy manual labor), and central nervous fatigue (sleepiness).
When a driver is experiencing any of this fatigue, it is better for the driver to stop driving and rest. When the driver stops to rest at a truck stop, safety is ensured.
A driver driving in a state of fatigue can have a crash because he is not stable physically and mentally.
A Resting Place
A truck stop is a place for drivers and their trucks to rest. Driving a truck for a long time without stopping can make the car overheat.
A truck stop is a place where the drivers can park their trucks and also rest themselves. Many truck stops provide dinner for the drivers. Apart from resting at a truck stop, you can sleep there too.
Can You Sleep in Your Car at a Truck Stop?
It is good to rest when you are on a long trip. It is even recommended that a driver should rest on a long trip. If you have nowhere to rest or you did not plan to stay in a motel, you can sleep in your car at a truck stop.
Most truck stops are safe except for unsafe areas. You can also not want to sleep in your car at a truck stop because of the noise around. But aside from personal reasons, sleeping in your car at a truck stop is not prohibited.
Is it Illegal to Sleep in Your Car at a Truck Stop?
It is not illegal to sleep in your car at a truck stop. The place is provided for refueling and rest among other reasons. Sleeping in your car at a truck stop is allowed.
The only reason why you might be questioned is if you are not following the rules at the truck stop. Also, camping is not allowed at truck stops.
Why is it Illegal to Sleep in Your Car at a Truck Stop?
It is not illegal to sleep in your car at a truck stop. It is only illegal if you are camping in your car at the truck stop. Camping is not allowed because it is not a camping site and it is believed that an area can be dirty due to camping.
Safety Tips When Sleeping in the Car at a Truck Stop
It is advisable to live safely. Whether you are at home or on a journey, you need to be sure you are safe. When you are on a long journey and you want to sleep at a truck stop, you should ensure that you are safe. Below are the tips
Have Prior Knowledge of the Truck Stop
If you are going on a long journey, you should know all the places you will stop at beforehand. Don’t just start a journey and stop anywhere. There have been cases of kidnappings so you need to know where you would be stopping.
There are online sites where you can get truck stops along the route you are taking. Sites like Allstays, RV Parky, etc will help you with truck stops along the route.
You need to have prior knowledge of the truck stop you are staying at because there are some areas that are not safe; they are filled with criminal activities. Truck stops in these areas would be dangerous.
Don’t be Hostile to the Truck Drivers
When you get to the truck stop, you are sure going to meet truck drivers. Don’t be rude to them but be friendly. If you are friendly, they’ll be ready to help you with whatever information you need about the place. They will even be concerned about your safety. Talk with them when necessary before you go to sleep.
Clutch your Self-defense Device Tightly
Have a self-defense device with you wherever you go. It shouldn’t be far to reach. While you are at the truck stop and even in your car, let your device be with you.
You can have a pepper spray or stun gun with you, or you can decide to have both. Let these devices be light-colored so that they can be visible at night.
Park at Lighted Areas or Areas Covered by Security Camera
When you park at the truck stop, park your car in lighted areas. There are dark places in truck stops; not all areas are lighted. Avoid dark sides; don’t pack your car there. Evil thrives in darkness so beware of dark places at truck stops. Don’t fall, victim.
When you want to sleep in your car at truck stops, don’t be far from security cameras. The cameras would be watching whatever happens around you. You are safe when you are close to the cameras.
Truck Stops Parking Rules You Must Know
Truck stops have their packing rules. You cannot park your car anywhere. Whenever you want to sleep in your car at a truck stop take note of the following:
1. Park Rightly
Ensure you park at the right spot. It’s a truck stop, so truckers have their spots. Don’t park on someone’s spot. Check parking signs and ask around if you still don’t understand.
2. Noise is Prohibited
Although there are activities always going on at truck stops (like trucks coming in and going out), you still shouldn’t be noisy. When everywhere is settled, you shouldn’t be playing loud music in your car.
The truck drivers have a long day the next day so help them by ensuring that you keep quiet.
4. Trash Your Wastes in Waste Bins
After eating, don’t throw the packs of food or drinks on the ground. Truck stops are not trashed sites so you have to keep them clean. Truck stops were known to be dirty before but now they are trying to make them clean. Throw your trash into the waste bins.
Pros of Sleeping in Your Car at a Truck Stop
The advantages of sleeping in your car at a truck stop are:
It is not safe to drive at night. So to avoid falling into danger, you can stop for the night at a truck stop to sleep in your car. You and your car would be safe.
There have been cases of hijacked cars and people being kidnapped at night. So if you are going on a long trip, stopping to sleep in your car at a truck stop is beneficial.
2. You Will be Refreshed
When you wake up from sleep, you will be refreshed. So as not to feel weak while driving at night, it is better to sleep.
If you don’t have where to sleep for the night, a truck stop is a place you can sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. Also, you can shower at the truck stop, but you will have to pay money. The fee is affordable.
3. It Reduces the Rate of Accidents
Two major reasons that cause accidents asides from drunkenness are fatigue and sleeping on the wheel. Truck stops are located beside busy roads so that drivers can rest.
If there are no truck stops, truck drivers will only continue driving despite the fatigue and can collide with other cars and cause fatal head-on crashes.
Cons of Sleeping in You Car at a Truck Stop
There are also disadvantages to sleeping in your car at a truck stop. Truck stops were made primarily for trucks and heavy vehicles so having your car among them might not feel comfortable.
The following are the cons of sleeping in your car at a truck stop:
1. It Can Be Unsafe
In an unsafe area, it is better not to sleep at their truck stops. Areas that are known for gambling and prostitution have their truck stops full of these acts.
Sleeping in the truck stops in those areas is unsafe. Robberies and kidnappings are rampant in these places; one has to watch out
2. Truck Stops are Always Noisy
Due to trucks going in and coming out, truck stops are always noisy. It is possible you don’t get the sleep you want due to the noise. If you can not sleep with noise, then it is better you rent a hotel room rather than stay at a truck stop.
3. You Won’t be Comfortable
You will surely miss your bed if you are sleeping in your car. You won’t be really comfortable in your car if you are sleeping in it, and now that you have lots of truck drivers around you, you might be feeling uneasy.
But rather than being mean, be friendly with them and try to get your adequate rest.
Moreover, who cares about feeling comfortable while sleeping in your car at a truck stop? You just want to rest your head to be able to continue the journey in good health the next day.
Truck stops are not your bedroom nor are they hotels, so you might not get the comfortability you normally enjoy while sleeping.
Sleeping in the car at a truck stop is one way to rest during your long trip. But there are things to note when you want to make that choice.
- Make sure you are not parking on a truck’s parking space.
- Camping at the truck stop is prohibited.
- Park your car in the camera’s view and also in a lighted area. Don’t park in a dark area.
- For safety reasons, you should have pepper spray and a stun gun with you.
When you have all these, you would enjoy your night at the truck stop. It is not illegal to sleep in your car at a truck stop. Also, there are sites where you can see truck stops to stay during your long trip. Examples are Allstays, RV Parky, etc. Having this information, you can try sleeping in your car at a truck stop during your next long trip.