Is It Illegal To Sleep In Your Car

When we consult British law, there is little to deter anyone from using their car as a sleeping station. There are some restrictions that will stop you from using certain spots, and other rules about how it’s done in certain areas and circumstances, but overall it is quite relaxed.

Rule 91 Of The Highway Code

If we consult the highway code it is even encouraged for a tired driver to pull over and have a nap in rule 91, which states, that “if you feel sleepy, stop in a safe place… take a short nap (at least 15 minutes)... Do not stop in an emergency area or on the hard shoulder of a motorway.” Driving tired is very dangerous, and 300 people a year die on the road from falling asleep at the wheel. Be safe and get some sleep.

Here we can see that the driver is advised to get some sleep while parked in the car. Although not explicitly stated, there are no rules against achieving a full night’s sleep in this way. As well as this, the code notes a few key places not to park, but these are only the most dangerous places to avoid, and not a complete list.

Places Not To Sleep In Your Car

Here’s a list of some places that are definite no sleep zones:

  • Places that Obstruct Highways: This can be the entrance or a choke point on or leading to a highway, A-road or motorway.
  • Access Points: If you are found to be blocking the access to or from someone’s home, a building, a park or any access point, it’s likely that you’ll get a knock on your window from either someone trying to use the access, or an officer. This will usually just be to ask you to politely move.
  • Certain Car Parks: Many car parks will have signs put up by the county with a long list of regulations about the use of that specific car park, as well as more general rules about car parks. Look out for these if you’re thinking about taking a kip, as it could save you a fine from the county.
  • Passing Places on Narrower Roads: When driving along country lanes at night it can be really tempting to pull up in one of these spots for a nap, because they’re so peaceful and quiet, but it’s crucial to leave these spaces open so that cars can pull in if there’s oncoming traffic.
  • Emergency Areas: These areas are for emergency stops only, and being tired is not an emergency. It’s important to leave these areas open in case a real emergency should occur.
  • Hard Shoulder Of A Motorway: This narrow edge of the motorway is used for motorists that are broken down, and by emergency services. As well as taking up their space, you are also very close to fast moving cars if you stop on the hard shoulder. It is not a quiet or safe place to stop for a nap in any circumstance.

Being Drunk And Sleeping In The Car

One important exception to the rules above are when you find yourself over the legal alcohol or drug limit. This may seem counterintuitive, but it is illegal to sleep in your car when you are over the limit, as you are seen to be ‘in charge of a vehicle’. The punishments for this offence are extremely harsh, so worth seeking proper arrangements if alcohol or drugs are involved, and you don’t want ten points on your licence.  It may be an extra expense, but the cost of convicted driver car insurance will be even more expensive.

Helpful Tools

Speeding is a common offence, but did you know that it could cost you 1550% of your weekly equivalent salary? Use our UK spending find calculator to get a reality check, and we hope it will reduce your inclination to go that little faster than the legal maximum.   

Scroll to Top