Sleeping in your car


Sleeping in your car is typically not the most comfortable option but sometimes it’s your best option. Whether you are taking a road trip, car camping, saving on travel costs or have fallen on hard times…we have the information you need to know if you are thinking of sleeping in your car.

Firstly it’s important to state that sleeping in your car should only be a temporary solution. A campervan may be spacious enough to support a longer-term living arrangement but most cars are not.

Is it legal to sleep in your car?

It is completely legal to sleep in your car so long as you are legally parked and observing the following:

  • Not violating any parking restrictions such as time limits and charges etc
  • Not under the influence of drugs or alcohol

There are some situations where it may be encouraged by law enforcement for a driver to actually find somewhere legally to park and sleep. Such instances include when you are driving and feel sleepy, as nearly a 5th of all motor accidents involve a driver falling asleep. Parking safely in a legally designated parking area and having a power nap can in some instances be the difference between getting to your destination and causing an accident.

Where you can sleep in your car

You can sleep in your car anywhere in the UK provided that you are parked legally and and do not violate restrictions. Common places that are used include the following:

You cannot sleep in your car on a public highway.

* You should not sleep in your car if you are above the alcohol limit. This will still be seen as operating a motor vehicle whilst above the legal alcohol limit…even if you are not driving.

Sleeping in a car when drunk

If you are sleeping in your car under the influence of alcohol it may seem like a good idea to pull over and sleep it off. Many motorists may even feel that this is the most responsible thing to do, however you’ll be putting yourself at risk should law enforcement find you in your car. This may seem excessive, however being behind the wheel or in your car whilst drunk without another sober driver can leave you open to being charged with being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle in a public place.

How to sleep comfortably in your car

Now that you’re aware of where and when you can sleep in your car, let’s look into how you can make your night more comfortable.

  • Keep your car doors locked to avoid late-night surprises
  • Keep windows open slightly for fresh air if the weather allows it
  • Sleep in the backseat for a more comfortable night
  • Keep a blanket, pillow and warm clothing in your car
  • Park in a quiet, low-light area where possible.
  • Keep food and water handy for long car journeys.

Car insurance for those looking to sleep in their vehicles

Whether you are using your car to sleep in or not, your car insurance will offer you all the agreed upon cover in the event of an accident unless stipulated otherwise. Getting cheap car insurance doesn’t need to be difficult, with CompareNI you can quickly compare quotes from over 80 insurance providers in minutes.

Compare car insurance quotes today

*51% of consumers could save £529.95 on their Car Insurance. The saving was calculated by comparing the cheapest price found with the average of the next five cheapest prices quoted by insurance providers on Seopa Ltd’s insurance comparison website. This is based on representative cost savings from February 2024 data. The savings you could achieve are dependent on your individual circumstances and how you selected your current insurance supplier.