We’ve all been there. You’re driving home from a long day at work or traveling, and you start to get sleepy. Your eyelids start to feel heavy, and the next thing you know, you’re fighting to keep your eyes open.
You know you won’t make it all the way home, so you start to look for a place to pull over and take a nap. But is it legal to sleep in your car in Washington State?
Can I Sleep in My Car on the Side of the Road In Washington State?
In general, no. It is not legal to sleep on the side of the road in Washington state. If you are caught sleeping on the side of the road, you may be ticketed. The best bet is to find a nearby rest area where you can park and catch a few Zs. Washington State allows 8 hours at a rest area but the law doesn’t specify sleeping or not in your car. The law does say that tents aren’t allowed at a Washington State rest area.
Can I Sleep in My Car in a Parking Lot In Washington State?
This is a bit of a gray area. If the parking lot is private property, then the owner of the property can decide whether or not overnight parking is allowed. However, if the parking lot is on public property, such as a city street or highway rest stop, then overnight parking is usually not allowed. Walmart is famous for allowing campers for an overnight stay but always best to check with your local area Walmart before you do it.
The best bet is always to check signs posted in the parking lot before settling down for the night. Unfortunately, if there are no signs posted, it’s generally assumed that overnight parking is not allowed. In that case, you may want to consider finding another spot to spend the night.
What Are Some Alternatives to Sleeping in My Car?
If you find yourself needing to take a nap, there are some alternatives that may be worth considering. One option is to find a 24-hour café or restaurant where you can buy a cup of coffee and sit for a while.
Another option is to see if there are any hotels or motels in the area with hourly rates. This may be more expensive than sleeping in your car, but it’s certainly more comfortable and much less risky.
While it may be tempting to catch some sleep in your car when you’re feeling tired, it’s generally not a good idea—especially if you’re planning on spending the night.
Always check signs posted in parking lots before settling down for some shut-eye.
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