Last Updated on November 28, 2023 by Rose Morah
I have slept countless times at truck stops, especially when going on long car road trips.
However, my first time sleeping at a truck stop felt like the longest night! I was worried about my safety, was clueless, and the noise was just so unbearable.
But out of my experience and what I have learned from other travelers, I shared this article to help guide anyone planning to sleep in the car at a truck stop.
|What is a Truck Stop?
Truck stops are places where truckers usually sleep. The stops have gas pumps and diesel for trucks (It is like a big gas station). There is a lot of parking for the trucks and showers for drivers. Often, the parking is free, but if you want to shower, you will have to pay.
But first, is it legal to sleep in the car at a truck stop?
Yes, it is legal to sleep in your car at a truck stop. But there are a few things that you need to know, which I have explained in details in this article.
Is it safe to sleep in the car at a truck stop?
Yes, it is safe provided that you follow the safety tips that we have discussed below.
Out of the many times that I have slept in a car at a truck stop, I have experienced only two cases of insecurity, which has never stopped me from sleeping at a truck stop.
Safety tips when sleeping in the car at a truck stop
- Be friendly to other truck drivers, don’t be mean!
Truckers will always help you in case of anything. Most of the time, they will not let anyone harm you in case of anything.
If you are a lady, do not try befriending them. Just mind your own business but don’t be mean to them. You might need them! Take it from a fellow lady.
- Pack close to security cameras.
Before you park your car to sleep, ensure that you get a good spot with video/security cameras.
Anyone who might want to harm you during the night will be scared because of the cameras.
But what if they cover their faces? Most of them will fear taking a chance on you.
- Don’t park at the darker side of the truck stop.
Park in a brightly lit spot where you will see everything happening around you just in case you hear some funny sounds while sleeping at night.
When you are asleep, if someone tries to open your doors, the truckers will spot them and come to your rescue. This happened to me once.
- Carry a self-defense device.
For your peace of mind and a better night’s sleep, carry something that you will use to defend yourself in case of anything. Personally, when I am traveling solo, I always make sure I have a self-defense device.
The following are some of the best self-defense devices:
- A pepper spray
Personally, I use this pepper spray and it hurts like HELL! I always feel safer while having it.
I have a bright-colored one because it is easy to find in the dark.
You can check it out on Amazon.
- Electric Tizzer and Stun gun.
With the stun gun below, you can easily get an intruder on their knees in under 5 minutes.
Check it out on Amazon.
How to Find Truck Stops for overnight sleep in your Car
There are many different ways to find truck stops for a night’s sleep in the car after driving for long hours.
The following are places you get truck stops near you:
I also love it because it shows you the number of parking spaces on a track stop and its location.
See the screenshot below;
- RV Parky
Personally, I use RV Parky to show me other alternative truck stops and rest areas near me/ along my route.
See the screenshot below;
You may also like:
Truckstop parking rules
- Do not pack at a trucker’s spot.
Before you park your car, make sure that you have parked it at the right spot. You can do so by reading the parking signs or asking around.
- Be certain that you are allowed to park your car at the truck stop.
If you are not sure, go inside and ask before you park to avoid problems.
- Don’t be noisy.
Most truckers park at these truck stops to get some good sleep before hitting the road. So, try not to be noisy.
Tips for Sleeping in your Car at a Truck Stop
- Get a windshield sun reflector or car curtains.
If it is impossible to sleep because of the bright lights from outside the car, then the curtains block the outside light and help keep your car darker on the inside for better sleep.
- Park directly under the light.
For better visibility of the outside of your car, you can park directly under the light. This also means that the light will not directly hit you through the windows and into your eyes as you sleep.
- Carry warm sleeping gear.
Sometimes it gets really cold in the car at night. It can be freezing cold in some places and hence stressful to wake up every hour to heat the cabin.
So, be sure to carry your warm/winter sleeping gear.
- Have a Plan B.
As mentioned earlier, sometimes, it can be hard to find a parking spot at the truck stop.
Therefore, I recommend you always have a plan B, especially if you know that you will be driving for long hours.
It is unsafe to drive when fatigued, but what if you don’t find a space at a truck stop?
You can alternatively search for a travel and welcome center to crash in for a few hours before hitting the road again.
- Plan your route
Always plan your route ahead before you go on a road trip or long drive.
Planning your route means;
- Using a route planner to help you know how many miles you will cover on your trip and to add stopovers on your route.
- Research in advance the number of truck stops in your route and how far apart they are from each other.
- Reading online reviews to help you know how safe you are when sleeping at truck stops and if there is anything to be worried about.
Advantages of sleeping in your car at a truck stop
- It is free.
Most of the truck stops, if not all, do not charge you to park and sleep in your car.
- It is safer.
It is safer to sleep at truck stops than at rest areas or a random parking lot.
I remember when I was doing a road trip in Indiana, I slept peacefully because the police were patrolling the truck stop almost all night. They would come in and out. This felt very safe!
- There are showers.
What I love most about sleeping in the car at a truck stop is that you can take a quick shower when you wake up. You will be feeling very fresh before setting off!
However, this is not free, but it is cheap and will not cost you much.
- You can have some breakfast.
Most truck stops have basics like food/drink takeaways. This is great, especially if you like to have your breakfast first thing in the morning when you wake up. Personally, I hate driving on an empty stomach.
Disadvantages of sleeping in your car at a truck stop
- They are noisy.
It can get very noisy, which makes it hard to sleep in your car. This is because truck stops are usually busy with vehicles coming in and out.
- They can be smelly.
Some parking spots at the truck stops are quite smelly, especially those located next to the garbage.
- They are cold.
It can get freezing cold during the night, especially if you are sleeping during the cold/winter season.
- It’s uncomfortable.
Sleeping in the car can be pretty uncomfortable and more so if you have not invested in good sleeping gear.
You will miss your bed so bad! I recommend that if you are going for more than a 3-day road trip, make sure that you sleep at least once in a bed during the trip.
Although you might think you don’t need it but your body will need it.