Is it legal to sleep in your car?

There are lots of health and safety warnings about drivers taking to the road when they’re tired. Falling asleep at the wheel is all too easy when you’re over tired so we’re often told to stop by the side of the road and have a strong coffee followed by a short power nap but is it legal to sleep in your car on all roads in the UK?
    Getty - Mark Metcalfe

Sleeping in your car

Sleeping in your car is not illegal in the UK, although there are some places in Britain where local bylaws don’t permit this, particularly areas of Wales where stopping by the road would be very hazardous.

Safe place

If you are going to pull over for forty winks, you’ll need to find a safe place to do so. You might think that a residential road is safe because other motorists will be driving slowly but you could be opening yourself up to muggers and thieves. If you can park in a covered car park, you might be protected by CCTV and you might also get a better night sleep as your car should be warmer.

Creature comforts

Don’t expect a decent night’s sleep if you choose to kip in your car. Even with the seat fully reclined, you won’t be comfortable. The seats in most cars are narrower than those found on commercial aeroplanes and you could knock into the handbrake or steering while you sleep.


If the weather forecasters start talking about snow and ice, you might want to consider taking a little more than your boots and a spade in your boot. A thick blanket and some water are the other essentials, but you may also want to bring some old carpet offcuts as they can help keep you insulated from the cold.

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