Can cars park overnight at truck stops? What you should know

Sometimes you can find yourself tired or stranded in your car, not knowing where to rest. You might think of various places to spend your night but find the options not ideal.

For instance, you can think of spending your night at a hotel, but the rates are so expensive, or some hotels might have bad reviews that discourage you. The only remaining option is sleeping in your car, but you have to find a safe place to do so. 

Can cars park overnight at truck stops?

Yes, usually, cars can park overnight at truck stops. Currently, there is no rule prohibiting vehicles from sleeping at truck stops. However, these stops work on a first-come, first-served basis, so you need to plan ahead of your sleeping time on a long trip.

But when you want to park the car at a truck stop, you should check it first, maybe it has some prohibitions like the parking spots are exclusively for trucks and no cars are allowed, especially if it’s a guarded parking lot.

Moreover, is not common to see cars parked overnight at these stops because even in the most secured car stops, anything can happen, including theft or damage to your vehicle.

These truck stops, especially those free areas are located in remote and unfamiliar places in most cases. Therefore, you need to be careful when stopping for a rest at those points.

Tips when parking a car at a truck stop

Thus, while cars can park overnight at truck stops, sleeping in a car at a truck stop is debatable. However, if you have no other option or feel too tired to continue the journey, the following tips will help you. 

1. Be alert

Your safety comes first, so you must be alert. You will have to find a well-lit place for you to stop. After parking, you need to confirm if the area has cell phone coverage; if the area does not, it is advisable to search for another parking lot.

It is always a good idea to not be alone if you are driving for long distances that require rest.

2. Protect your stuff

You can take your cell phone wherever you go, but other belongings like your wallet, cash, purse, or electronics should remain in the car, but not visible because when you’re away, the stuff can attract thieves if there are seen. You should not take much cash with you if you’re in strange areas.

3. Choose safe spots

Try to find safe parking lots if you intend to spend the night there. Guarded parking lots that have surveillance cameras are always a better idea.

4. Plan earlier

Before your journey, you need to research the safest truck stops along your route. If you find no ideal stop, plan the rest stops in other towns or cities. 

Can you sleep in your car at a truck stop? 

Yes, you can sleep in your car at a truck stop, but first, you have to confirm it with the relevant authority in your area. Before sleeping in the area, consult the truckstop manager or watchman. Besides, you should also consult your country’s legal advice concerning sleeping in a car on private or public properties.

Are truck stops dangerous? 

That depends on where you choose o go. You should always take protection measures in all parking lots.

However, here are the tips to help truck drivers protect themselves while parking overnight

1. Park somewhere safe

It is advisable to park your car in spots where cars are already parked. Avoid parking too far from others and be alone there.

2. Employ good parking practices and park only in designated spots

Instead of pulling in and later back out, it is recommended that you park your car in a spot where you can easily spot other cars pulling in. This will prevent collisions and reduce the chances of any other form of truck accident. 

3. Be observant of the traffic patterns and drive slowly

It is not a good idea to drive too fast in a parking lot. Moreover, you have to be keen and attentive to traffic patterns as these places have the potential for accidents. 

4. Every time to park, you should inspect the car before leaving

Car accidents can occur at truck rest stops. Without inspection, it might not be easy to realize until it is too late. You should inspect and find these problems for safety before getting back on the road to avoid road messes.

5. Park your vehicle beside a curb, if possible. 

This will protect your car from one side from other drivers who might not see the trailer. Unlike other spaces, the spots near carbs are often located further from buildings. 

7. Look for poles or any other objects to park next to

Parking beside a pole or any object will act as a barrier between your car and others, an assurance that at least one side is protected. 

8. Be careful when parking in rest stops with smaller spots.

While this cannot always be possible, extra caution is needed when you are at a small rest stop. 


When taking a long trip in your car, it is important to stop and rest because, if you drive, you might get tired and sleepy, increasing the chances of getting in an accident.

However, as you look for places to rest, your safety should be a priority. You can rest in a hotel, restaurant, or even a truck stop area.

As you should know, truckers are required to drive for a maximum amount of hours to assure they are alert on the road and keep others safe.

That is why truck stops are frequented so often, and truck drivers have priority to sleep over there, also they have a quite comfy “resting place” in the truck where they have mattresses like these, at least from what I’ve seen.

While hotels and restaurants are expensive to spend a night there, they should be your first option, especially if you do not own a truck.

But in cases when truck stop points are the only option you have, or you want to save money, you can sleep there but with extra caution and care.

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