Monday, December 4, 2023

How To Sleep In Your Car

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Some People View The Homeless As Dangerous

How to Sleep (Comfortably) in a Compact Car

Another reason why being homeless is a problem is because some non-homeless view the homeless as dangerous. They think that people being homeless in their communities is unsafe.

This is completely false, of course. Homeless people are not more dangerous than non-homeless on average. And many studies do support this.

But, citizens often think that the homeless are. They think that being homeless is a problem because of this.

Thus, being homeless is a problem because some non-homeless view it as unsafe. These people think that homeless people are dangerous and it is a problem to have them in their communities.

New Test It Out First

If youre sleeping in your car during the winter for the first time, dont venture deep into the backcountry. Instead, do a test run close to home, or close to civilization that offers cheap lodging options, should you decide to bail in the middle of the night.

Please remember to exercise your own judgement and caution when pursuing activities like sleeping in your car especially in inclement weather. Use of any advice offered on the internet is done at your own risk.

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Tips For Sleeping In The Car: Safety & Comfort First

Packing your bags for a long road trip? If youre a passenger, no doubt youll want to catch up on some zzzs during the journey.

If youre lucky enough to not be driving, a road trip is a great opportunity to hit the hay and snooze until you arrive at your destination. But how will you get comfortable? Should you bring a pillow? A sleep mask?

Keep reading for our top 10 tips on how to sleep in a moving car. Or, say youre driving solo and need to know how to sleep in a car overnight. Below, well give tips on how to do so safely.

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Large Shopping Centres And Parking Lots

We know our article is called 10 Places you can Legally Park Overnight but we know these are the big locations everyone thinks of first and we have to give you the bad news, these locations are illegal and you have a high probability of not only being moved along but possibly receiving a ticket as well.

These locations tend to be secure and well lit, with access to facilities and food during business hours, but the risk of being disturbed by security or someone looking to cause a little mischief around a car they believe to be empty is pretty high. If you are in a smaller town, it can be worth popping into a local business with a large parking lot and asking permission first. You could rest easy knowing you have their permission to be there!

Trying to figure out what exactly is and isnt legal can be stressful, check out our Is It Legal to Sleep in your Car post to get more answers.

Key Information

Find The Perfect Position

How to Sleep Comfortably in a Car

Sleeping in a car, especially while it is in motion, can prove to be a challenge. Between resting against a window and having to keep your seatbelt buckled theres no correct way to make it work, but there are ways you can simplify it. Firstly, you can opt for the front passenger seat, as this usually reclines. Recline the seat to a comfortable level . This will allow you to recreate the feeling of being on a flat sleeping surface, as you would be at home on your bed.

If youre unable to recline your seat, or perhaps youre sitting in the backseats, rest your head on a pillow against a window. This is a popular way to sleep if youre traveling by plane and can work just as well in a car. If you are prone to neck aches, you can try using an inflatable or memory foam neck pillow instead which should give you extra support.

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Why Do Homeless People Refuse Food

BY Kyle J. Cassaday. LAST REVISED ON November 8th, 2022.

Panhandlers baffle us when they decline a meal. Are they only looking for money? This article explores why homeless people refuse food.

In a grey and windy world at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Tampa, Florida one Sunday morning, Cynthia Allen saw a homeless person begging for change.

Being the good person she is, and the good Christian who knows that…

helping others in need is God’s will, Cynthia made the mistake of ordering two extra cheeseburgers to deliver to the homeless man who begged outside the restaurant.

When she got out of her car to surprise the bearded gentleman with the two warm, cheesy burgers, the homeless man refused them. He simply said, “no thanks,” and turned the other way.

Baffled, she carefully reread his cardboard sign. It said…

“Homeless. Anything Helps.” Clearly, by anything he didn’t mean double cheeseburgers, she reasoned. Why did the homeless man refuse her food?

First, it’s important to note that homeless people often have psychological issues. Many also have poor social skills. So while the homeless man was out there begging for charity, some unobvious, or illogical reason may have existed for why he refused the cheeseburgers.

Second, examples like these are extremely uncommon. Most homeless people when offered will accept whatever is given.

Nonetheless, maybe one out of a thousand times, this scenario happens. This article explores why.

Being Homeless Is Illegal

Because many people believe being homeless is unbearable and that it is expensive to taxpayers, makes products more expensive, and that it looks ugly and so brings property value down, being homeless is illegal.

Non-homeless citizens don’t want people to be homeless and so the government criminalizes it.

Laws exist against practically anything a homeless person does.

It is illegal, for example, to camp anywhere in the city. A homeless person can’t go to the forest because low and behold, it is illegal to camp there without being on and paying for a camp site. It is also a crime to leave possessions unattended anywhere. Being homeless, therefore, is a problem for homeless people.

It is a problem because a person can no longer sleep outside without the…

police harassing him or her. A person can no longer, for example, choose to live in a van in the city or pitch a tent in a field.

So being homeless is a problem for the homeless as well because it is illegal.

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Sleep With Your Head Towards The Front Of The Car

Cars often have more room in the center of the car compared to the back. When you sleep in your car its more comfortable to have your head forward for extra elbow room where the doors bump out.

To maximize the space you have available, push your front seats all the way forward, and lean the backrest forward as much as you can. Depending on the size of your car, this may or may not be necessary.

Find A Safe Place To Park

If You Want to Sleep Comfortably in Your Car, Do This

If youre on a long trip or have to drive through the night, taking nap breaks is necessary and vital to your safety. However, pulling over and resting your eyes is harder than it sounds and can come with complications. One difficulty is figuring out where exactly you should park.

You will likely need to check the law around sleeping overnight in your car at rest stops in your state/area. Several states have legalized this, but the majority have not. According to Lawyers Plus, its generally accepted to sleep in your car if youre not actively driving, trespassing or intoxicated as you can even be charged with driving under the influence if you are stationary. The following places are good to consider for your overnight rest:

Department Stores: Look for a major chain store such as Target or Walmart. These have large parking lots which usually contain security to protect your safety. Unless a sign tells you otherwise, there often arent rules against being in your car overnight.

Religious Buildings: You can also look out for a Church, Synagogue, or other religious building. In general, these places are safe and will have good-willed people willing to help you out.

Residential Neighborhoods: Lastly, you can search for a neighborhood with on-street parking and no signs asking you to pay to park or parking for residents only. Youll also want to find an area where other cars are already parked, indicating its a safe area to leave your car.

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Know What Youre Broadcasting

Knowing someone is watching or could watch you while sleeping is very unnerving. To prevent this, you can use a window cover or get tinted windows. A reflective sunshade can cover up the front windshield and provide privacy. You can use sunshades for the passenger doors or do it yourself by cutting out cardboard or stuffing some blankets and sheets over the windows. A tension rod placed across the vehicle may work as well.

Having the windows covered means a person walking by doesnt know if a 140-pound single person is in the vehicle or four bodybuilders. Its one piece of information you can keep to yourself.

But Being Homeless Is Not All That Bad

While being without a shower, bed, temperature control and adequate shelter from the rain and snow is not preferable, to many of the homeless, including me when I was unhoused, the situation of homelessness is not unbearable.

Many of the homeless, while would rather live in a home, a home that is equipped with modern luxuries like a shower, bed, electrical outlets, and the like, prefer society just leave them alone.

The obstacle preventing them from attaining housing, namely getting a job and working on something that brings them no joy, is what is unbearable to them.

Nonetheless, the first reason why being homeless is a problem is that the non-homeless believe that being it is unbearable.

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How To Leave No Trace

While car camping it is important to follow the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace. Whether youre camping in a remote area or parked at a truck stop all these rules apply.

  • Stay up to date on area-specific information.
  • Park your car on durable surfaces free of vegetation.
  • Pack out everything and leave your campsite clean.
  • Help pick up other folks trash.
  • Bury any solid human waste at least 6 inches deep and 200 feet from any water source or trail.
  • Follow fire regulations and carry a fire permit if applicable.

/ Protect Yourself From The Sun

Can You Sleep in Your Car? (9 Best Practices Included)

You may be falling asleep at night when the sun has gone down for the night, but itll return in the morning. If you sleep in your car during the summer, the sun may be high and blazing very early the following morning.

You may like the idea of being woken by the sun as itll help you recommence your drive, but its equally likely that youd prefer a gentler introduction to the morning. Whats more, direct sunlight could burn your skin or possessions.

Before sleeping in your car, apply shades to as many windows as possible. If you dont have formal sun blockers, use clothing or other objects in the vehicle. This scenario may also be one occasion where its advisable to wear sunblock while you sleep.

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/ Turn Off The Engine

Sleeping in your car with the engine off is the only safe way to spend the night in an automobile. While leaving the engine running may generate a little more heat, its hazardous and economically inefficient to burn fuel while you sleep.

For a start, leaving your engine running will generate carbon monoxide. At best, this is irresponsible to the environment at worst, youll be placing your life in danger. Carbon monoxide is odorless and tasteless, so you wont know if youre inhaling it.

Leaving the engine on could put you at risk of accidentally moving your car at night. You should have the parking brake on while you doze, but if you forgot, you could end up rolling forward or back.

Can You Run Out Of Oxygen Sleeping In A Car

Sleeping in a car with the windows rolled up is perfectly safe. Despite popular belief, vehicles are not airtight and the air within a vehicle is replaced on average every 1 to 3 hours with no mechanical ventilation. You wont have to worry about running out of fresh oxygen by sleeping with your windows up.

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Make Sure Its Legal To Sleep In The Car Where You Are Located

In certain states in the USA, its illegal to sleep in the car. Additionally, in Europe, it varies.

The best way to find out if its legal or not is to have a good Google search beforehand to find out!

If you find that it is illegal and you choose to do it anyway then make sure you have a convincing story as discussed in the following section!

You should also try to park in a more discreet location so you are less likely to be disturbed. That being said, I would not recommend parking somewhere too quiet for safety reasons.

Check out Allstays for possible locations.

Perhaps you are researching sleeping in the car but would also consider camping? Weve written a road trip camping packing list that may be of use to you.

Sleeping Overnight At Rest

How To Sleep In Your Car

As the name implies, this seems to be the perfect stop to kill a little time and catch up on some rest before heading on your way again.

A rest stop is going to provide a few of the creature comforts youre more accustomed to. Rest-stops will typically have restrooms, water, and maybe a variety of vending machines. The steady flow of traffic can also be comforting- or annoying.

Youre only seconds off the highway, making this really convenient for overnighting during a long cross-country trip.

For a list of what each state allows at their rest stop see this article.

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Sleeping In A Car Safety Tips

You wont have a fulfilling nights sleep if youre too busy worrying about your safety. These tips will help you create the safest and most secure night possible.

  • Text somebody your location before going to sleep. We know this is an alarming statement, but we like to ensure your safety is priority number one.
  • Never park on the side of the road.
  • Try to create a sleeping surface that is as flat and long as possible. Sleeping crunched up or on uneven seats can create conditions that are poor for your blood circulation.
  • Do not leave the car running or leave the key in the on position overnight to use the climate control. You risk breathing in harmful car emissions, running out of gas, or killing the car battery.
  • Never leave your car window open more than a crack. Although ventilation is important, an open window is an invitation to thieves or other or other ill-willed miscreants.

Bring A Headlamp Or Hang Lanterns

Getting comfy for the night doesnt mean youre ready to hit the sack right away. Hang lanterns or headlamps from car handles to illuminate your interior for reading, organizing or snuggling with your adventure pup. Other reasons to bring a headlamp on the road? It can help light the way when nature calls in the middle of the night, or if you want to do a bit of hiking at dawn or dusk.

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They Suffer From Paranoia

Though rare for a homeless person to refuse food, when one does, the first reason may be because they hold suspicion about the food.

Homeless people often suffer from mental health issues. One of the major symptoms that they experience is extreme paranoia. Being paranoid, homeless people may distrust the food or the person offering it.

They may, perhaps, think that the kind person who is offering them food, for example, is a CIA agent who is trying to poison them because they know too much top-secret information.

In fact, many of the homeless are veterans. They may even truly know some governmental information that gives basis to be worried.

Covering The Car Windows For Sleeping

Sleeping In Your Car on Road Trips: My Top Tips

Its important to try and cover the windows/not be visible when sleeping in the car. This is for safety reasons and also because cars are terrible at blocking out light and sound.

You can cover the windows use string, bungees and some material such as cheap black bedsheets. You may also want to get an eye cover and/or earplugs so you can wake up when you want to.

Additionally, you can put your belongings against the windows or trap some material by closing the window on it, hanging it appropriately

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Should You Sleep In Your Car Where Its Illegal

The amount of risk youre willing to take when it comes to sleep in your car is entirely up to you.

Weve slept in cars in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Bellingham and other major cities without getting caught.

The trick is to be super stealthy, obey parking signs and restrictions, arrive late and leave early and keep your vehicle looking clean and organized.

For example: Dont hang white sheets from all your windows. It looks bad and youll probably get caught. Use dark sheets that blend in.

When its illegal to sleep in your car, nobody should even think anyone is in there.

Here are a few tips and tricks to make sure youre stealth:

  • Park late and leave early
  • Move to a new parking spot every night
  • Tint your windows, get blackout curtains or make your own, use a front windshield sunshade and hang a dark sheet or blanket between the two front seats
  • Use dark bedding so you blend in
  • Dont use lights late, talk on the phone or watch movies
  • Be very quiet and respectful
  • Brush your teeth and use the bathroom far away from the place where youre planning on parking for the night
  • Make sure your car looks clean and is in good shape to the best of your ability

We havent heard of people being ticketed or towed very often when sleeping in a city. Youll usually just deal with a knock from a police officer or a security guard, asking you to move.

Crack your windows so they dont fog up overnight.

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