Sleeping in your car

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Sleeping in your car Reviews

melbourne_adam melbourn…
1 reviews
Where to stop when sleeping in your car in Australia Jun 08, 2011
So you've decided to take a car trip in Australia and you're wanting to sleep in your car to cut down on the cost of accomodation? Here are a few tips:

1. Generally speaking it is illegal to sleep in your car on public roads, however the authorities have for some time advocated the benefits of a quick power nap so that qualifies as an exception.

2. Never return to your car when you've had a few drinks. There have been a number of cases of people sleeping off a big night out in a pub car park only to get a knock on the window from the Police who have deemed the person to be "in control of a motor vehicle". If you are breath tested and return a reading you may be charged with drink driving even if you haven't started the engine and/or actually driven any where.

3. So where do you park when sleeping in your car? If you want to be completely legal, and you just want to pull up and not talk to anybody, your best bet is a truck stop. The better truck stops (24 hour) are well set up and lit and generally pretty safe. If you are happy to pay a small fee, Australia has a lot of caravan parks where you can pull up and camp out for the night.

4. If you are willing to risk a tap on the window from the police or a security patrol, most quiet suburban streets will be a fine place to stop - although strictly speaking this is illegal. Try to avoid any area near a school as the police generally take a dim view of anything going on near schools. You are also more likely to be caught if you are the only car around or if you stop near the beach or a shopping district. Although this may count as trespassing, I spent many a night as a student asleep in my car in a university car park and never got disturbed.

5. If you are asked about why you are sleeping wherever you are sleeping, always be polite and you may like to explain that you had intended just to take a "15 minute power nap" but must have fallen into a deep sleep. In any event, apologise and move along - but just make sure you move a good distance away - you don't want to get caught twice in one night by the same policeman!

6. One word of warning - because of an increase in the incidences of completely random violence in Australia you may be better off staying in motels or hostels rather than in your car. If you must sleep in your car - I suggest you make sure you are covered up in the back seat and the windows are shaded so as not to draw attention to yourself. Also bear in mind that in colder weather, condensation from your breath will make the inside of the car very damp by morning. How you choose to deal with that is up to you - either open a window during the night or make sure you air out the car as soon as the sun is up.
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