Can you sleep at rest stops in Florida?

In this blog post, we will discuss: Can you sleep at rest stops in Florida? We will discuss basic safety rules for rest stops and give you advice on how to sleep safely while on the road. 

Can you sleep at rest stops in Florida?

No, you cannot sleep at rest stops in Florida, it is an illegal and dangerous practice. Rest stops are rest areas located along the highways in the US with the purpose of a safe place to rest or stop in case of an emergency. 

Although it is illegal to spend the night at rest stops in Florida, some states, as you will see in the table below, allow it. However, you can spend only up to three hours at the rest stop. 

States that allow overnight parking at rest stops

StateOvernight parking allowed Y/N
District of ColumbiaYes
New HampshireYes
New JerseyYes
New MexicoYes
New YorkYes
North CarolinaNo
North DakotaYes
Rhode IslandYes
South CarolinaNo
South DakotaYes
West VirginiaYes

Basic safety tips if stopping at rest areas in the US

The most basic and first tip if stopping at a rest area is to wear an orange jacket.

As soon as you stop, it is mandatory by law to wear an orange reflective jacket. It is used to make sure that it is clearly visible to all those who pass close by, who travel the highway at high speed, especially during the night and early in the morning.

The lighting in some sections of the highway is not the best so never forget to wear a jacket. Remember to always keep it with you in the vehicle. It could be useful in an emergency situation if by chance you notice an engine failure while driving or you need to change the tire because you have a puncture. 

Warning: it seems trivial to say, but always take a good look in the mirror before getting out of the vehicle on the pitch; do not forget, in fact, that you are on the highway, the cars whiz at up to 130 km / h and could also barely skid and make the irreparable happen. Moreover, in any case (both at night and during the day) wear the orange jacket: if you are surprised by the Traffic Police without it, you could risk a fine.

In fact, the law states that suspenders or jackets must always be worn “outside built-up areas, when stopped on the roadway, on emergency lanes and on lay-bys; at night, but also during the day in case of bad visibility; when getting out of the vehicle and when all signalling operations are carried out, such as placing the triangle “. 

Anyone who does not comply with the aforementioned provision risks a penalty of a minimum value of 41 dollars and a maximum of 169 dollars, in addition to the deduction of two points from the driving license.

What not to do at the rest stops: These areas are dedicated to emergency situations, they must not and cannot be used to rest and sleep for a few minutes, in case you have a fall asleep, for example. If you feel very drowsy while driving, stop as soon as possible, it could be very dangerous, but avoid the lay-bys on the highway.

Try to resist as much as possible and be able to reach an equipped parking area where you can relax, maybe even have a coffee at the Autogrill, stretch your legs and leave again. The emergency areas are not service areas, the latter among other things are very numerous and are found by the hundreds on the entire Italian road and highway network.

The problem of cars parked on the side of the road is carefully monitored every day by the Traffic Police. Unfortunately, the network of SOS columns is not always functional, but Italy was one of the first countries to equip itself with these tools to help motorists in difficulty. 

In emergency areas, these devices are installed which serve as a contact point to alert highway managers of a problem. Fortunately, in recent years we all have a mobile phone at hand at all times, which allows you to make an emergency call at any time unless the battery is completely grounded.

Sleeping on the road in Florida: advice

  • If you decide to stop when it is already dark and you are not sure where there is an equipped area/rest stop off the highway, it is better NOT to venture out and look for it; it often happens that those indicated on the guides are closed, frequented by nomads, difficult to find because they are poorly marked and therefore you risk wasting time, especially when you are sleepy and just want to sleep. 

You run the risk of finding them closed because the reception only opens up to a certain time.

  • If you opt instead for the overnight stop in the equipped area/camping site and you plan to arrive late in the evening, it is advisable before leaving to check the closing time and also the availability, also kindly asking for confirmation of the optimal route for reach the property, sometimes there are anomalies between the GPS coordinates and reality!
  • If you sleep in parking lots of shopping centres, supermarkets, multiplexes, outlets it is better to stop near other campers/caravans, do not sleep in too dark and secluded areas, optimal is under the street lamps and in any case have alarm systems and/or fixed chains. to the cabin door handles.
  • If you opt for the highway service areas (which we choose very often because it has the advantage of being ready for departure in a short time), it is useful to take into consideration:
  • sleep in well-lit areas, away from trucks with refrigerated cells (too noisy) and with loads of animals (they give off a bad smell) and in any case, if you choose to sleep next to a haulier you must be aware that he is a “morning” worker!
  • alternatively, it is advisable to stop near other campers/caravans and position yourself near the entrance to the bar (it is a bit noisy, but going away certainly discourages some bad guys).
  • On the highway, you have the advantage of using the camper service for loading and unloading, often free of charge. 

Final thoughts

It is not for everyone to sleep in precarious conditions such as a parking lot in a shopping centre or at a rest stop on the highway, so in this case, it is advisable to plan well the travel routes and look for parking solutions such as picnic areas and campsites which offer a “camper stop” type of accommodation, obviously after a telephone call.

If you opt for sleeping at a rest stop on the highway it is advisable:

  • To equip yourself with an alarm system;
  • To use a chain with a padlock to pass from handle to handle in the cab or equip the doors with additional safety locks;
  • To install sleep gas detector;
  • To always keep the windows closed and in summer sleep with the windows open.

Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about the content!

FAQ on Can you sleep at rest stops in Florida?

When you take a long trip, should you stop to rest?

Yes, when taking a long trip it is recommended to stop to rest, at least every 2 hours behind the wheel or every 150/200 kilometres travelled. In any case, the driver must rest whenever he needs it, even if the hours or kilometres indicated have not been reached.

For how long can you drive?

The maximum daily driving time cannot exceed 9 hours, except twice a week which can reach 10 hours. The weekly driving time will not exceed 56 hours (the period of time between 00:00 on Monday and 24:00 on Sunday will be understood per week).

How to stay safe on a long trip?

To stay safe on a long trip take the time to review everything you need and follow these practical tips:

  1. Check that your car is in good condition. 
  2. Plan the routes. 
  3. For long routes, try to travel accompanied. 
  4. Do a security “check”.
  5. Have entertainment for your children. 
  6. Do not get distracted.

Are truck stops dangerous?

Generally, truck stops are not dangerous places to rest for a few hours. Still, there are some risks that you must consider, and thus prepare yourself in order to rest. 


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