The short answer is yes, it is legal to sleep in your car, but there are important considerations to keep in mind before you do so.
Why is it legal to sleep in your car?
Mainly for safety reasons. It is estimated that as many as one in five serious accidents are caused by somebody falling asleep at the wheel. If you feel tired when you are driving, then stop and take a break. If you can find somewhere safe and secure to park, and you can take a short nap, then you are encouraged to do so.
Can I sleep anywhere?
Technically, yes, but bear in mind that if you fall asleep in a residential area, people may be concerned for your welfare and try to wake you up, or call the authorities.
Choose somewhere safe
Find somewhere safe and quiet to park. Sleep in a seat other than the driver’s seat – it’s more comfortable and it will be more obviously to passers-by that you have not simply fallen asleep at the wheel.
Bear in mind that many modern service stations now charge for parking after the first couple of hours. They use numberplate-recognition systems and will send the fines to you directly. Best to avoid the hassle and pay the parking charge if you exceed the free period.
When is it not a good idea to sleep in a car?
If you’ve been drinking, it’s better to stay way from your car altogether. Remember that you could be arrested for being ‘drunk in charge of a motor vehicle’, even if you don’t start to drive. You might also still be over the limit the next morning, or when you wake up. Get a taxi or a lift instead and collect your vehicle when you are sure you are sober the next day.