There's nothing like being woken up by a cop tapping their flashlight on your car window.

That *clink clink* sound is the stuff of nightmares.

This is why it's important to know the do's and don'ts of your state's rest areas.

Some states really crack down on people who stay too long or who basically want to turn the rest area into their personal campground.

Here are the rules if you live in Utah, per

  • Rest areas are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and thus are available for use overnight.
  • Rest areas are intended to combat driver fatigue, and thus resting and sleeping is permitted as long as it is being done for the purpose of combating driving fatigue.
  • There are no limits on how long one can stay at a rest area, only that “extended stays are permitted”, however on-site staff and highway patrol will be monitoring you.
  • No overnight camping is permitted, which we interpret to mean that rest areas are not intended for recreational use, thus grilling food, setting up outdoor patio furniture, rolling out slides on your RV, watching television outdoors, are not permitted.

Important clarification: even though it says no overnight parking as allowed, you are allowed to park overnight. So basically, you can hangout in your car overnight, but don't put out any lawn chairs or tents.

This also means that, yes, you can sleep overnight at a rest area. But be prepared to do it in your vehicle.

"The UDOT states on its website that rest areas are intended to “combat driver fatigue”. This would include sleeping in your car, or whatever else you have to do get back on the road safely. While UDOT has prohibited “overnight camping”, there is a difference between camping and sleeping. Camping is recreational, while sleeping is intended to combat driver fatigue." (full article)

Thanks for reading!

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