Can You Sleep in Your Car if You’re Drunk?  

ELI5: Negligence

Can You Sleep in Your Car if You’re Drunk?  

You’ve had a big night partying like it’s 1999 and Y2K is tomorrow—so should you sleep it off in your car? Ideally, no. If at all possible, you should get a safe ride home if you’re too intoxicated to drive (if you’ve had any amount of alcohol, you should not be driving). With rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft, there’s no reason to drink and drive. However, there will always be someone who, for some reason, is able to find some reason that they cannot get an Uber or Lyft. So, if you’re in a situation where you cannot drive home, can you just sleep in your car? Technically, yes. However, there are some rules and safety tips to follow. 

Is It Safe? 

So, technically speaking, just sleeping in your car is safe, but there are things that can make it unsafe. For example, if you pull over on the side of the freeway to take a snooze, that’s pretty unsafe. Aside from emergencies, you should never pull over on the side of the freeway. Some side streets and parking lots may not be safe places for you to park your car while you’re snoozing. You shouldn’t leave your car running while you’re snoozing in the car, especially if you’re in an enclosed area, like a garage. This can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal. 

Is It Legal? 

Whether or not you can legally sleep in your car will depend on your location. In some states, it may be legal to sleep in your car; however, if you’re on private property, you may be asked to leave. Just because a place is public doesn’t mean it’s public property. For example, IHOP is a public place, but it’s often private property. So, if you’re parked at IHOP, and you’re asked to leave, you will need to leave—or the cops could be called. If you’re drunk, however, things change. If you are under the influence of alcohol, the act of merely sitting behind the wheel could result in you being charged with a DUI. If you decide to sleep it off in the car, you cannot be in the driver’s seat, or you may get a DUI. Also, your keys cannot be in your possession. In some states, you can have the keys in the trunk of your car, but in other states the keys cannot be in the car. Do not leave the keys in the ignition either. If you have open containers, pour them out—they can’t be in the car, even if you’re just sleeping in the back seat. If you’re parked in a place that does not allow for overnight parking, either have a sober friend move your car or get an Uber. Do not move the car yourself, even if it is just a short distance. 

Getting an Uber 

Sleeping in the backseat of your car while you’re intoxicated isn’t ideal. The best-case scenario is getting a ride home from a sober person. With the invention of rideshare apps like Uber, Lyft, and taxi services, there are no shortages of ways that you can get home without sleeping in your car or becoming a drunken menace to other drivers and pedestrians. If you’re hosting a get-together, and your friends are intoxicated, don’t make them sleep in their cars. Offer them a safe place to crash for the night. If they’re dead-set on driving themselves home despite being drunk, make sure you let them know that you’re happy to get an Uber for them. 

Planning Ahead 

A lot of people don’t set out to drink and drive. They often don’t plan how they’re going to get home before they start drinking. Once they begin drinking, they don’t always understand just how impaired they are. Some people actually feel like they’re pretty much sober even though they’re actually quite impaired. This impairment in judgment causes people to get behind the wheel even though they’re too drunk to drive. Having a plan for how you’re going to get home can help you avoid getting behind the wheel when you’re drunk. If you’re hosting a get-together at your house, it may be a good idea to ask your friends what their plans for getting home are, and make sure they’ve got one before you start serving alcohol. 

Don’t Drink and Drive 

At Moxie Law Group, we see far too many people sustain life-altering and fatal injuries due to drunk driving. If you have had any amount of alcohol, it is your responsibility to refrain from getting behind the wheel. If you have been injured by a drunk driver, contact Moxie Law Group today for a free consultation. 

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