Is it legal to sleep in your vehicle in New York State?

There could be a number of reasons why you would find yourself sleeping in your vehicle. For example, driving from Albany to Buffalo might require a nap along the way. Maybe you've been drinking and want to sleep it off before driving or maybe your vehicle is your home. These are some reasons why you might be sleeping in your car, but is it legal?

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DROWSY DRIVING - New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) recently warned against 'drowsy driving' and launched a 'Stay Awake! Stay Alive!' campaign. If you are feeling tired while driving is it legal to pull over and take a nap?

According to, in New York State you are allowed a 3-hour limit for parking in a New York State rest area but you can't stay overnight and you can't set up camp.  

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Getty Images

INTOXICATED - Never operate a vehicle while under the influence. Attorney Kevin T. Conway indicates that driving and operating mean 2 different things. The act of operating a vehicle starts when you turn on the engine. If you are sleeping in your car, with the engine running, and you are intoxicated you could be breaking the law in New York State.

LIVING IN YOUR CAR - Whether you are living the 'van life', working remotely or simply call your car home, there are legal options to sleeping in your car in New York State. Certain retail locations such as a 24-hour Walmart and truck stops will allow you to spend the night, with permission.

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Getty Images

If you choose to sleep in your car, make sure to abide by all local laws and pick safe areas to stay overnight.

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