Is Illegal To Live In And Sleep In Your Car In Texas?
The cost of living has soared around the world, including here in Texas. People are finding new and creative ways to save money. When I think about people cutting luxuries and tightening budgets to save, I think about them collecting coupons, buying off-brand items, or maybe even growing their own food.
Some people might take a more drastic route, and live in their car. If they're unemployed, they may not have much of a choice. If they do have a job, it may be a way to save up money without the burden of rent.
Either way, I wanted to know - is it against the law? My first thought when I asked this question is, I would hope not. After all, people who have CDL licenses usually sleep in their trucks, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they do that in their actual cars.
IF I LIVE IN MY CAR IN TEXAS, WILL I GO TO JAIL?
The short answer is "no", but there are some things you need to know if you plan to go this route.
REST STOPS ARE OK
It's not illegal to sleep in your car in Texas. In fact, there are public rest areas along our highways at which you're actually encouraged to stop and, well, rest if you're in need of a break. You can also catch some zees in your car at public picnic and information centers.
However, you're not allowed to park there for more than 24 hours. So, you'll want to get your rest and move on, or at least drive off for a few hours and come back later. Just know that if an officer notices you frequenting the spot, they may ask questions.
Also, you're not allowed to sleep on the grass, or on any public fixtures like tables or benches.
BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU PARK
If you've ever been to Walmart, you've probably seen 18-wheelers and RVs parked there. The company has typically welcomed this type of activity with some rules and expectations.
People may treat Walmart, 7-Eleven, and other private businesses like public property, but they're not - they're private entities, and if they spot you living in your car in the parking lot, they're probably going to start asking questions. They could actually report you for trespassing or loitering. Some cities might even have ordinances that outlaw you camping out at these places, even if the employees are cool with it.
Walmart is reportedly more sympathetic toward people who sleep a bit in the parking lot, but you should never count on that to be the case everywhere.
This really goes for any business. Don't just assume you can sleep in their parking lot or while parked at the curb outside. Chances are you'll hear a police flashlight tapping on your window while you're having a nice dream.
WHAT ABOUT BUC-EE'S?
Buc-ee's is a welcome sight on any road trip. It's a perfect place to fuel up, use the bathroom, and load up on snacks. Many even have Tesla charging stations and areas for pets to relieve themselves.
However, Buc-ee's is NOT a place you want to sleep in your car. In fact, the FAQ section of their website makes it clear that you are not welcome to spend too much time in the parking lot.
SPEAKING OF PRIVATE PROPERTY
NO parking on other people's property, whether it's at the curb or in/near their driveway. This one should be obvious, but I want to emphasize it because you know Texans are packing and you could end up with some new speed holes in the hood of your car (if you're lucky).
BEST OF LUCK TO YOU
So if you’re a Texan wanting to be cost-efficient and get rid of your home and pack up all your things and place them in your vehicle, go right ahead with your Toyota, AKA home sweet home. Just be careful and smart about it.
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