5 Tips for Choosing Safe Rest Stops


Don't Spend the Night

Many rest stops offer picnic tables for a quick lunch.
Many rest stops offer picnic tables for a quick lunch.

While it may be cheap to spend the night at a rest area, it isn't necessarily safe. Many states have banned sleeping at rest stops due to increased crime, and many others have put up signs that discourage it. Your best bet is to look for campgrounds or state parks along your route where, for a small fee, you can more safely snooze in your car. If you have to sleep at a rest area, in an RV or car, keep the doors locked and don't open them to strangers. Talk to any strangers through the window or door, and if you feel threatened, drive away.

Related Articles


  • Dowling, Joanna. RestAreaHistory.org. 2010. (May 26, 2010)http://www.restareahistory.org/
  • Esterl, Mike. " R.I.P.: Budget Woes Spell Doom for Roadside Rest Stops." The Wall Street Journal. July 3, 2009. (May 26, 2010)http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124656938899088487.html
  • Foley, Ivan. "Charged in Rest Stop Murder." The Platte County Landmark (Missouri). Oct. 17, 2009. (May 26, 2010)http://www.plattecountylandmark.com/Article11177.htm
  • "French 'Killer' Admits Two More." BBC News. July 2, 2004. (May 25, 2010)http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3860079.stm
  • Highway Safety Committee, International Association of Chiefs of Poice. "The Highway Safety Desk Book." September 2004. (May 26, 2010)http://www.theiacp.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=qJ0Qs%2f6MtRY%3d&tabid=87
  • Interstate Travel Guide. Lenexa, Kan.: Roundabout Publications, 2008.
  • McDowell, Edwin. "Threat of Crime Rises on the Main Highways." The New York Times. Oct. 28, 1992. (May 25, 2010)http://www.nytimes.com/1992/10/28/us/threat-of-crime-rises-on-the-main-highways.html
  • "Rapist Arrested in Rest Stop Murder." WMUR (New Hampshire). July 18, 2002. (May 25, 2010)http://www.wmur.com/news/1566322/detail.html
  • Rohter, Larry. "Tourist Killed in Florida, Prompting New Patrols." The New York Times. Sept. 15, 1993. (May 25, 2010)http://www.nytimes.com/1993/09/15/us/tourist-killed-in-florida-prompting-new-patrols.html?fta=y
  • Santana, Sofia. "Highway Rest Areas No Place to Let Your Guard Down." South Florida Sun-Sentinel. May 30, 2008. (May 25, 2010)http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/crime/sfl-530publicsafety%2C0%2C7417447.story
  • State of Montana Department of Transportation. "Montana Rest Area Plan." May 2004. (May 25, 2010)http://www.mdt.mt.gov/publications/docs/brochures/restarea_plan.pdf
  • Washington State Department of Transportation. "Safety Rest Area Program Strategic Plan." November 2008. (May 25, 2010)http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/6CEBB99E-B6AE-48A6-AF31-86382985044B/0/SRAStrategicPlan.pdf


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