Best Tips for the Ultimate Car Nap

Driver fatigue is real. If you've ever though about snoozing in your car, there are right and wrong ways to do it. Here are the best tips for the ultimate car nap.

Tips For Napping In Your Car|Teens Sleeping In The Backseat Of A Car With Parents In The Front
When the urge to nap hits you, sometimes you just have to give in to it. Photo credit: Scotty Reiss

Keep driver fatigue at bay with a well timed car nap!

Sometimes I think every day should be National Napping Day. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: every dang thing has its own “day” of celebration. National Law Day, National Compliment Day, National Naked Gardening Day (yup, that’s a thing…Google it if you don’t believe me). Before you say “stop the madness” let’s talk about this. Naps need their own dedicated day because naps are awesome and good for your health. A Girl’s Guide to Cars supports National Napping Day. So, we present our tips for the ultimate car nap.

We spend a lot of time in our vehicles. We move from one place to the next in our cars. And driver fatigue is real. It can be exhausting. Especially if you’re a mom or a very busy girl on the go. So let’s talk about some things to consider when you need to stop and sleep. Here are the best tips for your best car nap.

Read On: How to discreetly change clothes in a car

Tips For Napping In Your Car|Two Little Boys Asleep In The Backseat Of A Ram Truck

Even though most of our “photographic evidence” of taking naps in the car involves our sleeping kids, we’re offering you some practical (and safe!) tips on what YOU need to know before you fall asleep in your car. Photo: Jill Robbins

Safety first

One major reason for an accident is a tired driver. Driver fatigue is dangerous; please don’t drive when you’re sleepy. Driving fatigued is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. Naps (especially mid-day) have been scientifically proven to be beneficial for your health. For some, it may seem like a luxury but it’s better safe than sorry when it comes to driving.

Consider your safety and that of your passengers when searching for a place to park and car nap. Don’t park in sketchy, secluded, or illegal areas. Be sure to check your surroundings. Rest stops are usually good places to catch some zzzs.

Tips For Napping In Your Car|Dog Asleep In Front Seat Of Car

Your four-legged friends might need to snooze in the car, too. Just make sure you never leave a pet unattended in your car. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Tips on finding the best napping spots

Don’t park on the side of the highway or on a rural roadway. Find a safe place where you’re unlikely to be hit by another vehicle going at a high speed, such as a parking lot or quiet residential street. Look for a public parking lot in a safe, populated area that is well lit at night. And yes, we know populated and illuminated don’t equal prime car nap conditions, but you want to make sure you’re safe. Try Target, Walmart, or grocery stores like Publix, Safeway, HEB, Meijer, and so on.

Also, remember not to go to sleep in your vehicle with the A/C or heat on. You will put yourself at risk for carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide poisoning. A short snooze is probably okay, but do you really want to risk it?

Read On: Best Family Road Trips for Spring

Napping In The Car

Ah, don’t you envy kids who can sleep anywhere? Photo: Beth Giusti

Who’s ready for naptime?

Parents usually love it when their kids take car naps. Nap time equals quiet time and it enables the driver to get where they’re going without hearing rounds of “Are we there yet?” and “He’s touching me.”

To make your kids’ rear seat space nap-friendly, consider keeping a cozy blanket in the backseat and installing a sunshade on the rear seat windows. This keeps the glare out of their eyes and a dimmer environment helps sleep come easier for most kids. If their child seat or booster seat can recline, adjust the setting before a trip if you’re hoping for a nap.

Create a soothing playlist (or play an audiobook they’re not interested in). Just make sure it doesn’t put the driver to sleep, too.

Read On: Cool road trip playlists for the kid in all of us

Napping In The Car

Even though small children typically fall asleep easily in a moving car, there are still some things you can do to make backseat conditions more favorable for napping. Photo: Beth Giusti

Tips for front seat passengers

Reclining the seat and a comfortable neck pillow and/or blanket will usually do the trick for a front-seat passenger who needs to take a car nap. Sun shades on the passenger side window or pulling the visor down can also produce great conditions for napping.

Keep in mind that due to driver fatigue, your driver may need someone to talk to in order to stay up and alert. Consider limiting your snooze time. Make sure the driver knows its OK to wake you if they need to chat or want to switch out the driving duties.

Other tips

  • Keep your doors locked.
  • Crack your window or sunroof ever so slightly to allow fresh air in, but not so wide that small animals or people can get in.
  • Use a sleep mask and earplugs to mute out any noise and light.
  • Use a sunshade during the day. This will give you more privacy.
  • Charge your electronics before you snooze. If you rely on your car to charge your devices make sure they’re not low on juice before you turn off your engine and shut your eyes. Set a timer on your phone- you want a nap, not a snooze fest.

You might not plan to sleep in the car, but if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to, these tips for car naps will hopefully help you out. Happy snoozing!

Tips For Napping In Your Car|A Girls Guide To Cars

Have a thought or comment? Share it with us on social media! You can find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And be sure to sign up for our email newsletter!

Car Shopping

Need a new car? Whether shopping for a new car or a used car we recommend using our car shopping service

Tire Shopping

Need new tires? We recommend Tire Rack

Car Repair

Need to get your car repaired? We recommend Repair Pal. Exclusively just for Girls Guide to Cars readers, call (877) 323-1708 to speak to RepairPal Car Genius for FREE automotive repair advice and if needed to find the right shop for you!

Jill is the oldest mom with the youngest kids pretty much everywhere she goes. She has a 29-year-old daughter... More about Jill Robbins