With all of the major highways in Southern California we have drivers who are traveling through the state or across the state who become drowsy and need to take a nap. Truckers driving big rigs, RVs, SUVs and cars feel their eyelids become heavy and feel the need to go to sleep for their own and other driver’s safety. Even motorcyclists become tired; ask any owner of a Harley Davidson Road King if they’ve almost fallen asleep while driving before and see what they say.

No Rest Areas

Most of the rest areas are not on Los Angeles freeways but on Interstates such as I5 and also located outside of the congested areas of greater Los Angeles.

If the urge to sleep comes on and you are on a Los Angeles freeway you should exit the freeway and find a good place for your nap. There are truck stops with parking lots which may allow some drivers to take a short nap. If sleeping at a rest area is safe or not is another question entirely.

Is sleeping on the side of the freeway illegal?

The shoulders along the freeways around Los Angeles are for emergency use only. If you have been involved in a car accident this is the area of the road you would use if possible to get out of everyone’s way.

Sleeping on the side of the freeway is against the law. If you pull over here and pull out the pillows and blankets you may be ticketed by California Highway Patrol.

California Vehicle code 22500 states:

“No person shall stop, park, or leave standing any vehicle whether attended or unattended, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a peace officer or official traffic control device…”  See the rest of 22500 here.

And 22500.1 states:

In addition to Section 22500, no person shall stop, park, or leave standing any vehicle, whether attended or unattended, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a peace officer or official traffic control device along the edge of any highway, at any curb, or in any location in a publicly or privately owned or operated off-street parking facility, designated as a fire lane by the fire department or fire district with jurisdiction over the area in which the place is located.

The designation shall be indicated (1) by a sign posted immediately adjacent to, and visible from, the designated place clearly stating in letters not less than one inch in height that the place is a fire lane, (2) by outlining or painting the place in red and, in contrasting color, marking the place with the words “FIRE LANE”, which are clearly visible from a vehicle, or (3) by a red curb or red paint on the edge of the roadway upon which is clearly marked the words “FIRE LANE”.

Sleeping on the side of the freeway is very dangerous and can cause accidents

If you are parked on the shoulder of 60, 110, 10, 60 or Interstate 5 or any other LA freeway and your parked vehicle causes an accident a personal injury attorney may hold you liable for your contribution to the victim’s injuries.

There have been many cases where a tractor trailer or car on the side of the road has contributed to a car accident that did not need to happen. Sometimes the vehicle on the shoulder is blocking people’s vision or simply didn’t need to be there as it was not experiencing any mechanical difficulties. Sometimes parked cars are hit even when they have a right to be there.

In 2016 a man was killed after crashing into an unoccupied big rig which was parked on 405 in Sherman Oaks. In this case the truck had broken down.

In another incident an airplane which needed to make an emergency landing near San Diego crashed into a parked car. The driver had pulled over to sync their Bluetooth.

$150 Million Awarded to crash survivor

In 2013 a Los Angeles jury awarded a 13 year old girl $150 million for a terrible, terrible accident. The jury found a trucking company and one of their drivers liable for parking on the side of Interstate 210. An SUV had crashed into a parked big rig. The SUV became stuck under the truck. The girl, then 9, escaped from the SUV only to see her mother, father and older brother burn. Another brother of hers had escaped as well and ended up committing suicide. This article on CBS says “Asam’s wrongful death lawsuit alleged Ortiz pulled over to sleep, ignoring written warnings that stopping there was allowed only in emergencies. The suit said Ortiz parked on the same shoulder Asam’s father tried to reach after he struck debris on the freeway and tried to stop.”

Lawsuits after getting hit while parked

In other cases drivers parked illegally who are hit may sue other drivers. In 1986 a driver sued a trucking company after his parked car was it by a truck carrying 1,800 cases of beer that was in route to Los Angeles. The accident left him a quadriplegic. In this particular case the truck driver had drifted off of the highway.

Contacting a lawyer after an accident involving a parked car

If you have been involved in an accident involving a parked car please feel free to contact me today for a free consultation. As seen above, there are many complexities to any accident case.