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Sleeping in Your Car: Why It Should Be Avoided at All Costs

Sleeping in Your Car: Why It Should Be Avoided at All Costs
05 February, 2024

In our busy lives today, finding a comfy spot to rest can be tough. For some folks, like those on long road trips, sleeping in the car might seem like an easy fix. But it’s not always safe. If you snooze in the car, especially when it’s super hot, it can be really risky. It might even be deadly. So, it’s essential to be cautious and find safer options for resting.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

One of the most significant risks associated with sleeping in a car is carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas produced by the combustion of fossil fuels such as gasoline, diesel, or wood. When a car is left running in an enclosed space, such as a garage or with windows rolled up, CO can quickly accumulate to lethal levels.

Sleeping individuals are particularly vulnerable to CO poisoning because they may not be aware of the danger until it’s too late.

Symptoms of CO poisoning include :

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • weakness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • chest pain
  • confusion

In severe cases, it can lead to loss of consciousness and death. Children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health conditions are at an even higher risk.\

As we know in July 2023, Malaysia was shocked by the news that three individuals, including a woman, were found unconscious in a Perodua Alza multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) incident at the Yong Peng rest area on the southbound North-South Expressway. Three victims are believed to have died from inhaling carbon monoxide gas while resting at the side rest area.

News :

Heatstroke and Dehydration

On the other end of the spectrum, sleeping in a car during hot weather can also be extremely dangerous as we know that in Malaysia we mostly have a high temperature about 27-32c. Cars can heat up rapidly, even with the windows cracked open, leading to heatstroke and dehydration.Heatstroke occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature, causing it to rise to dangerous levels.

Symptoms include a

  • high body temperature,
  • rapid pulse, headache,
  • nausea,
  • confusion,
  • unconsciousness

Without prompt medical treatment, heatstroke can quickly lead to organ damage and death.

Actually, sleeping in an unpowered car is also possible. But we do not encourage this for safety and comfort reasons.

You can sleep in a car with the engine off and windows closed. It may be feasible at night, but can you do this during midday or afternoon with extremely hot ambient temperatures? The temperature inside the car can become hotter than outside, leading to dehydration!

However, if you tired and must take a nap while on the trip road, here’s what we can suggest :

  • RnR
  • Budget hotels
  • Mosque (for muslim)

If not, you can choose to sleep in open areas like rest huts that are often built in RnR areas. No need to feel embarrassed or shy because you’re not doing anything wrong. Make sure there are many people around in that area. If you want to sleep in these places, don’t bring your wallet. Just bring your ID card, car keys, and a bit of cash if needed.

To avoid having to sleep during a long journey, it’s best to plan your trip well. Avoid starting long journeys at night. Make sure your body gets enough rest before starting the journey. Also, check your vehicle before setting off to prevent accidents.

Sleeping in a car might seem like a fast solution when you’re tired or don’t have a place to stay, but it’s not worth the risks. From getting poisoned by carbon monoxide to facing extreme weather, the dangers are serious. It’s important to talk about these risks and find better options to keep everyone safe, especially those who are most at risk in our communities. Remember, it’s better to be a bit uncomfortable for a while than to risk your life.

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