Drivers warned of massive £2,500 fines and prison for viral TikTok car trend

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Recently, “stealth camping” has become popular on social media as a new travel hack for people to try without needing to travel too far. The trend sees drivers kitting out their cars with everything they need to spend a night in their vehicle – from foam mattresses to black-out shades.

Stealth campers are now sharing their personal tips and tricks openly on social platforms including TikTok and Reddit too.

Many campers are turning to their cars for the convenience, flexibility and money-saving benefits it offers.

However, drivers are being warned that they could face hefty fines when taking part in the viral trend.

Sleeping in a car in the UK while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal.

By doing so, Britons can find themselves with a hefty £2,500 fine, 10 licence points or even a prison term.

Even if the car is stationary, the driver could still be considered legally in control. 

While it is not an offence to sleep in the car when sober, the location of the vehicle is important.

Drivers need to look for a safe place to park, check the location thoroughly and be aware of any parking restrictions.

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This is particularly important near main roads, national parks, or hospitals and schools.

Mark Akbar, Managing Director at CarStore, warned drivers to make sure they know the rules before “stealth camping”.

He said: “Exploring the UK’s many fantastic campsites and outdoor adventures is a great way to spend the summer, but we’d never advise drivers sleep in their cars overnight. 

“There are many risks involved such as penalties and fines, not to mention the safety risks. 

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“Always ensure you have appropriate accommodation booked where you (and your car) can stay safely overnight.”

The stealth camping trend has gained a large cult-following in the USA, with growing numbers in the UK too.

The “#stealthcamping” has received over 9.5 million views on TikTok alone, with Google searches increasing 100 percent in the last year.

Drivers should also be aware of where they stop in case they could be slapped with a parking fine.

If stopping at a motorway service station, motorists should watch how long they are parked up for as after two hours, they may be liable for a charge.

They should also be mindful of the environment by turning the vehicle engine off and ensuring they don’t leave any other appliances on.

By turning off the air conditioning and any heaters, drivers can avoid battery drain.

Mr Akbar also cautioned road users who were driving at night, saying: “Never drive when you’re tired, no matter how far away your end destination is. 

“We advise drivers to stop every two hours to stretch their legs and get some fresh air, a soft drink and to take a bathroom break.

“You should plan for adequate long stopovers when embarking on longer journeys – in a hotel, home, or legal campsite.”

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