Everyone has been there; you have been travelling for a long time and you are exhausted. All you want is nothing more than to rest your eyes and sleep for the night. So, you pull over on the side of a road and find somewhere to park and you don’t even have to pay a fee. Sounds great, right? Well, there are a few reasons why you might want to rethink being keen to park illegally.
In this article, we will explain the possible consequences of parking illegally as well as some tips to keep in mind to help you avoid the sticky situation as a whole.
Consequence #1: Citations and Fines
It is considered illegal for a reason, no matter how arbitrary the situation may seem. Thus, this opens you and your vehicle up to receiving several citations or fines. Plus who wants to ruin their camping trip by having to take time out of it to pay off fines for parking somewhere you aren’t supposed to? You can receive different penalties depending on the district and type of area you park in. Some even being up to $1,500 for parking overnight.
It’s definitely better to play it safe rather than sorry in this case. Make sure you do some background research into the local laws and bylaws to make sure you are following all the rules applicable to the area. By following local laws, you can be sure you will have nothing but fun on your RVing excursion.
Consequence #2: Unfriendly Encounters
What is one of RVers’ worst nightmares? That’s right, an unfriendly encounter at night, especially when it might be in an area you are not so familiar with. When you stay illegally overnight there is a real possibility you might have this happen to you. Staying overnight without payment or permission opens you up to property owners, law enforcement and a multitude of other individuals knocking on your RV.
These encounters will likely end up with you being kicked off the premises, possibly being told that you are not welcome back or worse facing the police. Facing the police can bring many more issues we will discuss. The important thing to take away is it is not good to end up in these unfriendly encounters because it can ruin your reputation or worse.
Consequence #3: Facing the Police/Possibly Being Towed
No one wants to deal with this situation. As mentioned before, you can face a pretty nasty fine for parking illegally in your RV overnight. But there are many more issues that can arise when police are called to the scene.
Local police have authority in whatever area you are staying in, meaning you likely won’t get away without at least a warning. The more combative or severe the situation is the worse the penalty you will face from them. Some penalties you can face include being towed, being forcibly removed from the property, having your license suspended, or worse being placed in jail. None of those sound-like good options so the best choice is to park legally and pay whatever fine you might have to.
Safe Alternatives to Illegal Overnight Parking
There are many things you can do in advance of your RVing excursion to make sure you don’t get caught in a sticky situation facing the consequences above.
Planning ahead is probably one of the best things you can do when setting out on an RV trip. It simplifies many things, not just the issue of where you are going to dock overnight. There is a multitude of campsites and RV parks that are affordable and many other outlets that are emerging for you to stay at. This also allows you to factor in rest times which are vital in your RV outing. They not only help you avoid situations like these but also keep you and your passengers safe. Which is the most important thing when going out in an RV.
Using Navigation Tools to your Advantage
There are many tools out now which are designed to make your life easier and ensure you get to your destination safely. These tools are even able to provide you with lists of nearby RV camps and stopping places for you to rest for the night. Some great examples of these tools are RV Life Trip Wizard, Boondockers Welcome, Harvest Hosts and many more. RVers have all the reasons in the world to use these tools to their advantage so get on it! It will save you a lot of money and time in the long run.
Staying with a Friend or Family
In the worst-case scenario, maybe you are familiar with the area and can hit up a friend or family member to stay with them. While this might not always be possible it is good to keep in mind. This can save you from both fees and from running into legal issues. Overall, it might not be ideal, but it is much better than getting an angry knock at 2 a.m.
No matter what the situation is, the risks always outweigh the benefits when trying to illegally park your RV overnight. Almost always the situation turns out bad and you lose more than you gain. Parking overnight illegally can cost you money, your trip, or worse your freedom. Overall, you don’t want to ruin your trip by catching a nasty fine. So, follow some of the tips provided in this article and you are sure to have a grand time.
Remember, paying a small fee to stay somewhere overnight will hurt your pockets much less than a larger fee and a possible additional towing fee. Overall, just make sure you are travelling safely and taking appropriate precautions.