If you've ever had to stay awake for a long time and drive, you know how frightening it can be to suddenly realize you can't remember the past few miles that you drove. Driving drowsy is dangerous (and illegal in states like New Jersey), and if you've had anything to drink beforehand -- even a tiny bit -- or taken something like cold medicine, you could actually find yourself charged with a DUI instead of just reckless driving if the police mistake your drowsy driving for drunk or drugged driving. Rather than risk a DWD or DUI charge, do what you can to find a place to sleep.
Obvious but Not Always Possible
If you can afford cab fare home or have the money to check into a motel to nap, do one of those, of course. However, sometimes people attending conventions in town reserve all the motel rooms, or you don't have enough money or credit for a long cab ride home and then back the next day to get your car. Or maybe you're in the middle of nowhere on a road trip. If you encounter these problems, you still have options.
With vacation rental services becoming more and more common, you can try looking up rooms in the area. There are bound to be a few open rooms in the area if you're in a major city. These rooms are often cheaper than rooms at local motels, and you can often instantly book private rooms through some of these services.
Couch Surfing Services
Related to the home-sharing services are couch-sharing or crashing services. For an even cheaper fee, you get to crash on someone's couch, which is obviously better than crashing your car. The drawback is that you won't have privacy in a house full of strangers if you're sleeping on the couch.
Truck stops that have a gas station, restaurant, store, and shower facilities often have large parking lots holding not only trucks, but also RVs and cars. It's best to be discreet; ensure you do not park near trucks lest it turn out you're taking up a truck parking spot. You can grab a quick nap in your car in many of these lots. This is a great option if you're near a smaller town or in the middle of a multistate drive as truck stops are located all over the country.
Do listen to your gut. If you feel the truck stop is not safe, don't stay there. But many are very busy and have good security. Pay the truck stop back by eating at the restaurant or buying something from the store.
If you find yourself nodding off near camping facilities, try stopping there. A low fee can get you a campsite for the night, which is better than nothing. Park the car and go to sleep.
Don't assume that a cup of coffee will wake you up enough to drive. If you've started nodding off behind the wheel, you must stop driving. The local police and everyone around you will be grateful you did. Contact a DUI attorney, like Hart Law Offices, PC, if you do end up with a DUI.