DRIVERS have been warned that a TikTok trend could get them in trouble with the law – even landing them in PRISON.
The craze, known as car camping or stealth camping, involves kitting out your car with everything from foam mattresses to black-out shades to then spend the night inside.
The movement has gained steam in the US but is also growing in the UK, with #stealthcamping receiving 9.5m views on TikTok, while Google searches for the trend have doubled in the last year.
Enthusiasts report that it gives them the freedom to go wherever, whenever without concerns over the price tag.
However, prospective car campers have been warned that it can lead to some hefty legal penalties if done wrong.
Mark Akbar, Managing Director of CarStore, gave drivers his top tips about getting involved in the craze safely and legally.
His top warning was that "Sleeping in a car in the UK while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal and Brits can find themselves with a hefty £2,500 fine, 10 licence points or even a prison term.
"Even if the car is stationary, you could still be considered legally in control.
"So, if you’re considering camping out in your car after a night at the pub – think again!"
The Road Traffic Act of 1998 states that motorists are liable to be punished if they are over the limit while "in control" of a vehicle, not just driving it.
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He also advised campers to be aware of potential parking charges and to turn off the engine and heater to avoid battery drain.
Even stopping at a service station can carry unexpected parking charges after two hours, according to Mark.
He further warned against driving when you're tired regardless of how far the destination is.
His advice is to stop every two hours to stretch your legs and get some fresh air, as well as plan enough long stopovers at hotels or campsites.
Mark concluded by saying: "Exploring the UK’s many fantastic campsites and outdoor adventures is a great way to spend the summer, but we’d never advise drivers to sleep in their cars overnight.
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"There are many risks involved such as penalties and fines, not to mention the safety risks.
"Always ensure you have appropriate accommodation booked where you (and your car) can stay safely overnight."
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