Are Interstate Rest Stops Safe? Here Are 6 Reasons Why They May Not Be

Are Interstate Rest Stops Safe? Here Are 6 Reasons Why They May Not Be

Rest stops are a necessary part of the game if you’re a regular traveler. Unfortunately, rest stops have been known not to be the safest places to rest your head. Are you interested in learning why that is? Read on to our six reasons why.

1. Rest Stops Have Been Known to Be a Haven for Crime

Interstate rest stops are where everyone can stop to fill up on gas, grab food and other necessities, and rest for the night. Notice, everyone can stop there. Interstate rest stops are an excellent target for people who want to commit certain crimes because the stops are usually secluded. Crimes that are known to happen at rest stops typically include:

  • Theft: If you are not careful to lock up your car and belongings, you may be a victim of someone breaking into your vehicle.
  • Prostitution: Interstate rest stops are an ideal place for prostitutes to illicit customers. As mentioned before, rest stops are usually in secluded areas, and therefore there could be a lot of hidden spots to commit the acts.
  • Drug Deals: Many drug deals are standard at rest stops for the same reasons as prostitution.
  • Vandalism: With thefts, prostitution, and drug deals, the least on the list is vandalism. But no one wants their cars or personal belongings vandalized. However, you can bet with all these other crimes; someone may get bored and commit an act of vandalism.

2. Avoid Loiterers. They May Be Up to No Good

If someone is hanging out in the parking lot of a rest stop without an agenda (phone call, cigarette, etc.), there is a chance that they may have malicious intent and be one of the persons mentioned above. Try to spend as little time as possible outside of a rest stop, especially if it’s dark. If you see someone who seems to be looking around for someone or something and has been doing this for an extended period, it may be best to head inside. You never know what a person might try to do in a dark and secluded area.

3. Most Rest Stops Need to Be Revamped

Did you know that there is a vast difference between the 95% of interstate rest stops that were built with funding from federal highway user taxes versus the 5% that were backed by toll-revenue finance? The difference is quite alarming.

Interstate rest areas funded by federal highway user taxes will only provide travelers with the most basic resources. These resources will only include restrooms, vending machines, and a tiny amount of parking space. The small 5% of toll-revenue financed rest stops can provide travelers and truckers with vehicle refueling, food and beverage shops, small shopping areas, and a more considerable parking lot.

Resources like these could also reduce some of the dangerous aspects of interstate rest stops. A little shopping area would allow travelers to stock up on things they need, making them feel safer. Additionally, more shops and places to eat could offer a sanctuary if someone was in danger. Most interstate rest stops should be redone to include all of this.

4. Rest Stop Areas Are a Breeding Ground for Germs.

Many of us have experienced a rest-stop bathroom. You know they aren’t very clean, and who knows when the last time was that they were actually cleaned? That’s why no one ever wants to go into them when traveling. You never know what you could see or catch in there.

5. They Always Look Like Something Out of a Horror Movie

Why are rest stops always in secluded areas? Don’t the owners know that makes us not want to stop there? If the site looks like a place you would see in a horror movie, it would probably be best to avoid it. However, sometimes it could be a last resort. If you absolutely have to stay there, take note of its name and some kind of landmark, just in case authorities need to be called.

6. Rest Stops May Hike Up Their Prices

Think about it. An interstate rest stop may be the only stop you get for miles. The people that run them know this and may use it as an opportunity to take you for all you’re worth. It might make the few extra miles to the nearest chain store worth it.


Crazy things have happened at rest stops. The next time you have to stop at one, it would be best to be cautious about it. If you have a sound system in place, you should be able to avoid these potential dangers. Don’t stay outside after dark, keep your belongings on your person at all times, and know your landmarks.