Here are some ideas of things you really ought to make sure you know before you set off on that journey.
- Laws. You should have a valid licence and be familiar with the laws on insurance and use of roads where you intend to drive. You must comply with any restrictions on your licence and any laws affecting the journey you want to make.
- Regulations. Not as clear as laws, but often just as bad if you mess up. Each state will have regulations about dozens of technical issues such as the amount of tyre tread you should have, the pollution emissions allowed, the specification of seat belts, how loads must be fixed and many others.
- Geography. Find out where you are going and what the roads are like. Are there any major obstructions at present? Are there any tolls? Where are the gas stations and where will you stop?
- Inside your vehicle. You need to know its limitations, its pull away capabilities and its quirky gear issues. You also need to know where the buttons for lights and horn are, how to move the windows and the seats and how to turn on the window heater and the indicators.
- Outside your vehicle. You need to be familiar with the shape and dimensions of your car. Can you see the end of the bonnet or does it dip down so there is more room? Can you judge the length to the rear? Do the side mirrors give you a good view? Do they need adjusting and where are the blind spots? Is there a tow bar sticking out which you cannot see? Is there a roof rack or travel system above which you might forget?
Answer all these and your journey will be much safer!