1. Preparing the Vehicle
Chapter 8 (Preliminaries) and Chapter 9a (Starting the Engine) should be performed before you drive.
For longer journeys visit your service station to check and service the vehicle more completely.
This should include: brakes, tires, fluid levels, belts/hoses, front-end steering, shock absorbers, exhaust systems and lights/electrical system.
2. Loading the Vehicle
Check driver’s manual for maximum load and recommended tire pressure.
Pack luggage carefully to distribute the weight as evenly as possible.
Make sure the load does not move under hard braking or sudden manoeuvres. Don’t block your view to the rear or to the blind spots.
Heavy articles should be at the bottom.
IMPORTANT: Only light luggage should be stored in a car-top carrier and secured using straps.
3. Towing a Trailer
Towing requires major adjustments by the driver.
Quick swerving is not possible; stopping distances are increased; acceleration is slower.
Control speeds on down-hills and assist the transmission on grades by shifting to the appropriate gear.
Practice reversing with an empty trailer until you are confident in your ability to park.
The vehicle requires a tow package.
Check the engine oil and transmission fluid frequently.
Use an appropriate hitch and attach the safety chains. Install special side-view mirrors and a hook-up for the trailer lights.
When packing, load heavy items at the bottom over the axle.
Distribute the weight evenly from the side to side and secure the load firmly.
4. Preparing Yourself
Get plenty of rest prior to the journey. Plan your route and rest stops, avoid rush hour and congested roadways. Be certain to bring extra money or credit cards to cover unforeseen expenses.
Never start out at the time when you would go to sleep. Your alertness is at its lowest at this time. If while driving, you find yourself becoming fatigued, stop and rest or change drivers. On long trips, travel with at least one companion who has a valid license and split the driving. Make sure your vehicle insurance and medical coverage is proper to the area you will be visiting.
5. Planning the Route
For longer trips, consult your local auto club or tourist agency, they can supply maps as well as assist you to plan a route that will permit visiting interesting areas along the way.
Plan your schedule with rest stops and overnight accommodations in advance. Reserve facilities ahead of time; make sure you ask about rates and the availability of parking.
Calculate your budget for the entire journey and add an extra amount for unforeseen expenses.
Acquire the necessary maps that will direct you all the way to your destination. Familiarize yourself with these road maps.
When travelling alone, never try to check a road map while driving. While on the road, try to start out early each day, eat lightly to avoid drowsiness and allow time to stretch your legs at each stop.
An unplanned scenic stop to avoid being caught in rush hour traffic may get you to your final destination at about the same time without the aggravation.