“Get some sleep―that’s the important thing,” says James Joseph, author of 110 Car and Driving Emergencies and How to Survive Them. Falling asleep at the wheel is one of the leading causes of fatal single-car accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If last-minute preparations have worn you out, don’t be too ambitious on your first day. When charting your course, plan to be on the road no more than eight hours a day, and factor in 10-minute breaks every two hours.
Bring an emergency supply of any medications you need―along with your spare pair of eyeglasses. Also stock the car with a gallon of water, a flashlight with extra batteries, Fix-A-Flat, and a pillow. “It can make all the difference to a good night’s sleep,” says Megan Edwards, the founder and president of the website RoadTrip America (roadtripamerica.com).