Even if youve missed some key details in your flight planning, ATC can help keep you out of trouble. But, you should do your part, too.
When I trained for my private pilot certificate, §91.103 was drilled into my head. Each pilot in command, it says, shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight. The core of that is straight from the Boy Scouts: be prepared. Now, as an air traffic controller, it concerns me when pilots arent aware of major issues affecting their flight. Sometimes we controllers have to be the voice of reason, preventing a pilot from doing something that may not be in his best interest. Other times, we have to hold his hand and walk him through a new situation.