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Old 12-06-2009, 10:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need some tips on how to stop on ice / black ice

For once I would like to stop before the stop sign instead of skidding couple of feet pass it. I'm already slowing down way before the stop sign, anti-lock kicks in, and my car is still going. Would it be better for me to be at a almost complete stop couple of yards of where I want to be and then craw forward just incase there is ice there?
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What kind of tire are you running? Are you running studded tires? Are you staying on the brakes when you get on them; using ABS properly? It sounds like you answered your own question; start your stop sooner.

A good tip: Be extremely careful when you suspect water over ice, such as a snow-packed intersection with lots of traffic. This is the worst road condition you could find yourself in.
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for asking this question! Is there a good thread on here about driving a Subaru in the snow?

I have only driven in snow a couple of times but would like to go up into the mountains near here (grew up in Louisiana, now live in Oregon)
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Old 12-07-2009, 01:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Well for driving in the snow for many years in all kinds of cars, it really doesn't matter what you have for stopping. With ABS you'll feel like you arn't getting enough stopping power and with no ABS you'll feel the opposite! The best thing you can to is simply slow down early! The way I like to think about it is that the sooner you apply the brakes, the quicker you slow your rotating mass, and the sooner your tires, winter or not, can gain proper grip. When dealing with black ice, or watery ice, you may be SOL in certain situations. What I like to do in most situations, and any car, no matter how familiar, is to give a strong brake tap when I think theres a slick patch, especially on a freeway ramp, intersection or stop sign. This way I am aware of the conditions and they don't just appear when I don't need them. Ice driving takes practice, patience and awareness that neither you, your car or the other cars and their drivers are going to be able to stop suddenly. All said and done, when the temperature drops, so should your speed as well as your space for braking should increase. Go get some practice in, in the quite part of town tonight, just to get the feel.

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Old 12-07-2009, 03:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes...slow down early...if you normally drive 25 MPH on a certain stretch of road, when you suspect icing on cold days...drive 12.5.

Also braking can be challenging and comes with experience on ice, but the real key is making sure your speed is low enough so you never lose complete control of the vehicle...having said that..sometimes you are gonna start to slide...when that happens, if you are going slow enough...very light taps on the brakes (I know the ABS guys say you should not pump the brakes but ABS works better at higher speeds) at low speeds (and if there is ice you should be driving like grandma moses) slight brake pumping works at least for me here in NJ.

11 years in Forester with NJ slushy, icy winters and never an uncontrolled slide...unlike my previous Corolla which slid all over the damn place.
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Well, I like to drive in 3 when it's slippery out, that way when I let off the gass the gear slows me down first and then I apply the brake a little..You can always down shift to slow the car down with the engine and then brake. I always approach a slippery intersection very slowly..Just slOW dOwn!!..

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Old 12-07-2009, 04:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Always have an exit strategy. That's the most important thing. If you approach a stop sign, and there's ice you didn't expect, be sure you have a bail-out plan if something doesn't go right. Be that off-the road, or a smaller impact than getting T-boned at a divided highway. It also helps if the person behind you is about to rear-end you. If you have a safe exit planned, take it. I usually stop and partially cover the gas with my right foot and stay in 1st gear. If someone is flying up on me, I just launch out of the way (if there is no on-coming traffic).

In actual snow, it depends on how much room you have. With a Subaru, stay in the throttle. I find it's easiest to handle the car if you steer by throttle in the snow. If you are going to slide, it's better to oversteer than understeer. Also, keep your front tires and your eyes pointed where you want the car to go.

I find Subaru's are exceptionally easy to slide around. Just keep the wheel pointed and your foot in the throttle.
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:42 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:22 AM   #9 (permalink)
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My advice is to switch off ABS in the snow/ice and get some practice in without it.

How to : Switch for ABS

You can stop much quicker on black ice without ABS.

Also, always have an out, as BAC5.2 says.
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Snow tires help. But, really take the advice from earlier posts and practice. I have lived in the snow belt of Northern Michigan for most of my life so I believe that driving in winter conditions takes practice. Find that abandoned parking lot and do a few donuts with the parking brake (don't use high speed, cause you never know then the tires may grip....), try all sorts of maneuvers and scenarios to figure out how you and your FOZ react. Lean from the experience and perfect the shortfalls. This will build your confidence and allow you to keep a clear head when all else fails. A bail out plan will not work if you are in a panic. But, please have one as it is easier to tow your car out of a relatively fluffy snowbank than to have the "Jaws" rip your door off. Speed.... You need to practice your driving in slushy, blowing, and icy conditions to determine what a safe speed is for you in all conditions. There will always be a-holes on the road in a hurry, you need to look out for yourself and don't believe that anyone else is a defensive driver. If a driver is posing a safety risk for you then you need to pull off the road at a safe place, not necessarily on the shoulder, and let them by. I pray that you don't creep along at a "Sunday driver" pace, just keep a confident safe speed with an idea of how to react if the car should get into a skid. Confidence is key, white knuckle driving is hazardous.
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Old 12-07-2009, 06:37 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The best thing that will really help are studded tires, even better studded Blizzak tires or some sort of tire cables. Barring that, basically what others have said, practice. My Forester is a manual and I like to rev-match, down shift early before the stop sign. The thing is I've been on glare ice and short of emergency z-cables you will slide around.
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Old 12-07-2009, 06:45 AM   #12 (permalink)
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When it comes to curves...go slower than you feel necessary and then use power to go through them. Its easier to speed up than slow down. Use advance power to go up hills and slow down in advance when going down hills.

Going down a hill and around a curve at the same time is the worst of all worlds.
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Old 12-07-2009, 07:21 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Old 12-07-2009, 07:24 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I'm curious where you're finding ice or even black ice in SF?
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Old 12-07-2009, 07:31 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Also, if you try and turn but your car keeps going straight, I've found that shifting into second, turning completely in the way you're turning and flooring it, will kick your tail out and get your car in the right place instead of sliding halfway across the road. This is also called drifting lol but doing it in situations like this (if you're able to do it and keep control) can definitely help you get out of a bad situation!
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