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2010 Forester X w/Ski Pak
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there all,
I am going to head to the Snow for the first time next week, and I have NO IDEA about how to drive in the snow. :shrug:
Any tips you may have to help me protect my family and my car, when driving in Snow conditions, would be GREATLY appreciated.
Thanks very much in advance.
 

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12 Premium 5-speed
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4,486 Posts
- Everything you normally do, do it slower and do it gentler.
- Allow more space for each upcoming and/or potential maneuver.
- Braking in this car is no different than any other car. For braking, the dominant factor is the tires. Start your braking sooner and hang back a bit farther than normal from the vehicle ahead of you.
- If you can, go fart around in a snow-covered parking lot a little bit before you hit the road, to get a little bit of first-hand feedback on how the car will react to sudden steering, heavy braking, punching the gas, etc, and also how to recover from the effects of those things.
- If you lose a bit of control, don't panic. Sometimes braking is the right move and sometimes staying a little bit on the power is correct. Experience will tell you which is which. That doesn't help much for a first-time-out but keep in mind that nailing the brakes is not necessarily the best solution to a traction problem, but driving smoothly will help you in most, if not all, low-traction spots.

Always remember that AWD is not a magic bullet for bad road conditions: it excels at some things and other things it won't help at all.
 

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2010 Forester X w/Ski Pak
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks heaps Dan, thats really helpful. I appreciate your comments.

In terms of the gears, I have an automatic - should I be switching to Manual and dropping down gears or is it fine to stay in Drive?
 

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2014 Impreza WRX 5 speed manual
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418 Posts
Definitely do what Dan said. Drive nice and easy, leave plenty of stopping space, and braking gently. As for the automatic, it depends. If you have one of those fancy auto/manual combos where you can up/downshift through all of the gears, it would be wise to use that. If it's a standard auto where you select Drive OR 3 OR 2 OR 1, leave it in drive except for the downhills. Hope this info is helpful. Good luck and be safe!

John / LIP89
 

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2006 FXT Limited 5MT
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911 Posts
- If you can, go fart around in a snow-covered parking lot a little bit before you hit the road, to get a little bit of first-hand feedback on how the car will react to sudden steering, heavy braking, punching the gas, etc, and also how to recover from the effects of those things.
Definitely do this.
Fun to do, and makes you a better driver.

Grab the e brake a few times, get the rear end out and practice corrective steering(or drifting :icon_biggrin:).

Oh, and try to find a lot without too many poles.
 

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1999 Forester S
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754 Posts
drive slow and try not to make rapid corrections (hard braking, fast turning), driving in 2 or 3 will keep your speed down, and 2nd is 50/50 torque split in the auto if im not mistaken
 

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2011 Forester Limited Auto w/nav
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898 Posts
The parking lot idea is great. Just make sure it is safe and that you know where all the curbs and parking space barriers are.

It is much better to skid and slide in an open parking lot than on the street. You will quickly learn how your car reacts to sliding and skidding.

Freeways are not a good place to learn. :)
 

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2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
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If you start to understeer, you want to turn OUT a little (i.e. widen your turning circle) and STAY OFF THE BRAKES (and gas).

Tires have a finite amount of grip. Turning, braking, and accelerating are all loads placed on the tire. The more you do of either, the more load you are putting on the tire.

So if you are understeering, you want to straighten the wheel a bit to reduce the load on the tire. Not being on the brakes or gas, means that more grip is dedicated to turning and not to trying to accelerate or brake.

If you have the room, the best thing to do is straighten the wheel then gradually apply the brakes.

Otherwise, have fun!
 

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2010 Forester X w/Ski Pak
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4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks guys I am really looking forward to this and appreciate all your advice and fun tips
 

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2011 Forester Limited Auto w/nav
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898 Posts
...and STAY OFF THE BRAKES (and gas).

Tires have a finite amount of grip. Turning, braking, and accelerating are all loads placed on the tire. The more you do of either, the more load you are putting on the tire.

... Not being on the brakes or gas, means that more grip is dedicated to turning and not to trying to accelerate or brake.
Which is exactly why you should be driving slow in the snow. So you don't have to hit the brakes.

Bac: Great explaination.
 

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Drive like you're driving in mud, slowly because you can't see what's underneath it like rocks and holes!
 

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One really important thing, BE SMOOTH. Don't jab the brakes or the gas, once you break traction, its much harder to get it back under control. This is where experience comes in, as you eventually learn the limits of the car.

You'll really want to practice in a parking lot if you're going to do much snow driving. I found with the auto that if I was understeering, giving it a bunch of gas would kick the back end out and allow me to slide it around a corner, rather than plow across the corner into the curb (however this will vary a ton as it was much easier with the turbo and snow tires, and takes a lot of practice).

Never slam the brakes unless its a last resort, if the ABS is engaging, you're braking too hard. You want to give yourself enough distance where you can brake lightly enough to not engage the abs.

Also even if it seems like you have enough grip, snowy weather is a bit unpredictable. It may be grippy snow with pavement underneath where you are, but 10 feet away may have glare ice hidden under the snow. Unless you have studded tires, nothing is going to really help you on ice, don't expect to stop or turn at all. Ice is the one thing that is really a hazard and requires the most attention.
 

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2010 Forester
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9 Posts
As has already been said:

1. Drive slowly
2. Go to a parking lot and practice. Turn, accelerate and stop quickly and make the vehicle slide a bit to find out how it responds.

The one thing that shocked me when I first moved to awd is that you can accelerate more quickly than you can stop. Don't use your acceleration grip as a baseline for determining how quickly you can stop. It will take longer.
 

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1118 2.5 Premium& XT tour Quadraphenia Electromatic & the CVT
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124 Posts
Question -

I heard from our Winter Ops guy that Subies have issues with Tire chains, something about inside clearances, etc. tearing up brake lines and suspension... since we have occasions where we have to install "traction devices" (when it gets really popcorny-snow slippery nasty in the Sierras) but since I only travel up that way every so often... what do y'all do when you're faced with this?

I remember years ago they had these things (I think they were called spiders or something - the CHP used them on their patrol cars) that attached to the wheel or something from the outside... didn't know enough about them, but could this be an answer, or is there something better?

Sadly... the dealer said "don't worry, they always let Subarus thru", but I was (when I was much younger) one of those people standing at chain control areas making sure people had chains on, so I know better...

Ideas? I figure those in AK and Canada and other winter-prone areas have this figured out already!
 

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2011 Subaru Forester Automatic
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85 Posts
Take it slow and easy, watch out for the other idiots on the road. remember that no matter what type of vehicle brakes can only stop you so fast, and if there is ice, you aren't going to stop on a dime.

I just got my Forester so I have never driven it or an AWD in the snow, but I live in lake effect, so am no stranger to snow. take it slow and easy, only go as fast as conditions will allow, leave extra room between you and the car in front of you, you will need extra room to slow down and stop. Be aware of your surrounding and be ready for anything.

As long as you take it slow and easy and don't do anything crazy, you will be fine. Everyone tells me I'll love my Forester in the snow, we'll wait and see.
 
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