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Old 12-26-2012, 07:17 PM   #1
dave07
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Default Driving in the Snow, Tips?

This is my first heavy snowfall that I have been in with my Subaru. We got about 6-8" locally.

I learned a few things today about my car in the snow:

-The ass end can easily kick out when turning.
-Need to pump brakes every now and then because they lose there bite (not sure why).
-All snow is not equal and thus your car handles differently depending on the snow.
-Downshift to slow down and then apply brakes.
-It seems I spun out more when around my peak torque. I up-shifted to get more "linear" power and not spin.
-TCS on this car seems pretty good.

Also, I watched someone behind me almost plow into a guide rail on a turn. They then proceeded to tailgate me .

Edit: I'm running General Altimax Arctic tires.

What did you guys learn about driving in the snow? Share any tips for a newb?

Last edited by dave07; 12-26-2012 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:21 PM   #2
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What kind of tires are you using? Sounds like 95% of your problems.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:23 PM   #3
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ummm.. you drive a Subaru. get good snow tires and drive like normal
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:27 PM   #4
mhoerath
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bugeye829 View Post
ummm.. you drive a Subaru. get good snow tires and drive like normal
otherwise you'll end up in a ditch and/or wrecking your car. $$$

ps grew up driving in snow in altoona.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave07 View Post
This is my first heavy snowfall that I have been in with my Subaru. We got about 6-8" locally.

I learned a few things today about my car in the snow:

-The ass end can easily kick out when turning.
Get snow tires! And drive only as fast as conditions permit, of course
-Need to pump brakes every now and then because they lose there bite (not sure why).
ABS system functioning as it's supposed to, most likely. With a proper working system, you should not have to pump your brakes. The ABS system will control braking force as necessary to slow the car down as fast as possible. What you're probably experiencing is the ABS system easing off the brakes. Again, you need snow tires, if you don't have them.
-All snow is not equal and thus your car handles differently depending on the snow.
Very true
-Downshift to slow down and then apply brakes.
You can do both at the same time, too.
-It seems I spun out more when around my peak torque. I up-shifted to get more "linear" power and not spin.
-TCS on this car seems pretty good.

Also, I watched someone behind me almost plow into a guide rail on a turn. They then proceeded to tailgate me .

What did you guys learn about driving in the snow? Share any tips for a newb?
SNOW TIRES. And drive slow. And pay attention. Brake very early. To test the conditions, find an empty stretch of road and see how well the car reacts to braking. That'll give you a rough idea of how fast you can or cannot go.
Tires are important.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:29 PM   #6
theda3g0
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Proper snow tires are the most effective 'trick' to driving in winter weather.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:30 PM   #7
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Throttle to steer.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:31 PM   #8
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Wrong LFB to steer. Get some.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by sackytar View Post
Wrong LFB to steer. Get some.
Word. Scandinavian Flicks are the ONLY way to properly drive in the snow.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:34 PM   #10
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^^^Those two.

Or drive slower.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:35 PM   #11
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I have dedicated snow tires. General Altimax Artic.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:37 PM   #12
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Be aware of slush, its drastically different than driving in powdery snow. Regardless of being awd or not, it can suck you off the road quite easily.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:44 PM   #13
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Do you guys keep TCS on or off? It seem to work pretty well. My ass end kicked out/wanted to kick out when accelerating and turning. Maybe I need more weight back there (no spare/tools and muffler delete).
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:51 PM   #14
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engine braking is your friend
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:36 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Teddy7 View Post
engine braking is your friend
Not really. You have far better control while modulating your brakes (or letting your ABS do this for you).
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:40 PM   #16
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Engine breaking is your friend, keep your distance, switch lanes slowly. Also get snow tires.

I think switching lanes slow is important...I told my GF this and not 10 seconds after i said it a guy in front of us decided to switch lanes fast and drove right into the ditch. It was snowing a decent amount, on i5 in eastern oregon.
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:47 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Cocoa Beach Bum View Post
Not really. You have far better control while modulating your brakes (or letting your ABS do this for you).


no.....never....ever...or ya doin it all wrong
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:52 PM   #18
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try lower pressure in the tires...snow tires usually like 30-33psi range

and ya always ALWAYS gotta drive AHEAD......if ya like most of the idiots out there and ya lookin 10 feet in front of ya and no farther...ya GONNA crash

drive AHEAD

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teddy7 View Post
engine braking is your friend
^^^^this

driving in the snow/winter is a REAL test of how well you actually know how to heel and toe...most just think they do it right....but get 'em in the snow and
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:49 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Scotty View Post
try lower pressure in the tires...snow tires usually like 30-33psi range


No

Higher pressure gives you more bite into the snow. Less pressure would have you float on top of snow. This ain't beach sand....you want to bite down to pavement.


You're already on snows in an AWD car, so you do have an advantage in acceleration and a bit in turning.

Drive slower than you think is safe.

Look way ahead. Like you're at a track day. Waaaay ahead.

Brake in a straight line. You have more braking power than turning power in the snow (this is also true in the rain).

Drive as if there's a hole in your brake line that if you push the brake too hard, it'll pop and you'll lose all braking.

Anticipate. Is that idiot on the side street going to "race" to get into traffic in front of you, then sit at 5mph because he's running on bald victoracers on his Mustang GT. Watch for the idiot who hits the guard rail and then doesn't know the phrase "when you spin, both feet in" and tries to recover, shooting across the road.

Remember that there are plenty of idiots out there. Half of them won't exceed 15 mph on the highway and the other half think they can go 80. Either one can get you. Watch your mirrors for the idiot going 80. If you can move into a lane where he isn't, that's good for you. Do it.

Look into ice races. They are a great way to learn how to control a car under extremely low friction surfaces. I know the BMW club does them near me.
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:24 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack ffr1846 View Post
No

Higher pressure gives you more bite into the snow. Less pressure would have you float on top of snow. This ain't beach sand....you want to bite down to pavement.


You're already on snows in an AWD car, so you do have an advantage in acceleration and a bit in turning.

Drive slower than you think is safe.

Look way ahead. Like you're at a track day. Waaaay ahead.

Brake in a straight line. You have more braking power than turning power in the snow (this is also true in the rain).

Drive as if there's a hole in your brake line that if you push the brake too hard, it'll pop and you'll lose all braking.

Anticipate. Is that idiot on the side street going to "race" to get into traffic in front of you, then sit at 5mph because he's running on bald victoracers on his Mustang GT. Watch for the idiot who hits the guard rail and then doesn't know the phrase "when you spin, both feet in" and tries to recover, shooting across the road.

Remember that there are plenty of idiots out there. Half of them won't exceed 15 mph on the highway and the other half think they can go 80. Either one can get you. Watch your mirrors for the idiot going 80. If you can move into a lane where he isn't, that's good for you. Do it.

Look into ice races. They are a great way to learn how to control a car under extremely low friction surfaces. I know the BMW club does them near me.
this is correct
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:57 PM   #21
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Just think about how you walk when you are on a skating rink in shoes and drive like that it is a pretty darn close comparison.

I've driven RWD since I started driving. Don't give it gas if the rear pops out as some have suggested. This may sort of work with AWD but the best course of action is to decrease throttle input slightly (don't jump off the throttle that can make things worse) and steer into the skid, don't give it more power.

don't pump the brakes, let them off and then reapply lighter if they lockup, also remember if you are sliding towards someone don't hold the brake, it sounds counter intuitive but train yourself to look for an exit, let off the gas and point for it. I've never come close to hitting someone but we have to take an advanced snow and ice driver training every year for work and we have to practice this technique all the time until it becomes habit.

Short shift all the time and double (at least) any stopping or following distances.

Really there is not a lot different between summer and winter driving, the main difference is that for crappy drivers summer driving is a lot more forgiving than winter driving and allows them to get away with a lot more. Most people that crash on snow and ice don't crash because of the conditions, they crash because they are poor drivers (and probably never realized it).

Last edited by J-hop; 12-27-2012 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:26 PM   #22
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Easy to start moving, harder to stop. Take that into account.
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:43 PM   #23
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ABS isn't the smartest on deformable surfaces, so take some care in stopping early. The ABS system also wants to roll the car, always. This can be problematic if you get too sideways because it will actually roll you straight into the ditch.

I think people have different perceptions of the rear end kicking out. For some, anything, anything at all is the rear end kicking out. For others, the car has to be quite sideways to really care at all about what the rear end is doing. If you're not used to a car floating around and sliding around, get some practice. Because it is a loose surface, your car will seldom be straight if you are pushing the car at all. The behavior becomes a bit more dynamic as the car reaches its operating limit. Some movement is expected. The higher the slide angle, the more you need to know about car control or you can get into big trouble.

I grew up in snow. I don't really have much to say in terms of driving on the stuff. Deep snow can pull the car around, especially if rutted. The most dangerous thing you can get is drifting snow because depth and hardness is not consistent and the smoothness of the shape hides its size well. Hitting deep snow with only one side of the car can pull you into the ditch, spin you 180 degrees, and/or make you do a 360.

The only other danger of winter driving is ice. Winter will often generate a mix of surfaces from deep snow to packed snow, to ice, and then bare road all in the same area. Grip can vary a lot from second to second. A little worse is hidden ice under a fresh snow fall. You can have glare ice under some new fluffy snow, and you won't realize it until it's too late. If it's a road you take on a regular basis, read the road surface as you drive and make notes where the ice is building up. That way when the fresh snow does come, you know where the icy spots are.

Semis like passing people in blizzards. They seem to go slow during the summer but in winter they love flying by cars on the left lane. Every time one passes, you are blind for a period of time. Know where the road goes and mentally drive it till the micro blizzard passes. Semi drivers tend to be exceptionally careful because any accident means a lost job, but you will still find many drivers taking unnecessary risks. Expect to be both blinded and run off the road some at times. That's just the way it is.
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:12 PM   #24
dave07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Back Road Runner View Post
I think people have different perceptions of the rear end kicking out. For some, anything, anything at all is the rear end kicking out. For others, the car has to be quite sideways to really care at all about what the rear end is doing.
You hit the nail on the head. For me, if the tail end does anything I'm not used to then I say it's "kicking out".

I guess after reading these boards it makes you think Subaru's are unstoppable tanks in the snow. But I've come to find out my perceptions don't match reality, haha.
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:37 PM   #25
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This is where the STi tranny/diffs/DCCD really comes into play.
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