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Old 01-08-2002, 10:27 PM   #8
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 12588
Join Date: Nov 2001
Chapter/Region: SCIC
Location: Down by the sea
Four Count 'em

Default Long post - true experience

Was up at Idyllwyld, CA (7000 ft elev) a year ago in 18" of heavy wet snow with the 01 Forester. Roads were covered with snow and I realized I was heading the wrong direction. I proceeded to make a really slow U-turn and as I started it, the front end slid to the right and kept right on going down into the ditch along the road. This after plowing through about two feet of snow that the snow plows had cleared a few hours before. My first thought was, "I've got forward momentum, just keep it going and come back up on the road and then try your U-turn again." What I didn't know was that that part of the road had a about a 1/2" of ice under the snow and it was slicker than proverbial you know what on a glass door knob.

The Forester kept going as far as it could go (and by this time it's a good 15-20 feet into the ditch, and the road is somewhere up and to the left) and all the while my wife and our two friends (four full-sized adults inside) were looking at me like what are you trying to do? What was happening was that the ditch side was deeping (interesting how you can't judge those things under snow) and the Forester was settling further and further to the right. Finally it just got too much snow under it and couldn't get any more traction and it stopped. The other three adult units are really looking at me with that "now what?" look.

I'm still pretty calm because I've been in these situatoins before and just put it into reverse and try to "gently" thread my way back out, following my previously laid down trail tracks. Well guess what? The back end (LSD is nicely warmed up by now) decides it's going to go south into the ditch too. Crap! So I get out and tromp over to the passenger side and start to punch down through the snow with my boots and realize that the ditch has leveled out and it's not going to get any deeper and the bank upslope will keep the Forester from going much farther to the right.

By this time several SUVs have "slid" past, literally, trying to stop to see if they can "save my bacon" and "tow" me out. Looking at them, and their setups, it would have been them in the ditch too so I just thanked them and proceeded to jockey the Forester back and forth until I had cleared enough snow and crap out from underneath to get it started out of the ditch. There were a couple of moments when the snow was flying from all the wheels and when it finally came out of the ditch all the SUVers cheered and clapped. It was pretty cool. One of the guys who was driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee told me that he never would have believed that we would have driven out of there.

Moral of the story: (There's really several)

1. Be careful on snowy roads - even if they're level they can and usually do, have ice under them.
2. If you've got to do a U-turn on said roads, take it easy and don't misjudge your distances. Do a s-l-o-o-w three-point turn-around instead.
3. Don't be a macho man. If I had thought for a moment that the Forester couldn't handle the situation or it would have somehow endangered us to keep going, you can bet we would have stopped immediately and gotten out of the car.
4. And finally, and most importantly, if you get your Sube hung up make sure that there's a bunch of other SUVs and Cute Ute wannabe drivers hanging around so you can gracefully demonstrate for them the awesome beauty of Subaru's all-wheel drive.

Best regards, Dale
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