2019 Subaru Forester, Crosstrek, winter driving tips, best winter tires
Denis Flierl's picture

Tis The Season For Winter Driving; Having AWD Subaru Doesn’t Guarantee Safety

You have purchased a new all-wheel-drive Subaru SUV but it doesn't guarantee you will arrive safely. Here are some winter driving tips that could keep you out of the ditch.
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Even having an all-wheel-drive vehicle like a Subaru Forester, Crosstrek or Outback, doesn’t guarantee you will arrive at your designation safely this Christmas season. The roads can be slick and there’s the chance you could hit black ice. Even experienced driver’s need a refresh on how to drive on ice, snow and loose surfaces. Here are a few winter driving tips that could keep you out of the ditch.

Some of these tips are just common sense, like completely cleaning off your windshield, side windows, and rear window before taking off. Don’t just let the defroster do the work making it harder to see. Don’t think all-season tires are enough for severe winter conditions. Make sure you have the best winter rated tires with adequate tread for the conditions. Some states like Colorado, have traction laws and passenger vehicle chain laws in effect in the high country.

Don’t make quick or sudden maneuvers in snowy and icy conditions, including abrupt acceleration, braking, or steering. Make sure to drive slower than you think would be needed, and keep extra distance between cars than you would on dry roads. The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds when traveling on snow or ice.

Bridges can be dangerous

Using the cruise control could cause you to lose control, because tapping on the brakes to shut off the system, could cause the car to lose traction and skid out of control. This is especially true if you are traveling on the highway and then pass over a bridge. The cold air surrounds the surface of a bridge from above and below and bridges lose heat from both sides. Bridges have no way to trap heat, so they will ice rapidly as soon as the temperature decreases to the freezing point. Roads, on the other hand, only lose heat from their surface.

If you do hit an icy spot or black ice and start to slide, do the opposite of what you would think. Turn into the slide, and keep your foot off the gas and brakes. The car will slowly correct itself and you can then get back on your track or steer to a spot on the road where there’s more traction.

Even if you own an all-wheel-drive vehicle like a new Subaru Forester SUV, Crosstrek crossover, or Outback wagon, these tips will help keep you safe and could keep you out of the ditch this winter.

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Photo credit: Subaru Corp


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Comments

Good article Denis - many overestimate the capabilities of AWD and often find themselves in trouble during snowy conditions. Your article is a good reminder to the fact common sense is not always common.