Winter 2002 Forward to a Friend

SNOW, ice and freezing temperatures can be chilling, particularly when you’re behind the wheel. Don’t worry – while inclement weather can make driving more challenging, a little preparation and caution will help keep you moving down the road safely.

Getting Started

Before you hit the road, take a few minutes to make sure you and your Subaru vehicle are ready. If your vehicle has been parked outside, clear snow and ice from every part of it, not just the windows. As you clear the windows, make sure the wiper blades aren’t frozen in place. If they are, turn on the engine and use the defroster and rear window defogger to release them. Using a windshield washer fluid with a de-icing agent will help, too.

If a door is frozen shut, don’t force it open – this can damage the rubber weather strip surrounding it. Try another door, perhaps one that is in the sunlight. As the vehicle warms up, check that the accelerator, brake pedal and other controls operate smoothly before heading out. Be sure your parking brake has released completely.

Hitting The Road

Winter driving conditions can affect your vehicle’s handling and braking ability, so take your time and drive conservatively. Press the accelerator slowly to get going.

As you pull into traffic, keep an 8- to 10-second gap between your vehicle and the one ahead of you – stopping distances increase in snowy and icy conditions, and the extra distance will give you extra time to react.

Watch for trouble as you drive. Stalled cars, patches of ice, poor visibility and snow-covered road signs and lane markers can make for challenging driving.

As you prepare to stop, slow down gradually, particularly as you approach intersections. Look out for pedestrians and cars approaching on side streets. If they’re having trouble stopping, you probably will, too. At lower speeds, you can use the engine to help you slow down by shifting into a lower gear.

Your Subaru vehicle is particularly well suited for winter driving. The Subaru All-Wheel Driving system automatically transfers power from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip. This translates into enhanced control and traction.

While All-Wheel Drive is helpful in most driving situations, it can lose its effectiveness in extreme situations, such as when you’re driving on glare or black ice. Use common sense. Also remember that an anti-lock brake system (ABS) is not intended to decrease stopping distance; it is designed to keep the wheels from locking up during sudden braking to prevent the loss of steering control. Remember, on an ABS-equipped vehicle, never pump the brakes. Anticipate your stops and keep a safe distance from other vehicles.

Select Subaru Outback, Legacy and Forester models are available with the optional All-Weather Package, which includes such features as heated front seats and exterior mirrors and a front windshield wiper de-icer. In addition, a Weatherband radio is standard on H6-3.0 models.

Practice Makes Perfect

If you haven’t driven in winter weather for a while, find an empty, snow-covered parking lot and spend time accelerating, turning and stopping. After a few minutes of practice, you will have a better feel for how your vehicle will handle and you will be better prepared for driving in snowy conditions.