Winter can be a beautiful and magical time of the year, but it also brings with it a unique set of driving challenges. Snowy and icy roads can be treacherous, even for experienced drivers. However, if you’re a Subaru owner, you have a head start. Subarus are renowned for their all-wheel-drive capability, making them a reliable choice for driving in snow and other harsh conditions. But even with this advantage, there are still some important things to keep in mind to ensure a safe and comfortable ride. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about driving your Subaru in the snow and winter weather.
Preparing Your Subaru for Winter Driving
Before you hit the road, it’s important to make sure your Subaru is ready for winter driving. Here are some things to check:
- Tires: The tires are the most important part of your car when it comes to winter driving. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have enough tread depth. Snow tires are recommended for driving in conditions with heavy snow or ice.
- Battery: Cold weather can weaken your battery, so ensure it’s fully charged and operating properly.
- Heater and defroster: Make sure your heater and defroster are working correctly. These features are essential for keeping the inside of your car warm and helping you maintain visibility.
- Windshield wipers: Ensure that your windshield wipers are in good condition and functioning properly.
- Antifreeze: Make sure that there is enough antifreeze in your car to prevent the coolant from freezing.
Tips for Driving in Snow
Now that your Subaru is prepared for winter driving, here are some tips for how to handle the snow and ice on the road:
- Drive slowly: This may seem obvious, but driving slowly is critical in snowy or icy conditions. It can take up to ten times longer to stop on icy roads than on dry roads.
- Accelerate and brake gently: Avoid sudden or quick movements with the gas or brake. Instead, gently apply pressure, which helps to maintain traction and prevent sliding.
- Maintain distance: Keep a safe following distance from other vehicles – at least six car lengths – to allow for ample stopping time.
- Avoid sudden turns: Quick or sharp turns can result in skidding or losing control of your vehicle.
- Shift to a lower gear: If you have a manual transmission, use a lower gear to slow down instead of relying solely on your brake.
Recommended Driving Techniques for Subaru Models
Each Subaru model may require different driving techniques when it comes to driving in snowy weather. Here are some model-specific tips to keep in mind:
- Forester and Outback: These models have higher ground clearance, making them ideal for driving through deep snow. They also have a "hill descent control" feature that helps you maintain a steady speed when driving downhill on slippery roads.
- Impreza and Legacy: These models are lower to the ground, meaning they may be more prone to getting stuck in deep snow. However, their all-wheel drive system and strong engines make them dependable in snow and icy conditions.
- WRX and STI: These sports models have a more powerful engine, making acceleration on slippery roads easier. However, their lower ground clearance makes them less suitable for deep snow.
Important Safety Tips for Winter Driving
In addition to preparing your car and following safe driving techniques, there are other important safety tips to keep in mind:
- Keep a winter driving kit: Include items such as a flashlight, gloves, blankets, and snacks in case of an emergency.
- Stay informed: Check weather and road conditions before you head out, and stay up-to-date while driving.
- Listen to your car: If your car starts to make strange noises or handle differently, don’t ignore it. It could be an indicator that something is wrong.
- Stay calm and focused: Winter driving can be stressful and challenging. Make sure to remain calm and focus on the road to avoid any accidents.
Snow Tires for Your Subaru
While all-wheel drive is a great advantage, it still won’t help without proper snow tires. Snow tires are designed specifically for driving in snowy and icy conditions, providing better traction and steering than all-season tires. They are essential for anyone living in areas with heavy snow. Be sure to invest in a good set of snow tires to improve your Subaru’s performance and safety.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I know if my tires have enough tread depth for winter driving?
A: One easy way to check is to insert a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head facing down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, you need new tires.
Q: Do I need to put snow chains on my tires?
A: It depends on where you live and how much snow you expect to encounter. Check local regulations to see if snow chains are required in your area.
Q: Can I still drive my Subaru in winter if it doesn’t have all-wheel drive?
A: Absolutely, but it’s important to take extra precautions and drive slowly. Consider investing in snow tires to improve your car’s performance in snowy or icy conditions.
Winter driving can be intimidating, but with a Subaru, you have a reliable and trustworthy vehicle that can handle the snow and ice. By following these tips and techniques, you can drive with confidence and enjoy all that winter has to offer. Don’t forget to take extra precautions when driving in snowy or icy conditions and stay safe on the road.