Smart Snow Removal

Keep your driveway clear and safe this winter with these simple tips.

Before inclement weather hits your neighborhood, prep your driveway by applying a deicer such as calcium chloride (which is less harsh to surrounding plants and concrete than sodium chloride). Mark plants near the edges of the driveway with stakes so you don’t pile heavy snow on them and cause damage.

Work in stages
Although we recommend staying indoors during unsafe weather conditions, if possible, it is beneficial to remove one or two layers of snow from the driveway before the total snowfall accumulates. That way you can avoid a monumental snow-removal effort when the storm is over. This approach also helps to prevent packed snow and ice from bonding to the surface.

Push and pile
After the snow stops falling but before you drag out the snow thrower or your trusty shovel, first brush off all of the snow from any cars parked in the driveway. Then, if you’re using a shovel, work from the top of the driveway down, pushing snow from the center of the driveway to the edges with each pass. Toss each shovelful of snow into your yard (away from the stakes marking plants), and work the piles closer to the edges of the driveway as you go. Shovel carefully around vehicles or cracks in the driveway surface. Finish the job by sprinkling sand on the driveway to enhance traction.

Snow-Tackling Tools
Whether you get hit with 1 in. or 1 ft. of snow, these tools will help you get out of the driveway and on your way.

The 20-in. Aluminum Combo Shovel from True Temper ($35) features side supports that help to keep large loads of snow from falling out during transfer. It also has a tough metal blade for breaking up packed snow and ice and an ergonomic curved handle.

The Snow Joe iON ($400) is just the right size (and price!) to clear a small driveway. Powered by a 40-volt EcoSharp rechargeable Li-Ion battery, this small-but-mighty tool is cordless and gas-free. It can run for up to 40 minutes, clearing an 18-in.-wide x 8-in.-deep path.

Check out another useful snow-removal tool that won a 2014 Handy Innovation Award honorable mention.

For your safety, follow these guidelines from The National Safety Council when attempting to remove snow from your driveway.

  • People older than 40 or those who are relatively inactive should be especially careful not to overexert themselves.
  • If you have a history of heart trouble, do not shovel snow without a doctor’s permission.
  • Do not shovel immediately after eating or while smoking.
  • Take it slow, as shoveling can raise your heart rate and blood pressure. Stretch and warm up your muscles before you start.
  • Fresh snow is lighter and easier to shovel.
  • Push the snow off of surfaces to save your back rather than trying to lift the snow to move it.
  • Use a small shovel to lighten the load, or only fill half of a large shovel with each scoop.
  • Lift with your legs bent and back straight. Let your shoulders, torso and thighs do most of the work.
  • If you start feeling out of breath, take a break. If you feel tightness in your chest, stop immediately.
  • Dress warmly; a hat, scarf, warm gloves and socks are musts.