What’s the Best Technique to Clear Snow from My Driveway?

While snow may look picturesque falling from the sky, it eventually leads to accumulation - amounting from a few inches to feet, in some instances - giving you plenty of cleanup to tackle. Depending on the circumstances, snow-clearing can be time-consuming, cause strain on your back, and even lead to injury if not handled with care. However, with a few tips on clearing the snow more efficiently, the job can be completed quickly and easily.

Snow blower clearing techniques:

If you live in a region where you regularly receive 3 or more inches of snow, the best go-to tool is a snow blower. For a small to mid-size cleanup space with around 3-9 inches of snow, a single-stage snow blower is the best option.  

For a mid to large space with wet, heavy snow, a two-stage or three-stage snow blower is the best machine for the job. The proper snow blower will help you quickly complete the job without putting excess strain on your back.

When clearing your driveway, speed is an important factor to consider. If you go too slow, your snow blower won't clear much distance and you will have to go over the same section multiple times. Experiment with different speeds until you find the perfect arc that throws the snow 15-20 feet.

To avoid throwing snow onto an area you've already cleared, be strategic with the pattern you use. The optimal pattern for clearing snow from driveways is to begin in the middle (if your driveway has clearance on both sides) and direct snow to one edge of the driveway. For example, start in the middle of the driveway and throw the snow to the right, then make a U-turn and throw the snow to the left side. Keep alternating until the entire driveway is done - this eliminates changing the chute direction and can clear in fewer passes.

If your house does not have clearance on both or either side, start clearing on the side closest to your house so you don't throw snow where you've already cleared. Also make a conscious effort to keep snow from building up on the sides and foundation walls of your home. When the snow melts, it can refreeze and cause existing cracks to widen, allowing water to seep into the walls of your home. It's also important to prevent water damage and wood from rotting.
 

Shovel clearing techniques:

If you have a small driveway or prefer shoveling, be mindful of the motion you use to clear. Too much stress on the back or legs can leave you with sore muscles or other aches after cleanup. When shoveling, clear snow in multiple stages to make the job easier. If a heavy snowfall is predicted in your area, consider shoveling multiple times during the snowfall; otherwise, you may have a strenuous job of moving large, heavy piles. While clearing, push snow to the edge of the driveway, then go back and lift heavier piles that were missed.