To snowblow the hard-packed snow that accumulates at the end of your driveway after the snowplows pass by, use a powerful, two-stage snow blower. Before snowblowing, it helps to break up hard snow with a shovel. Then, use your snow blower to do small passes that are only half the width of the blower. Make sure not to blow the snow into the street. To prevent a snowplow from blocking your driveway, snowblow an area to one side of your driveway that is 12 feet long and about as wide as your car. The excess snow from the passing plow will pile there, not in your driveway opening.
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How Do You Snowblow Efficiently?
One of the most efficient ways to snowblow your driveway is by following a circular pattern. Begin at the center of the driveway and create an ever-widening oval shape, blowing the snow to the outside. This prevents you from blowing snow onto places you’ve already cleared. Additionally, by following a circular pattern, you won’t have to adjust your blower chute—it will always be facing to the outside.
- Snowblow your driveway starting at the middle and snowblowing in a widening circle.
- Direct the snowblower chute so that the snow is traveling with the wind, not against it.
- Snowblow during or directly after heavy snowfalls, when snow is still light and easy to clear away.
If there are strong winds while you snowblow, turn your blower chute so that it discharges snow with the wind, not against it. Blowing against the wind will send snow back at your face. It’s also a good idea to snowblow during snowfall or soon after you’ve gotten a few inches of snow. New snow is light, fluffy, and easy to blow away. If snow is left for several hours, it will pack down and harden, making your job more difficult. It’s also a good idea to have the right gear for the conditions, such as a good jacket and gloves.
How Do You Snowblow a Gravel Driveway?
The most important thing to know when snow blowing a gravel driveway is that you should not use a single-stage snow blower. A single-stage snow blower will throw rocks and gravel along with snow, which can be dangerous and destructive. You must use a two-stage or three-stage snowblower. We’ve had great results using two-stage snow blowers to clear a long gravel driveway on the American/Canadian border.
- Avoid using single stage snow blowers on gravel surfaces—they will hurl gravel out of the exhaust chute.
- Use a two-stage snowblower, like this one, on your gravel driveway.
- After blowing a gravel driveway, apply ice melt to remove stubborn snow and ice buildup.
As long as you use a multi-stage snow blower, you can snowblow your gravel driveway as you would a paved driveway. Because of the irregular surface of gravel driveways, spread a high-quality ice-melter on the driveway after blowing to remove slick snow and ice buildup.
5 Tips for Snowblowing Packed Snow at the End of Your Driveway
It can be extremely frustrating to snowblow your driveway, only to have hard snow and ice dumped at the end of your driveway by passing snowplows. However, there are ways to make clearing the end of your driveway easier. Plus, there are tactics to prevent snowplows from piling snow at the end of your driveway.
Use a Two-Stage Snowblower
The snow that plows dump at the end of your driveway is typically hard-packed snow and ice that has been thawed and refrozen. This makes it extremely tough on your average snowblower. Corded electric snow blowers and single-stage models can’t chew through this type of snow. Opt for a gas-powered two-stage model.
- Invest in a two-stage snowblower to power through hardened snow dumped at your driveway’s end by snow plows.
- Single-stage snowblowers often lack the power to break through hardened snow.
Your two-stage snowblower will tear through icy, hardened snow buildup at the end of your driveway with no problems. Although two-stage snow blowers are more expensive than single-stage models, they’re worth the investment. Consider purchasing a used one from a reputable dealer or repair shop to save money.
Break Up Frozen Snow With a Shovel
If the snow at the end of your driveway is especially deep and full of icy chunks, it may be tough work, even for a powerful snowblower. To make the job easier for your machine, use a sturdy, metal snow shovel to break up big chunks of icy snow. Stab the shovel into the snow to break apart the ice.
- If the snow is frozen in large chunks, use a metal snow shovel to break up the ice.
- Break hard-packed snow into tennis-ball sized chunks before using your snowblower.
Once the hardened snow/ice mix has been broken down to pieces no larger than a tennis ball, you’re ready to use the snow blower. When you have a good snow blower, this tactic is a weapon of last resort that is usually only needed in special cases or after freezing rain has fallen.
Do Small Passes
Deep, slushy, icy, or wet snow makes the job tougher on your snow blower. One way to make the job easier is to perform half-width passes with your snowblower. This means that if you have a 24-inch snowblower, only use half of the blade width (12 inches) when passing through heavy snow. This will make powering through snow much easier.
- When clearing difficult snow, use only half the width of your snowblower (12 inches of a 24-inch blower).
- Your snowblower may bog down if you ask it to go through a full-width pass of icy snow, but it can likely clear 12 inches with ease.
- Use this technique for deep, hard, icy, or wet snow.
You can use the same half-width technique when you are clearing deep or packed snow with your snowblower. You will get better results from your blower and remove several inches of snow with less residue left behind.
Don’t Throw Snow into the Street
If your local snow plows are clogging the end of your driveway with mounds of hard snow, it can be tempting to allow your snowblower chute to throw some of that mess back into the road. Avoid this. Not only will you make road conditions more hazardous for yourself and others, but you’re also setting the groundwork for a clogged driveway. Snow blown into the street will be picked up by the snowplow and deposited back at the mouth of your driveway.
- Don’t blow snow into the street—this can worsen road conditions and cause plows to repack the snow at the end of your driveway.
- Angle your chute to direct snow from the end of your driveway into a safe part of your lawn.
Work carefully when blowing the end of your driveway. Take the time to adjust your chute to throw snow into your yard. Avoid any chute angle that will spray snow into the street, back onto cleared areas of your driveway, or onto your vehicle.
Prevent Snow from Piling at the End of Your Driveway
You can stop snow from piling up at the end of your driveway by clearing a little extra with your snow blower. A snow plow blade collects snow as it travels down the street. Once the plow reaches your driveway opening, all that accumulated snow slides off the blade and blocks your driveway. However, you can give the accumulated snow another place to go with this method:
- Use your snowblower to clear a space along the road to one side of your driveway.
- The cleared space should be 12 feet long and 5 feet wide.
- Clear a space on the side of the driveway so oncoming traffic will meet the cleared area before reaching your driveway. If you are facing your house from the street, this will be on the right side of the driveway.
- Snowplows that approach your home will reach the cleared opening first. The accumulated snow on the plow will slide off and pile up here, leaving your driveway entrance clear.
Although this adds a bit of extra work to your plowing process, it saves many headaches. By providing a space for this icy snow to accumulate, you won’t have to worry about coming home to find snow piled up and blocking your driveway.
How Do I Stop My Snow Plow From Blocking My Driveway?
The best way to stop snow plows from blocking your driveway with snow buildup is to clear a space 12 feet long and 5 feet wide along the street. This cleared space should be to the right of your driveway when facing your home from the street. The snow plow will dump buildup there rather than in your driveway opening. However, if snow has already built up at the end of your driveway, tackle it with these methods:
- Invest in a two-stage snowblower to move snow buildup easily.
- Break up large chunks of icy snow with a shovel before snowblowing.
- Don’t blow snow into the road—plows will pack it back into your driveway opening.
- Make passes that are half the width of the snow blower to power through tough snow.
These strategies make it easy to avoid having a driveway blocked with snow. Plus, they allow you to clear snow buildup in the case that it does occur. With a good snow blower, you can handle several inches of snow and prevent plows from leaving snow banks that lock your car into your driveway.