Shoveling snow to create a quick path in front of your home’s door is one thing but shoveling snow from a long driveway can be a very different story. Especially if the snow is deep and/or wet you might be for the cardio of your life and lose your entire morning in this endeavor. So, what is the best way to clear snow from long driveways?
The reality is that there isn’t one “best way” but there are many different tricks and tools you can use depending on each situation. Having the best snow removing equipment is always key but more often than not, a vehicle-mounted snowplow will be the quickest solution.
There are many different types of snowplows and different ways to use them. We’ve covered them in other articles, however, so here we’ll focus mostly on the standard scooping snowplows that are perfect for a long driveway situation.
The beauty of using a snowplow to clear a driveway is that with your car already at the end of it, i.e. – in your garage, all you need to do is just mount the snowplow and go forward. Of course, there are a lot of precautions you’ll need to take such as making sure that both your vehicle and the snowplow are in perfect conditions, that the snow isn’t too deep (in which case a V-shaped snowplow would be better or you might need to shovel a bit of snow off the top), and so on.
If everything is in order, however, a simple straight-positioned snowplow can make short work of the snow that’s covered your driveway and will be one of the best snow removing tools you can get.
There are downsides to this method as well, however:
First, you need to have a good snowplow. These aren’t exactly cheap and it’s always better to be a quality snowplow even if it’s more expensive as most of the cheaper models don’t tend to last even one season.
Another problem is the many safety concerns and maintenance. Snowplowing with your vehicle requires both it and the snowplow to be in peak condition. Especially if the snow is too deep and too wet (and therefore – heavy), it’s not uncommon for people to encounter car problems while snowplowing.
Additionally, there’s also the problem of where you’ll be moving the snow you’re plowing. After all, while you can shovel the snow in neat piles on precise locations, a straight snowplow is not a very delicate and precise tool. And even if you have a more advanced snowplow that’s capable of forming different positions such as V-shapes for deep snow, angle positions, or inverted V for maneuvering the snow into position, standard driveways don’t usually leave much space for maneuverability. Instead, most of the time you’ll have to dump the snow directly in the street and from there look for different safe places to plow it to.
The plastic tarp cheat
Why plow or shovel the snow from your driveway when you can simply “pull it away” with one of the best snow removal solutions out there? It sounds like a silly “life hack” at first but it’s actually a very viable method of dealing with snow on your driveway.
All you need is a large plastic tarp that’s as wide and as long as your driveway. Getting one won’t be cheap but it won’t be too expensive either, especially considering how much a good snowplow costs. Once you’ve got the tarp all you need to do is keep a close watch on the weather forecast and simply lay the tarp on top of your driveway every time it’s about to snow.
After that, just wait for it to stop snowing and pull the tarp away together with the snow that’s on it – with one simple move you should be able to open up your driveway for business again.
Of course, this method is not without its drawbacks as well.
For one, you’ll have to constantly put the tarp back on when it’s about to snow and remove it when you want to pass through the driveway.
Additionally, you’ll also inevitably miss placing the trap when you needed to and have to either shovel or plow the snow away in the morning. This means that this method can’t be your sole method for dealing with driveway snow.
Besides, you’ll often need to use your car to pull the tarp off your driveway because the snow can easily get too heavy if it’s deep and/or wet enough, and if your driveway is too long. And with your car probably in the garage – this can present some difficulties.
Shoveling the snow away
We can’t talk about home snow removal equipment without going over what you’ll need for shoveling. Even if you’re using both a plastic tarp and a good snowplow for your driveway, having the right snow shoveling equipment is still vital for shoveling around your house and front door or just for driveway emergencies.
So, what would you need for an easy and effective shoveling?
- A nice, big, strong shovel. If you know you’ll need to shovel this winter, do yourself a favor and replace the old shovel with something big and effective.
- Get a snowblower so that you minimize the need for shoveling. Alternatively, if you have a leaf blower you can use it too in some situations but it won’t be as effective as a snowblower.
- Prepare a salt alternative to pour over your driveway, sidewalks, and front steps if you find ice underneath the snow you’ve just shoveled.
- Spray your shovel with some cooking spray to make sure that snow doesn’t stick to it and it’s as effective as possible.
- Find a pair of old thick socks and wear them over your shoes for extra traction in case there’s ice under the snow.