Snow shoveling is back-breaking work, but it has to be done. In places where snow and cold fronts are constant, it is not wise to leave snow when it is not shoveled because it may melt and refreeze later. When that happens, a lot of accidents may occur from people slipping over the ice.
12 Tips for Shoveling Snow
Shoveling snow requires a high level of efficiency as this helps to avoid injuries and most importantly, helps one to take as minimal time as possible. Before you begin to shovel snow, there are few things that you need to put in mind.
1. Make a Plan
Like everything else in life, successful and timely completion of projects must begin with a solid plan. It takes a lot of energy and physical strength to shovel snow especially if the falling snow is between 4 inches to 1 foot deep as it becomes really hard to lift it. Based on the snow falling at the time, determine if you will need to make a preliminary sweep or if you can clear the driveway in separate stages. The area where your driveway meets the street can be cleaned last or at the time when you are ready to pull out of the driveway with your car.
2. Health and Fitness
A lot of lower back injuries, head, arms, and hands related to unsafe snow shoveling techniques are treated each year. Other cases come from slipping and falling on the frozen snow. A few more might be because of holding the shovel in a bad position, causing you to hit yourself with it. To prevent muscle and tissue injuries, you need to ensure that you are physically fit. Do a few stretches before and after shoveling all that snow so that you loosen any tight muscles. If you have a history of cardiac problems, if you feel unwell or are recovering from a certain medical condition, it would be wise to put off shoveling for a while or get help.
3. Sticky Wet Snow
Use Pam spray or cooking spray to ‘wax’ your shovel blade so that snow does not stick to it. The cooking spray works by lubricating the shovel so that the snow slides right off so remember to be a little bit generous with that cooking spray. This will also help you move quickly through the heavy wet snow. You can clean it up once you are done before putting your shovel back in storage.
4. Warm Clothing
Letting yourself freeze while shoveling snow is not a wise idea. Make sure you are dressed in warm layers of clothes before heading out with that shovel. Cold snow tends to cause a numb, running nose, freezing fingers, or teary eyes from cold winds. To avoid slipping and falling, wear the second pair of old socks over your shoveling boots to give you more traction. Do not wear tight or stiff clothes or even clothes that appear to be restricting.
While shoveling snow, proper posture is advised. Always remember to put the weight while lifting the snow on your legs and not on your shoulders or your back by keeping the shovel close to you. Bend your knees instead of your waist. Keeping the shovel close helps you avoid overreaching, preventing undue strain on your body. You should alternate both your arms to avoid putting a strain on just one arm and injuring your tissues.
6. Don’t Shovel the Same Snow Twice
This is old age sound advice that should be headed keenly. It is important to first scout your driveway and then decide where the shoveled snow is meant to end up. Once you have that one figured out, shovel the snow furthest to your target and then advance slowly, reducing the distance to your intended destination. Avoid putting large chunks of snow at the end of your driveway as this will just end up creating more unnecessary work when the snow tumbles down back to your driveway.
7. Remove Snow While it is Still Falling
Compact snow is very hard to shovel and more often than not may lead to lower back injuries. To avoid this, it is advisable to shovel snow while it is still falling and as soon as it lands on your driveway. This works faster and it is safer for your health.
Now, shoveling snow doesn’t have to be all gloomy and boring. If the snow falling on your driveway is dense, wet, and sticky, well then, you’ve got yourself the perfect snow for making a snowball. Roll the snow and make giant snowballs and then roll those giant balls off your property. While at it, you can invite your friends or your family to help roll those balls away.
9. Taking Breaks
Remember to take breaks during the process. There may be times that you will feel dizzy or short of breath or even just sweaty. It is advisable to keep hydrated at all times and even take a cup of coffee to help stimulate you. If you feel too overwhelmed, take a break and go rest for a while. You can also use that opportunity to chat with your neighbors who are also clearing their sidewalks a bit.
10. How to Position the Shovel
First, you need to make sure that the shovel is not too heavy or short, forcing you to bend down too much and strain your body. Avoid the temptation of just grabbing any old shovel that you might come across instead, use a standard snow shovel. Next, insert the shovel into the snow in a vertical position, step on the blade so that you can loosen enough snow and lift the shovel by shifting your weight to the front leg. Do not lift too much snow just so that you can finish off quickly.
11. Distance to Be Covered
While shoveling, you need to move the snow over the shortest distance possible. When clearing the driveway, start at the center of the driveway and steadily work your way towards the edge. Snowblowers help clear the snow faster and much more easily. However, you need to be careful to avoid finger injuries. You also need to maintain a clear steady pace to force the snow out without clogging the snowblower or leaving snow trails. If the snow is light and fluffy, use a leaf blower to remove it.
12. Handling Cars Already On the Driveway
Clear the path leading to your car first to avoid walking all over the snow as compact snow is not easy to shovel. Once you open the door to your car, warm the interior of your car to defrost your windows. Then remove snow from the hood first, then the rest of the body, and lastly the area surrounding the car.