Let’s Be Clear: Plowing Residential Driveways and Streets

Whether battling snow in your own driveway or building a residential snow removal business, a little planning goes a long way.
Below are some helpful tips for getting prepared, using proper plowing techniques and plowing safety to help maximize your plowing efficiency this season.
Items to Consider When Planning:
  • Understand the equipment by reading owner’s manual for the plow or spreader
  • Get familiar with the areas you will be servicing
  • Stake the driveway to avoid damaging lawn or landscape, especially if driveways are long and curvy
  • Plan where you will pile snow
  • Consider drainage when the snow melts
For short and straight driveways, back dragging the snow works well. Start as close to the top of the driveway and possible and work back toward the street, pulling snow with you.
However, unfortunately not all jobs are that simple! Below are tips to efficiently plow different types of driveways.
Tips for Gravel or Dirt Driveways
If it’s a long gravel or dirt drive, you might also consider marking where they may be rises or unexpected dips in the surface. Additionally, you should consult the homeowner and get their advice on where they would like to pile snow as well as how often they would like their property plowed.
Tips for Driveways with a Garage
If you’re plowing a straight residential drive with a garage at one end, pull up as closely as you can to the garage, drop your plow and drag the snow backward at least two vehicle lengths, and preferably three, if you can do it without making too large a pile.
Now pick the plow up and back out of the drive, turning around in the street and backing back in to the area that’s been cleared. This should provide a straight shot at pushing the snow to the driveway’s end. Finish off by piling the snow at either edge of the driveway (if that’s where the client wants the snow piled). Remember, when planning on a place to pile snow, make sure there is enough room for multiple snow events without a significant thaw.
Tips for Wider or Longer Driveways
Naturally, if it’s a wider or longer driveway, you might want to consider making multiple passes. If this is the case, work from the center outward, tilting the plow to the right and left to push snow to either side of the drive. Working in this kind of methodical manner will save you time on the job, whether it’s your house or a client’s.
Tips for Driveways that End in a Lawn
If it’s a long straight drive that ends in a lawn, a straight push from the road in may be all that is necessary. In this case, make sure the homeowner is comfortable having snow piled at the end of the drive. However, make sure there are no landscaping hazards, or bird baths, statues, etc. that may be damaged by piled snow.
Safety First
Always be careful when backing up. Don’t rely on mirrors or on-board cameras. Turn around with and look directly out the center of the rear window. Always be cognizant of pedestrians, traffic and pets.
When piling snow, never block a neighbor’s drive or obstruct road traffic in any way. If you’re piling snow at the edges of your own drive, make sure you can still easily access the mailbox both from the curb and drive.
In some municipalities, it’s okay to push snow across the street, especially if there is a wooded area across from the drive. But some towns have ordinances against this, so check local ordinances before you plow. If you do so, always clean up the small residual edges of snow that usually remain on the street
If you live in or have accounts adjacent to a cul de sac, there are two different ways of removing snow. Some plow drivers like to start at edge and perform passes heading left and then right, leaving a small pile in the middle that can be cleaned up later. If the snow is light, consider pilling the snow in the center and then piling it to both the left and right at the head or “Y” of the cul de sac.
Once again, the same snow piling rules apply: never block anyone’s drive, never block traffic or roadways and never pile snow where it may be an obstruction or cause damage to property.
As a rule of thumb, you should consider plowing whenever there is more than an inch of snow. Failing to do so could result in an ice buildup on the surface, which can also happen if vehicles frequently drive over the surface. Remembering that the most effective removal occurs as closely to the snow event as possible, plan to plow during off hours such as the early morning or mid-afternoon. If it’s your own driveway, then plow as closely to the event as possible.
Need more information or helpful advice? Contact an authorized Meyer dealer.
Return to News & Blog