If you are removing snow from a large open area like a commercial parking lot, you should have done a lot of pre-season planning so you know where there may be curbs or other obstructions in your path. Hopefully, these have been staked out ahead of time, so you know where to plow. You also need to know where there may be landscaping and drains, which will affect where you plan to stack or pile your snow.
When you are plowing a large area, piles can get rather high. The same rules for stacking snow always apply. Never obstruct vision or sight lines for traffic, and never pile snow on existing structures or over drains. See our post on Stacking and Piling Snow for more on this subject.
Before you start the job, always turn on flashers, yellow warning beacons or strobes to keep you and other vehicles safe while you’re on the job. Start with a single pass down the center of the lot in its longest direction. Raise your blade at the end of the pass to pile snow. After you have made an initial pass, angle plow the snow toward the long side with continuous passes.
If the lot includes a building, clear the area in front of the building and any overhead doors first and push the snow outward toward the boundaries of the lot. This could mean back dragging the snow away from the building before you make your first complete pass. If you are responsible for snow removal on walkways, make sure you shovel the snow into the lot so it can be plowed away and stacked. Remember, the first pass is the area where you will push more snow once you get into the job.
If snow is deep, you may have to make multiple piles of snow for easier handling and stacking later. Once you have a main artery next to the building or in the middle of the lot clear, it often makes sense to plow at right angles to the main artery, piling up snow in back and forth passes in alternate lanes.
If the lot you’re going to plow is gravel or dirt, it may be necessary to raise the plow an inch or adjust the feet for desired clearance, Under extreme conditions where the geography underneath the plow is uneven, it may be necessary to plow with your moldboard in a suspended position to avoid natural deflections and abrupt rises in the plowing surface.
Always use caution when plowing next to curbs and keep sufficiently clear of all staked areas. Use extra caution when plowing next to parked cars, because snow can accidently push you into another vehicle. Never plow a vehicle in, unless you want to hear from the client later. Plow in straight lines, whenever possible. If it’s possible, try to pile or stack snow toward the back of the property or down wind.
Always work meticulously to avoid plowing the same area multiple times. However, it may also be advisable to go back and clean up small areas where you have left small piles or streaks of snow on the lot.
If you would like more information on plowing large parking lots, contact your local Meyer representative or dealer. They can offer great advice on keeping your commercial accounts happy this season.