If you live in an area of the country where there is frequent snowfall, it’s important to develop a safe and effective strategy for getting rid of snow from your driveway and sidewalk.
Around 11,500 people each year are treated in the emergency room for injuries that they sustained clearing snow: it’s easy to hurt your back or injure yourself by slipping and falling.
This article will cover some of the most common snow removal methods, and how you can execute them safely.
Shoveling is certainly the cheapest option when it comes to clearing snow! However, it’s also a method that can harm your back if you don’t use the proper technique.
If you want to shovel snow safely, it’s essential that you stretch first to warm up your muscles to prevent strain. It’s also important to dress in warm clothing, and that you take breaks regularly. You can also make shoveling easier on yourself by waxing the blade of your shovel, as this will mean that it passes through the snow more easily.
When shoveling, the safest technique to adopt is as follows:
- Bend your knees and lift with your legs (this avoids lifting with your back).
- Switch your grip periodically, and switch between shoveling right- and left-handed. This will avoid over-use of one muscle group.
- Keep your shovel close to your body, as this will also avoid unnecessary strain on your back.
- Don’t try to shovel too much snow at once. If the snowfall is particularly deep, then clear it in layers.
Salt is quite commonly used as a method to clear snow and ice from walkways, and it’s quite effective as an easy way to melt small areas.
However, there are some downsides to using salt.
Pet owners should be especially careful when using salt to clear snow as it’s toxic to both dogs and cats. Ingesting salt can cause pets to vomit and have diarrhea, can cause harm to the kidneys, and can even lead to coma and death in severe cases.
As most pet owners know, it’s tough to prevent your animals from eating everything that they shouldn’t! So it’s probably worth playing safe and not using salt.
Salt can also cause damage to lawns and plants, so if you’re a keen gardener it may not be a great option, either.
Snow blowers are definitely a worthwhile investment if you’re going to be clearing snow regularly! They allow homeowners to quickly and safely remove snow from their driveways and sidewalks, without the strain on the muscles that come along with shoveling.
More powerful snow blowers can even handle very large areas of snow or heavy snowfall, and they can certainly help if you need to clear snow on a slope because the snow blower will take the brunt of the strain for you.
However, if you’re going to buy a snow blower it’s important that you ensure that you have somewhere to store it, as they can take up a fair bit of space.