How to Snow Blow Your Driveway

Tired of or hate shoveling snow everytime it snows? Snow blowing your driveway and sidewalks can be quick and painless solution when you know how to approach it safely and methodically. Here is how to snow blow your driveway effectively in just a few easy steps.


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    Know which way the wind (and snow) blows. The first step in successful snow blowing is to blow snow with the wind, never against it. While this sounds simple, implementing this will ensure that you don't have to keep re-doing the same areas over and over. This direction may change often during a session, even during the same pass, so constantly adjust your approach accordingly.
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    Once you have a handle on the wind, plan in advance where the snow will be piled up. Consider that the snow will need to be piled in the same areas each snowfall, so it may get very high over time. This height can present safety and security issues, so care needs to be taken to avoid making a mound of problems.
    • Take into account your and your neighbor's need to see street traffic when piling snow at the end of your driveway. It may be necessary to divert piles to other parts of the yard to prevent sight obstruction.
    • Be careful about piling snow against your house. Piling snow high against your home's foundation may lead to flooding problems when it starts to melt.
    • Take weight of the pile into consideration if piling large amounts of snow on structures or plantings.
    • Be mindful not to blow snow directly at buildings or vehicles, because the snow blower may pick up and throw rocks and other debris.
    • Keep kids in mind when piling up snow; be sure that there are no potential traps for them to fall into or from, and that the pile is not making it difficult to see kids walking around on the sidewalk, etc.
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    Decide on a pattern. Now that you know which way to blow snow, and where you want it to end up, an efficient pattern to clear the snow must be created. You can waste a lot of time going over areas more than once as a result of not planning your clearing pattern well. Your best pattern will depend on wind speed and direction, how powerful your machine is (how far it is capable of throwing the snow), and the moisture content of the snow. Bear in mind that your goal is to throw the snow one time only.
    • Try to avoid throwing snow onto an area that you'll be making a future pass over. Instead, always get the snow off the area to be cleared and onto its final resting area with each pass. This may be done with a left to right (or vice versa) pattern, or starting in the middle of the area and working each side alternately. Adjust the chute direction and height as often as necessary to get the snow to it's final home with every single pass. Be diligent about this.
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    Prepare the snow blower. Be sure to check the condition of the snow blower before using it and check the following:
    • Fill the machine with fuel before starting, to avoid breaking your routine and walking back to your garage just to re-fuel. This should be done outdoors to prevent vapor build-up. Do not add fuel to a hot engine; a snow blower's engine must be cooled down first.
    • Check the machine's oil before every use (applies 4 cycle engines). Snow blowers can often burn oil without smoking, and the lack of the proper amount and/or correct type of oil can kill your machine quickly.
    • Check that your own clothes are tucked in so that they can't get caught up in the blower and wear gloves to protect your hands and earplugs to minimize the noise, if needed. And even though it's not often talked about, safety glasses should be worn when snow blowing. It's very easy to get debris thrown back in your face under the right conditions. Finally, wear cleats to ensure that you don't slip over when handling the snow blower.
    • If snow blowing near traffic, be aware that you might not hear traffic over the noise, so either keep a constant eye out or have a helper spot traffic and alert you, as well as wearing brightly colored clothing.
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    Know how to use your snow blower correctly. Before using a snow blower for the first time, read through the user manual thoroughly. Once you're outside, adjust the snow blower chute to ensure that it will blow the snow in the direction you've chosen. Start the snow blower according the manufacturer's instructions and begin clearing the first path, keeping both hands on the snow blower at all times. Only clear ice and snow; slush can clog a snow blower.
    • When snow blowing, always be careful to avoid obstructions such as hoses and taps, water features, statues, toys, branches, and cords, etc. These can become projectiles in the path of a snow blower.
    • Ensure that there is adequate light to work by. If you need a spotlight, be sure to turn it on.
    • While snow blowing, be aware that the machine can stop abruptly if it encounters cracks or uneven spots in the ground's surface. This may cause you to run into the machine's controls due to your forward momentum. Try to keep your arms extended a good distance from your body, to give you more reaction time if the machine stops moving forward abruptly due to unseen obstructions.
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    Leave the shoveling for after the snow blower has had its way with your property. It's easier to use the power of the machine to remove 95 percent of the snowfall as efficiently as possible, then clean up the porches and other areas inaccessible by the blower afterward. You should not slow the machine's operation just to avoid blowing snow on a previously shoveled area, as this is very counter-productive.
  7. Image titled Snow Blow Your Driveway Step 7
    Run the blower. At the end of using the snow blower, allow it to run for a few minutes to remove the snow build-up. This will help to dry it out before returning it to storage.


  • It's helpful to mark potential obstructions such as small bushes, statues, etc. with flags, so that you know to avoid them.
  • When buying a snow blower be sure to pick one that can handle above average snow fall for you area. That way you don't buy a machine that is too big or too small.
  • There is really not one snow blower type that will do a great job on all snowfalls. It is recommended that you have a great single stage blower (with paddle type augers) for light to medium snowfalls, and a larger two-stage machine for the big snowstorms. Even then, there may be certain circumstances when neither type will be as efficient as a good shovel, so be prepared for that day and keep your back strengthening exercises underway.
  • A non-stick cooking spray sprayed into the paddle compartment and the discharge chute will help keep the snow blower from clogging up.
  • Get a fuel stabilizer to help keep your fuel fresh, as you may never know how much time will pass between snowfalls. Never fuel your snow blower until you know snow is coming, as bad gasoline sitting in the tank of your blower for 3+ months can be bad for both your engine and your tank. However, when you know there's snow coming your way, be sure to have a sufficient tank of gas in your can before it starts snowing so you'll be prepared for when you can't get more gas after it snows. Even so, don't get too much more gas than you need if it's not a heavy snowstorm.
  • If your blower has gas in the tank after the winter season is over (if your area has one), pump the gas out as you don't want it to be sitting in there until the next winter.


  • Do not let bystanders/onlookers get close to your operations. Snow blowing looks, and can be very fun, but it is not a group effort. It is far too easy for a person in close proximity to get hit by the snow, ice, and debris coming out of the chute, or to get hit by the machine itself. Keep them far away. Perhaps they can watch through the window of the house!
  • Never, ever clear a clogged discharge chute or auger/impeller with your hands or feet! Even if the snow blower machine is off, use a proper clearing stick or broom handle to clear clogged snow. If you make this your golden rule, it will become habit, a very good habit. Snow blower augers and impellers can and do rotate without you at the controls, even if the engine is turned off. This golden rule keeps you with all 10 fingers and toes, even if the augers/impeller turn unexpectedly. Most hardware stores and snow blower retailers will have clog clearing sticks that can be mounted right onto your machine so they are always handy.
  • Watch for and be aware that objects can often be buried in a deep snowfall. Items like garbage bags, litter from the street, small chunks of concrete, etc. can become projectiles thrown at high speeds, or at the least, jam up and disable your machine.
  • When you are approaching the street, remember to slow down and look to make sure there are no cars approaching. The roads may be slippery, and the cars may not be able to stop quickly if you walk out into the road with your snow blower. Also, if it is snowing, visibility may be greatly reduced for both you and the cars driving down the road, so exhibit extreme caution when approaching the road.
  • Most larger machines have reverse gears to aid in moving these heavy machine backwards. Be very cautious of your position when using this powered reverse action. It is very possible to forget the machine is in reverse, and engage the traction control only to pin yourself against a building, vehicle, snowbank, or just be knocked off your feet by the unexpected rearward motion of the machine. Icy conditions compound this problem.

Things You'll Need

  • Snow blower
  • Snow shovel
  • Fuel for blower
  • Storage space for snow blower (out of the snow)

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