The best ways to shovel snow and stay safe doing it
Most people don't look forward to shoveling snow after a winter storm, but the painful task of clearing your driveway, sidewalks and stairs can be easier if you know how to do it properly.
First and foremost: Have a plan.
It will make shoveling less stressful if you know how to tackle the process ahead of time.
Snow shoveling tips
FILE - A man seen snow shoveling a driveway in Tappan, New York. (Photo by Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)
If it has stopped snowing, Home Depot recommends working in sections to clear away all the snow on your driveway and sidewalks. But if it's still snowing, you may want to make a first pass to make the rest of the removal process more manageable once the snow has stopped falling.
Once you've made your plan and you're ready to begin, you'll want to clear a path to your car if you park in a driveway. Home Depot says that's because you can start your car and turn on the defrosters, so once the driveway is clear, you can easily remove the snow and ice from your vehicle.
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Next, Mass.gov says the best way to begin to shovel out your driveway is to start at the opening and shovel snow in the direction of traffic. To do that, face the road your driveway opens up to and shovel the snow to the right.
But shovelers beware: You'll want to do this after a snowplow comes by. It will be incredibly frustrating to do all of that work only to have a plow push all of the snow back to the start of the driveway after doing all of that work.
You'll also want to clear a path around any fire hydrants and storm drains along your curb.
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Also, Home Depot recommends tossing piles of snow entirely out of your driveway. You won't want to start shoveling and tossing those scoops of snow over sections you haven't gotten to yet. Work smarter, not harder.
Just be careful not to throw snow on top of shrubs or other plants, as that could crush them.
It's also important to ensure that there aren't any large piles of snow or snowdrifts covering the vent to your dryer on the side of your home, as that buildup of snow and ice could trap dust and other debris, posing a fire hazard.
How to properly shovel snow
FILE - A person digs out their buried car in Bostons Roxbury, Massachusetts, on Jan. 30, 2022. (Photo by Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Ok. You made a plan, and you're ready to get to work.
Safety should be your No. 1 priority, so you'll want to stick with a proper technique to make the process as easy as possible while staying safe.
MEDICAL EXPERTS WARN SHOVELING SNOW CAN BE DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH
If you weren't already aware, it's going to be cold. And the wind will make it feel even colder. But Home Depot says the wind doesn't need to be your enemy while shoveling snow. Use it to your advantage by shoveling in the direction the wind blows, if possible.
When you start shoveling, grip near the shovel blade to keep it close to you when lifting the snow. That will reduce the strain on your back, and always remember to bend your knees and lift with your legs.
And don't worry about piling as much snow as possible onto your shovel to save time. If you shovel smaller amounts that take twice as much time, your body will thank you.
Also, it's easier to push the snow with your shovel rather than lift it.
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How to stay safe while shoveling snow
According to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, more than 11,000 people seek medical attention for injuries associated with snow removal every year.
While most people suffer from back injuries or hyperthermia, cardiac-related hospital visits were the most concerning and accounted for all deadly accidents researchers examined.
Like you would before a run or a workout, warm up your muscles before getting to work.
FILE - A person shovels the sidewalk in Chicago on Jan. 26, 2021. (Youngrae Kim/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
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Dress in layers and remove them as you start to warm up to help maintain a comfortable body temperature, according to Travelers.
Don't overexert yourself, and take plenty of breaks. Travelers says you should consider taking a break after 20 to 30 minutes, especially when it's a heavy, wet snow.
And be sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated while you're shoveling snow.