When temperatures start to dip and the days get shorter, snow and ice are soon to follow. If you live in a snow-prone area, it’ll soon be time to pull out the shovel, gloves, and boots and prep yourself for the snow shoveling season.

Here are some tips to stay ahead of the snow, protect yourself from injury, and make this necessary chore a little less taxing.


snow shoveling tips


Before Shoveling: Prepare & Plan

  • Warm-up – Do some basic stretches to limber up and prevent injury.    
  • Wear layers – Layers will keep you warm while allowing for full movement.
  • Start early – Shovel new snowfall before it melts and refreezes into a slipping hazard.
  • Make a plan – Before removing the snow, figure out where you’re going to move it to.
  • Choose the right shovel – Make sure your shovel fits your hands and frame. Choose from ergonomically-designed models that can reduce bending and strain.
  • Consider wax – Coating your shovel blade with wax (car wax is fine) will prevent heavy snow from sticking and freezing to the blade. This works best on metal shovels.



snow shoveling tips

While Shoveling: Technique & Habits

    • Push, don’t lift – Pushing snow is easier on your body than lifting it. In times where lifting is unavoidable, be sure to:
      • Bend your knees and keep your back straight.
      • Position your feet hip-width apart and use your legs for leverage.
      • Avoid twisting with a loaded shovel.
    • Keep your shovel close to your body — This will help prevent injuries.
    • Keep it bite-sized – Shovel smaller loads rather than large ones. Also, focus on the powder rather than heavy ice.
    • Change up your grip – To prevent blisters and strain, switch up left- to right-handed shoveling. Also change it up with palm under/ palm over.
    • Take breaks – Especially if the snow is wet, be sure to hit pause every 20 or 30 minutes.
    • Stay hydrated – In cold weather, it’s easy to forget to hydrate, so be sure you have water available and remember to drink it.
    • Shovel snow while it’s falling – You’ll lighten your workload if you periodically remove snow while it’s falling.



snow shoveling tips

Managing the Yard

While shoveling, keep your yard and home exterior happy by keeping these tips in mind.

    • Don’t let snow pile up – If branches are weighed down with snowdrifts, gently brush the snow off to prevent branches from bending under the weight and snapping. And when you’re shoveling near them, remember to not dump the snow on plants.
    • Make a windbreak – If it works for your yard, you can deposit each shovelful of snow to form a barrier that shields shrubs and plants from wind damage.
    • Clear snow from the dryer vent – A blocked dryer vent is a fire hazard and can put your family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure your vents are clear of snow build-up.
    • Keep the fire hydrant clear of snow – If you have a fire hydrant at the front of your yard, make sure part of your maintenance is to keep it clear in case fire crews need to locate and use it.
    • If you park in the driveway – Clear a path to the driver door first, so that you don’t have to trudge through the snow to get to it.

As long as there’s snow, there will be snow shoveling. By using the tips above, you can make this task a bit easier and prevent injuries in the process.



This article is furnished by California Casualty. We specialize in providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

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