Shoveling a sealed driveway is relatively easy. The smooth, water-repellant surface helps you glide easily along. Below are tips on how to shovel your driveway safely.
Dress for the Weather
This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised. It is cold out. Dress for it. You will get warm as you work, so take that into consideration. This is not an occasion for those gym shorts, sneakers and t-shirts however. Boots, wool socks, jeans and a warm long sleeve shirt should be standard. A light jacket or flannel is also helpful in keeping you insulated while you work. Include a warm coat, gloves and a cap if it is below 20 degrees.
Use the Right Tools
Of course, a snow blower helps when it comes to clearing your driveway. However, not everyone can afford them so let us focus on shoveling. You want to select the right kind of shovel. Sure, there are cheap, fully plastic ones available. These tend to break and do not stand up well to heavy snows. Ergonomically designed shovels are a hot item right now as well. Better than the full plastic versions, these are not all that comfortable to use and do not really do much to benefit your lower back as often claimed. A simple wooden handled shovel with a reinforced metal blade is ideal.
Technique is Everything
Everyone has their own technique. For starters, most suggest either repeatedly shoveling a few inches down as continuous snow falls or waiting until the storm passes and do it all at once. We would suggest that if large or heavy accumulations are expected over a period, it would be wise to shovel a few inches off every few hours until the snow stops to reduce the load you shovel each time. For smaller or light accumulations, waiting until the snow stops is fine.
Before you start on the main part, dig a path along the upwind length of your driveway. This provides you with a clear walking path and guideline. Once you do that, shovel from the footpath across the width of your driveway and work your way from top to bottom or vice versa.
While you shovel, it is important to maintain the correct posture. Lift with your legs and shoulders, trying not to rotate your spine. You should stand with your feet shoulder-width apart to maintain balance. As with picking up heavy boxes, bend at the knees and not the waist to prevent straining your back. Do not foolishly lift large quantities of snow at once. Scoop small amount to ensure you remain injury free.
It is important that you take breaks as you shovel snow. It may not seem like a high-impact exercise, but shoveling snow strains your muscles. (Which means you should make sure you stretch before and after you shovel!) Make sure to drink plenty of water while you are working to keep yourself hydrated. If you feel any pain or discomfort, stop immediately. Heart attacks and back injuries are not uncommon while shoveling snow so make sure you seek medical attention if you feel pain.