Winter means a lot of things to a lot of people. To some, it’s a fun time filled with cold, cozy nights, sipping hot chocolate, and lots of snow to enjoy. To others, it’s a dangerous time of the year when the weather can be unpredictable, especially if a big snowstorm blows through the area.
Before you bundle up and tackle all that snow out there, kick your feet up and read our list of 10 tips to help you shovel snow safely and effectively!
Stretch – Before you head out into all that snow, make sure that you stretch! Stretch your back, shoulders, and hamstrings to make them limber and ready for the task at hand, then dress comfortably in loose, removable layers. Make sure to go at a slow and steady pace when you shovel.
Clean Off Cars First – When it comes to cleaning off snow, it’s best to move from top to bottom. Brush off all the snow on your cars before tackling anything else. Remember to remove the fallen snow away from your car so it can move more easily when you need to use it.
Maintain Good Posture – Think of shoveling snow like moving heavy boxes: lift with your legs, not your back. Keep your back straight as you move from the squat position to the upright position as much as possible, and hold the snow close to your upper body. Remember to keep one hand close the shovel’s blade for better leverage, and don’t twist your upper body as you throw the snow.
Don’t Move Snow Twice – Before you even start shoveling, think about where you’re going to put the snow you pick up. Drop the first shovelful farther away from where you’re standing. Then go ahead and dump the remaining snow closer and closer to where you are so that the last scoops will be moved the shortest distance.
Team Up – Shoveling is definitely no fun, but it’s much better when you team up with a friend or neighbor. You’ll get the job done twice as fast and will have much more fun that way, so call up your buddy or your neighbor next door and get to work!
Stay Hydrated – Make sure to take bottles of water out with you and keep them close by so you can stop and take a drink here and there. You can keep the water either in your car, on your front stoop, in the garage, or another convenient location.
Don’t Be a Perfectionist – Even though the temperatures plummet in the winter, the sun is actually very strong this time of the year. Thanks to the sun’s rays, you don’t have to worry about being super thorough and get every bit of frozen liquid off your sidewalks. Simply clear an area, spread some de-icer around if you need to, and let the sun take care of the rest.
Use Just a Little De-Icer – As soon as you clear an area, go ahead and spread a thin layer of de-icer to keep it clear. A little will work perfectly fine. If you happen to be spreading the de-icer by hand, try to throw the salt, pellets, or granules low the ground so that they can create one unified layer.
Rest Frequently – You might not want to stop as soon as you get a good rhythm, but it’s so important to stop and rest here and there. Remember, when you’re clearing snow by hand, you’re lifting and carrying hundreds of pounds of snow, if not more. Give yourself a break and rest every 10 or 15 minutes, and be sure to take it easy for the rest of the day as soon as you’re finished shoveling.
Get a Head Start – Whenever it’s possible, try to get a head start on your shoveling. It’s much easier to remove snow in thinner layers than in one giant layer. If the forecast calls for a lot of snow, plan on shoveling in many small passes so you don’t strain yourself.
When it comes to winter, anything can happen. You never know when fallen snow from a huge snowstorm might make the roof of your home cave in or if a thick coating of ice could knock out your power. Make sure that you’re prepared for whatever winter has in store and to call us to make sure that your home is properly protected from the elements. Find us online at www.madisonmutual.com or call us 1-800-766-MMIC to talk to one of our friendly professionals today!