Tips for Clearing Snow & Ice

Clearing Snow And Ice

Clearing snow and ice from driveways and sidewalks is hard work. To prevent injuries, follow these safety tips from the National Safety Council, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and other prevention organizations. For many more tips about winter weather, visit

  • Dress warmly, paying special attention to feet, hands, nose, and ears.
  • Avoid shoveling snow if you are out of shape. If you have a history of heart trouble, do not shovel snow unless your doctor says it's okay.
  • Do light warm-up exercises before shoveling and take frequent breaks.
  • If possible, push snow in front of you. If you have to lift it, pick up small amounts and lift with your legs, not your back. Do not toss snow over your shoulder or to the side.
  • Don't drink alcohol before or while shoveling snow. Never smoke while shoveling.
  • Use rock salt or de-icing compounds to remove ice from steps, walkways, and sidewalks. Sand placed on walkways may also help prevent slipping.
  • If you use a snow blower (also called a snow thrower), follow these safety guidelines:
  • Read the owner's manual before starting your snow blower. Make sure you understand all the recommended safety steps.
  • Make sure all people and pets are out of the way before you begin.
  • Do not put your hand in the snow blower to remove impacted snow or debris. Turn the machine off and wait a few seconds. Then use a stick or broom handle to remove the material.
  • Do not leave the snow blower unattended when it is running.
  • Fill up with fuel before you start, when the engine is cool.


Driving Safely In Winter Weather Snow, ice, and extreme cold can make driving treacherous. These safety tips from CDC, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the National Safety Council can help make winter car travel safer. For many more tips about winter weather, visit .

  • Before winter arrives, have your car tuned up, check the level of antifreeze, make sure the battery is good, and check your tire tread or put on snow tires.
  • Keep emergency gear in your car for everyday trips:
    • cell phone
    • flashlight
    • jumper cables
    • sand or kitty litter (for traction)
    • ice scraper, snow brush, and small shovel
    • blankets
    • warning devices (e.g., flares, reflectors)
  • For long car trips, keep food, water, extra blankets, and required medication on hand.
  • Avoid driving in snow or ice storms. If you must travel in bad weather, drive slowly. Let someone know what route you're taking and when you plan to arrive so they can alert authorities if you don't get there.
  • If your car is parked outside, make sure the exhaust pipe and the area around it are free of snow before you start the car. Snow packed in or around the exhaust pipe can cause high levels of carbon monoxide in the car.
  • Don't sit in a parked car with the engine running unless a window is open. Do not let your car run while parked in a garage.
  • If your car stalls or gets stuck in snow, light two flares and place one at each end of the car, a safe distance away. Make sure snow has not blocked the exhaust pipe. Then stay in your vehicle and open a window slightly to let in fresh air. Wrap yourself in blankets and run your vehicle's heater for a few minutes every hour to keep warm.
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