Many people who invest in snowblowers do so to minimize back injuries – but unless proper precautions are taken, snowblowers can be dangerous. It is key to remember that a snowblower is a machine, and like any machine it needs to be operated according to the manufacturer’s instructions by a person who is physically able to manage it.

First of all, although you may have a nimble, manageable machine, you will still need to do some manual shovelling. And even light models still need some muscle to move in and out of tight spaces. So while a snowblower may ease most of the burden, you will still have to take precautions to protect your back.

Secondly, there are a few things you need to know about operating a snowblower, such as:
– Only use your snowblower when there is good visibility, ie: you need to be able to see where you are going.
– Ensure you have the right gear on: gloves, grippy shoes or boots, etc.
– Wear safety glasses, always.
– Do not wear loose closing like scarves or anything else that could get caught in the machine.
– Do not use the snowblower if you have had any alcohol or are on medication.
– Keep kids away from the machine when you are using it.
– Ensure that the area you are clearing is free from branches or anything else that could damage the machine.
– Use only approved electrical cords and outlets.

Safely Operating Snowblowers

When you start up a snowblower, give it a chance to adjust to the temperature outside first before starting to clear snow. It’s important that you always stay aware of your surroundings, and keep your footing. Avoid rough areas and stay away from drop-offs. Never go faster than you have to, and slow down on slopes.

Most snowblowers can only clear so much so fast. If you try to move through large drifts too quickly you will jam up and stall your machine. If your machine does jam up, never use your hand to clear the auger – you should use a broomstick or other device. Avoid sharp turns, fast speeds down slopes, or operating in reverse more than necessary.

Fuelling Your Machine

Remember that gasoline is very flammable, so care should be taken to ensure that no fuel is spilled. Use only qualified canisters, and clean up any spills before starting the machine. Never smoke while fuelling or operating your snowblower, and do not fill your machine while it is running. Always fill or drain your tank outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.

In Case of Trouble

If your machine starts to vibrate or make a strange noise then you have likely picked up a foreign object. Turn off your snowblower as soon as possible, remove the key, and let your machine cool off. Before taking apart your machine it’s advisable to remove the wire to your spark plug. If you are not comfortable with working on the machine, find a reputable service person in your area.

Final Thoughts

Like a lawnmower, chainsaw, or other machine, a snowblower should be treated with respect. Follow the directions, use caution, and you’ll be clearing driveways comfortably for many years to come.