There is something inherently peaceful in watching the snow fall. The gentle crackling sound it makes as the flakes collide with each other and the clean look of a stark-white landscape of wintery bliss is an artist’s staple.

Of course, this all melts away with a sudden dose of panic as you realize that all that beautiful snow has now made your driveway impassable. It’s time to get the snowblower out and get to work. Clearing out the driveway can be done in five easy steps, so don’t worry.

#1 Make Sure the Snowblower is Ready to Go

Snowblower Action

There is nothing more frustrating than needing your snowblower to work to clear out the white frozen hell that is now clogging your escape from being a winter hermit. We’ve all been there at some point. Maybe it’s the lawnmower on a hot summer day? You’ve got to get the thing to just start.

Making sure there is gas in it is always a good place to start. If your snowblower has sat for a long time, hopefully you put Stabil in the fuel, or drained it before it sat. Today’s ethanol gas can clog things up in a hurry if it sits. Next, make sure the engine is getting spark. If you crank it over and get nothing, after the gas, check to make sure the plugs are firing. Once you do have the engine running, be sure to let it properly warm up before you task it with clearing the drive. It saves wear and tear and you’ll thank me later.

#2 Check the Wind

2016 Cub Cadet Three-Stage 3XT 34-Inch PRO H

You’ve all heard the expression about relieving yourself into the wind. Well…the same goes for blowing out of your driveway. If you blow the snow into the wind, it’s going to come back. It’ll probably bring friends with it. No one likes to have to do the same work over again, especially in a blizzard. That’s another thing. If you’re expecting a really bad storm, you may have to go out into it and clear out the drive just so the snow doesn’t pile up higher than your snowblower can handle. Yeah, you’re going to have to do it all over again when the storm is over, but at least you won’t have to call someone to plow.

#3 Start From the Center

Toro Power Curve

The best way to clear your driveway is to make that first pass straight down the center, with the chute pointed with the wind. Go slow so you can gauge how well your snowblower is going to move the snow. If it’s light, fluffy snow, you can go a lot faster than you can if it is wet and heavy. When you get to the end of the drive, make your return pass to the side of the drive closest to the wind direction. You should end up working in a moving rectangle and end up with your last passes close to where you started.

#4 The Last Touches

Mailbox Snow

After you blow out the main driveway, you’ll have a few spots that will need a little extra attention. The end of the driveway always has a few and if you live in a rural area, it would be a good idea to clean up by the mailbox, too. Just be careful whenever you’re by the road.

#5 Clean Up the Machine

Craftsman Snowblower

When you’re all done, don’t just turn off the snowblower and leave it. Run it for a minute to make sure all the snow is cleared out of the augers. Leaving snow in the blades can turn into a mess if it freezes into a solid block of ice. Don’t ask me how I know this. Better yet, don’t ask my wife. She still likes to bring it up.