Arctic explosion, polar vortex, snowmageddon and bombogenesis may sound like something out of your favorite science fiction movie, but they are winter realities for large parts of the United States. There is something impressive about extreme winter weather. There is also something impressive about moving lots of snow out of your driveway.
Every winter, snow throwers save the backs of thousands of people. You can clear a driveway and walkway much faster with a snow thrower than you can with a shovel. And although you can spend a lot on a snow thrower, you can also find a new one for under $ 200.
However, there are disadvantages, especially when we ignore safety protocols for snow throwers. In fact, The Washington Post reports that “approximately 9,000 Americans have lost a finger (or two or three) due to a snowball-related injury”; over a 12-year period.
There are some obvious ways to stay safe when using your snow thrower, such as turning it off before performing any maintenance or keeping children away from a snow thrower that is in operation. Other safety tips are not quite as obvious, and some may even come as a surprise.
1. Never loosen, never remove the chute with your hand
Even with the power turned off and the blades stopped, it is still possible for the rotational force to build up just enough for the blade to turn slightly when it is clogged.
2. Use a tool to clear the gutter again
You can not use your hands, but you can use a tool such as a broomstick or a clearing tool to remove clogged snow. Just turn off the engine and wait a few seconds until the blades stop spinning.
Clear a road
Before the snow gets too deep, remove obstacles such as doormats, lawns or anything else that can get stuck and damage your snow thrower.
4. Dress appropriately
Wear shoes or boots that have a good grip to avoid slipping while working on your snow thrower. Consumer Reports also suggests goggles, “and avoid loose-fitting clothing that can get caught in moving parts.” If it’s particularly cold outside, be sure to dress in multiple layers as well. There is no need to risk frostbite when cleaning your driveway.
4. Cover the ears
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association points out that a gas snowball is high enough to cause hearing damage. Wear earplugs or noise-canceling headphones when using your snow thrower.
Fill your fuel tank before starting your snow thrower, otherwise you will have to wait for the engine to cool down to add more. This is also a good time to check the oil.
6. Keep it out
Do not drive your snow thrower in your garage where dangerous carbon monoxide can build up. Keep it outdoors when it is on.
7. Take a break
You may have heard that shoveling snow can cause a heart attack, but did you know that the same thing applies to snow throwers? Shooting around a snow thrower is hard work, and if you are not warmed up and ready for the challenge, you will put a lot of stress on your heart. Take it easy when you are out there. The snow is going nowhere.
Another option is to take it in shifts. If you expect a lot of snow, go out once before the snow runs out and then again when it’s clear.
8. Look at the cord
If you use an electric snow thrower, make sure you always know where the cord is so that you do not accidentally run over it.
9. Aim in the right direction
Direct the gutter away from cars, people or other walkways and driveways. If you are wearing earplugs (and you should be), pay special attention to people walking nearby so that you do not accidentally hit them with snow.
10. Keep track of maintenance
A properly maintained machine gives you more years of trouble-free service than a neglected machine. Keeping up to date with maintenance is not a direct line for the snow thrower’s safety, but a working snow thrower gives you less opportunity to keep your hands close to potentially moving parts. In addition, it will save a lot of frustration when the snow accumulates and you need your snow thrower in the best condition.
Did you know that heavy snow can damage your home? Keep your insurance updated with Pekin Insurance to make sure you are covered should the unexpected happen. Contact your local Pekin insurance agent today for more information.