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plowing steep driveways with garages at the bottom!

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by bigjeeping, Nov 12, 2005.

  1. bigjeeping

    bigjeeping Senior Member
    Messages: 675

    Minor concern.... As you can see from the pictures, this house has a fairly steep driveway with the garage located directly at the bottom. I have a few houses signed up which are in this same situation, if not worse - some have steeper inclines!

    I'm worried the weight of my F-250 may just start sliding down the hill..... and then BAM there's the garage door.

    Anyone with experience plowing a drive like this.. can the brakes handle it? Is it risky that the truck might just slide down? As some of you know this is my first year plowing big and I have never plowed more than just a 1/2 mile flat dirt road.

    Help please!

  2. bigjeeping

    bigjeeping Senior Member
    Messages: 675

    another of drive...

  3. Killswitch

    Killswitch Senior Member
    Messages: 246

    You shouldnt be using the brakes, but letting the engine, and gearing "brake" the truck.

    Of course Icy conditions will only make it more difficult.

    Go into 4 Low if you feel the need, and just go slowwwwwly.

    Jobs like that make ballast make sense dont they.

    Ever get your plow straightened around?
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2005
  4. Killswitch

    Killswitch Senior Member
    Messages: 246

    Oh and Id be more concerned with that hundred year old Oak tree in front of the garage. If you start sliding, aim for the garage doors. lol
  5. danno

    danno Senior Member
    Messages: 401

    You could also try keeping one side of the truck on the "grass" area when going down. You might get a better grip on a rougher surface.:)
  6. festerw

    festerw Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    Your brakes won't help if you don't have any traction, I would invest in a great set of snow tires.
  7. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,196

    I would make my first pass from the road, down the left side of the driveway towards the large tree. Leave the snow to the right of the tree. I would then make a pass from the large tree to the left of the garage. Now that you have a cleared pass you could back drag from the doors and turn around.

    When you have to go towards the garage doors to back blade leave your truck in N if it will still roll. Have your hand ready on the joy stick and push the down button if you start to slide.

    I have done a few driveways like that and if you are pushing snow while going down the hill you will most likely not slide.
  8. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    In my opinion, that's not enough of a grade to even worry about. If you are, keep some snow in front of your plow and let it act as your brake. The bigger problem, from my perspective would be how and where to push the snow so as it melts, it doesn't cross the driveway or run into the house. I think I'd want to push everything to the garage side of the house and stack between the garage and the bank to the next house - after the ground freezes. Then plan on replacing some sod next Spring.

    Don't angle the plow toward the house or garage. If your truck did happen to slide, it would stop when it gets to the grassy edge. Just hope the ground is frozen by that time. It looks tight for backdragging from the garage. Pull up to the door at an angle, angle the plow to the right so it's straight with the door and backdrag just enough to clear the doors, angle slightly left, then push the snow to the edge ( or a little past the edge) of the garage. Make sure no snow is up against the garage. If the ground is built up to the the garage wall at all, that should keep any melting snow from damaging the garage walls.
  9. daninline

    daninline Senior Member
    Messages: 430

    I'm getting studs on my snow tires this year since I had a few drives that didn't have much sun and would freeze over.
    I slid down one drive about 100 feet on the brakes and a blade full of snow that was not fun.

    I would add some to the price since the risk factor is there.
  10. Andy N.

    Andy N. Senior Member
    Messages: 236

    yah, that is not steep enough to worry about. Do you salt the driveway? If so, back down while throwing some salt, plow it, through a little more salt down. Or, like someone else said, plow down going down the driveway and then push it to the left.
    I wouldn't worry, it is not all that steep.
  11. Gicon

    Gicon Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 989

    My friend, that is nothing. I should post pics of one that I didnt even want to take but I got recommended to the lady. To say the least my average small driveway is $30 and I am charging this lady $100. You shouldnt have a problem with that one. I am worried about the one I have. Its so steep, you cant see over the hood of the truck climbing up. Only pics can describe. Did I mention I didnt want this driveway???
  12. drmiller100

    drmiller100 Senior Member
    from idaho
    Messages: 119

    that ain't steep.

    take an 8 foot 2x4, and set it on the driveway. anything over 25 degrees is steep.

    got a call the other day. seems a front end loader was doing his driveway, and told him first push was 50 bucks, second push was gonna be 500, better find someone else. got there, and there were huge scars 20 feet up in a big pine tree. Owner asked me how come loader dude had his bucket up that high.

    that wasn't his bucket, it was his cab, and the loader used the cab bouncing off the tree to stay upright. Loader dude won't be back.
    it gets steep enough, pretty hard to beat a skidsteer. in a steer, you dig the bucket in, and aim for the tree.
  13. Hmebuildr

    Hmebuildr Senior Member
    Messages: 115

    That drive is not bad at all. I used to plowed one that a lot steeper then that. The house was at the top of the driveway. You could only plow this one down hill. When you came down the drive with the plow lifted as high as it would go the plow would hit the main road before the truck was off the driveway. Just take it slow and easy
  14. bigjeeping

    bigjeeping Senior Member
    Messages: 675

    thanks for all the replies.. i feel a small bit of comfort now.. we'll see how things go!
    Yes, it is a tight squeeze at the bottom.. there's a large retaining wall along the bottom left side of the driveway so cant push snow there!
  15. SnowGuy73

    SnowGuy73 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,868

    I agree with Mick..:nod:
  16. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    Steep Drives

    I do the steepest drives in my hometown on the side of a mountain facing New York City. Contemporary homes, tudors, ranches, etc. and you have to have chains. If you chain one axle only, chain the fronts, all your weight is up there. If there is packed snow underneith, you are okay. If there is ice underneith, you will really have a problem. Chain all four wheels if you really want security. Studded snow tires do not offer the stopping ability of a set of bar reinforced chains.
  17. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Tommy, did you look at that driveway? I think chains are way overkill. Besides, he's new. Chains will eat up that driveway and the owner will be after him to repave it.
  18. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    I remember sliding down an icy driveway, plow down with just a little snow in front of it, my buddys wifes new minivan right in the way. Had to throw it in reverse and open the throttle and pray. Eventually got it slowed down and reversed direction with about a foot to spare. I blame that one on crappy tires and inexperience.
    I'm not a big fan of tirechains. Maybe in certain situations you need them, but I think sometimes traction is over-rated. There is supposed to be "give" somewhere in the driveline, I'd prefer to let the tires spin a little now and then than to use up U-joints more often.
  19. gino

    gino Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 94

    I cant make a judgement by loooking at that picture. However, I will tell you that some driveways can be deceptive. They may not look very steep but if the angle is in just the right spot, and near obstructions you could be screwed. I also plow driveways that are steep but stretched out over a longer distance. These dont seem as bad as some of the small quick drop driveways. Also, the type of pavement under you makes all the difference in the world. For instance, if they recently sealed the driveway it can be slick as hell without much of an incline. My advise would be this. The first time you plow it take a little at a time then back out. In and out. If you start to feel squirmy about it then back off. It beats getting stuck or sliding into someones drtiveways doors! Use your best judgement. These are some of the challenges of snowplowing! Hope this helps.
  20. Big Dog D

    Big Dog D PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,134

    In my opinion your problem won'r be going down it may be getting back up. Some times if the ground was warm when it started snowing and then turned sharply colder during the storm the problem with accounts like that is that they ice over instantly after you expose the moisture on the bottom to the cold. Like what was said before make sure that you have ballast in the truck for better traction but also make sure that you have sand salt mix to put down in the case that you need it to get out. From the looks of that pic you might not need it there but it will help with steeper ones in the future!