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Plowing up & down drives

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by TSG, Nov 17, 2001.

  1. TSG

    TSG Member
    Messages: 76

    Hello all..

    I'm still on the fence as to whether I'm going plow...

    I have a couple of drives that are kind of steep. How do you approach steep drives?

    For example.. I have one 60' long drive that is down hill (not sure.. about 30 degrees) from the street.. It has one bend in the middle..

    Do you plow down this drive or do you go to the bottom and plow up it?

    If I take the downhill approach and start to slide at the bend.. I'll be in their front yard heading for the house..

    I have another that is also 60' uphill from street that is steeper (maybe 45 degrees).. Will I be spinnin' tires trying to plow up this drive?

    Sorry for the newbie questions..
  2. Mick

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

    TSG - as with anything, planning is the key. If there is a place to put the snow at the bottom and assuming that your area get a relatively small total snowfall for the season, you want to start at the top. I would also start on the side away from the house, but with the plow down there's really not much chance of sliding that far if you're using normal precaution and going at a sane speed. At the bottom, push snow as back far as possible (within reason) to allow for the next snow. If you can, angle the blade to each side as you plow and it will build up a bank to keep the truck on the road. Last suggestion - do not attempt these driveways with a 2wd.
  3. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    is there grass between the house and drive? If so a plow blade on grass will slow you down.

    For the most part we try to plow downhill as it is easier on the equipment. This is not possible all the time. When going up hill we try to take "bites" by plowing up then pushing to the side before the pile gets to big. Any slop steep like that will probably need sand or another traction aid possibly even when plowing.
  4. TSG

    TSG Member
    Messages: 76

  5. diginahole

    diginahole Member
    Messages: 63

    Take small bites when plowing down steep slopes as well..... if you get stopped by a large pile in front of you you may not be able to back up!!! Been there, it sucks. It mosly happens when snow falls back over the plow when you stack at the bottom of a hill.
  6. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    I can appreciate steep slopes, we got our share here in VT, but you oughta rethink that estimate of the grades you're talking about. You can't walk up a 45 degree slope, much less drive up one.
  7. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    steep drives

    I did the steepest hillside drives in my town. Rule # 1 is SNOWCHAINS, and on all 4 wheels. Don't take a chance without them as there may be ice under the snow. If you only have two chains, put them on the front wheels, for these driveways. also, make sure you carry a shovel, logging chain at least 20' long and a come along to pull you straight if you need it. you can get turned sideways very easy in a downhill steep drive plow run. you chain around a stout tree and use the come along to straighten you out.

    For the down hill plow, angle your plow toward the house, so that if you slide you will go away from the house on your first pushes to break open the driveway. go the slowest speed you can, lowest gear, and low range on your transfer case as you make your initial cleaning passes. Steep drives are not a race like a parking lot at the mall. push snow on angle toward the down side of the hill, NOT the upside.

    For the uphill driveway, leave the plow straight and BACK UP the driveway about 30 feet or so. The reason you back up is that the weight of your truck is up front, engine and plow act as a fulcrom coming down a hill. Drop the plow and angle it left, so you are pushing toward the down side of the hill. Never angle to the up side of the hill, you could end up right off the side of the hill on your initial clearing runs. Again, you should have chains on. I would leave my truck in reverse, and let gravity take it down the hill. If I started to slide, I would let the clutch out and claw my way back up the hill. As I get to the bottom I straighten the blade and get ready to back up again as before. I repeat this pattern, each time going a little further up the hill, pretty soon you are at the top and you can clean up, collect your $$ and get on to the next one.

    Sometimes it helps to swing your front wheels left and right to help you claw up the side of the hill as you run up.

    Steep drives are not for the faint of heart, and you need to walk them in advance of your first snow plow BEFORE there is snow on the ground, make notes, and figure out where everything is going to stack up before you plow it at night. 3 am in a snow storm is no time for experimenting.

    Remember rule # 1, BUY CROSS LINK CHAINS AND USE THEM !!
  8. Mick

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

    Tommy10plows - Good advise. Are you basing everything on a truck with a standard transmission? One point, though. If you're leaving it in reverse and using gravity, then you'd have the clutch disengaged and using neutral, basically. I think you'd be better off in 1st gear/Low range. You're less likely to lose traction and if you do lose traction with the clutch disengaged, the natural reaction is to "pop" the clutch, engaging reverse. You're now going forward, in reverse and sliding on ice - out of control and usually sideways. It probably works well for you - but I'd guess that you have considerable experience. Steep driveway would not be the place for a lesson.

    Just my opinion.
  9. HandyHaver

    HandyHaver Senior Member
    Messages: 279

    I wrote a drive like that last year. Straight drop down, drop off to the right & embankment with steps from the house on the left. Ended up doing it with the blower & shovels all season. Should have never wrote him & it was a loser but I did him for the rest of the season as per my contract. I fiquered it may take longer but I won't get stuck and really throw off my route. Last year was my first year back plowing in a long time and I was wrote a few drives that I never should have (this one the worst) but I was looking at that $3000.00 paper weight in the drive and wanted to fill my route as quickly as I could. This year I only kept half of my route from last year and have filled it in with drives that I want to do (gravy). I learned alot last year and was able to use it to my advantage this year. Sometimes it's just better to walk away and let somebody else have this headache.

  10. TSG

    TSG Member
    Messages: 76

    Thanks again guys..

    Sorry Alan.. I don't know the exact angle. It's a tough walk up it though...
  11. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    steep drives

    Yes, all my trucks were standard transmissions, and all had Monarch Hy-Lo belt driven pumps. Reliable and simple.