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To Plow or Not To Plow

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by 207, Feb 5, 2008.

  1. 207

    207 Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Hello All,

    I'm new to this site and I'm hoping that you can help me. I've been plowing my own driveway and select friends and neighbors for a few years now. My dilema is with my own driveway.

    One part of my driveway crosses a stream and there is a considerable dip leading down to the part directly above the stream and a considerable hill to climb to get up to the actual house. The grade and drop is long enough and steep enough that you can go sledding. Basically if looking at it from the side it's U shaped. of course at the bottom that crosses the stream it narrows and I haven't installed any guard rail system. If you slide off the edge you're going to go about 12 ft down to the stream. I've never had a problem yet!!

    My question is when to plow. When we have all snow events I obviously plow every 4 inches or so in order to keep up. When it's pure snow I have no problems. Recently we have been getting mixed precipitation storms and I now have ice built up on the driveway. I guess I should mention it's gravel and doesn't get a lot of sun.

    Today we got about 3 inches. Tomorrows forcast is for rain. Then very cold temps later in the week. Should I scrape it today the best I can before the rain? Or wait until after the rain tomorrow? I'm guessing there probably isn't one best approach. it probably depends on other variables, but any knowledge that you all can share from experience would be greatly appreciated.

    Sorry for the long post!

  2. snowfighter75

    snowfighter75 Senior Member
    Messages: 124

    Wait till after the rain. But don't plow it right after the rain. This will give it a chance to drain a bit. Unless the air temp is dropping fast then you better give it a scrape. Other than that this should help your problem a bit but not fully. You probably should sand those areas after a scrape.
  3. cjcocn

    cjcocn Member
    Messages: 78

    I would prefer to keep all potential dangerous areas as clear as possible and, based on the info that you have provided, I would plow the 3" and then plow again tomorrow if I had to.

    My thinking on this is that I want the problem areas to be as clear as possible so that I have the best traction available and the best sight lines (less precipitation covering the driveway and any obstacles or dangerous edges, etc). Plus, if the forecast was wrong and even more snow fell tomorrow, you would not have to worry about additional or compounded dangers brought about by the extra snow.

  4. Mick

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

    Eric, I'm from Maine, too, and have something similar to what you're describing except I have a bridge made from a culvert with no guard rail or anything. I put some large rocks (about 3-4' in diameter) on both sides of the "bridge" to keep cars or trucks from mistakenly getting too close to the edge. Then as I plow, the snow forms around/between/over the rocks. Now the snowbanks are the guard rails.

    The rocks saved my ex son-in-law from dumping his car in the stream. It was more icy than he realized and he couldn't stop or steer. Car meets rock - rock wins.
  5. 207

    207 Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Thanks for all the advice!!!

    I did plow last night. I have an 8' Fisher so I don't really have any down pressure. I scraped as much as I could. With the rain today it's a little slick, but not bad. I guess now they're saying we could get 4" - 8" tonight after the rain. Based on past experiences I'm hoping after I plow that snow it will give me a nice base that isn't glare ice. I have a buddy who can come sand if I need him too.

    Mick, Nice suggestion on the rocks. I have a couple of friends who could do something like that for me. I'll look into it this Spring. Smashing your car up on the rocks is better than ending up in the ditch. Vehicle damage and possible injury aside I've always been nervous about what would happen if a vehicle went off into the stream and leaked oil or gas. I'm guessing some of the local authorities might not be too happy with that.

    Glad I found this site.

  6. das fisch

    das fisch Junior Member
    from maine
    Messages: 25

    this mixed stuff has been a real pain lately. i don't have half the situation you do, but make sure to keep on it as often as possible.
    what town are you in, I'm from "northern mass" too (york to be exact).
  7. 207

    207 Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    I live in Freeport. The Winter started out so promissing with nice fluffy snow storms. Then this mix stuff showed up. I wish we'd go back to snow storms.
  8. nbenallo33

    nbenallo33 Senior Member
    Messages: 826

    i would keep up with it that way you dont have any problems with it JMO
  9. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,617

    Depends on the storm if its 2 or 3 inches of snow then rain I would let it freeze then plow (frozen snow has more traction than plowed smooth and frozen) If it becomes slush better plow it because you cant after slush freezes. if its 4 or 8 inches depends on how hard the snow gets. if it's a soaking rain better plow with the storm, if it's only a little rain let the rain freeze on top of the snow then drive over the snow to brake the top crust up, then plow.
    You got to think of what you want to drive on when your done. if you plow the snow away and you get freezing rain, you drive on a sheet of ice when the storms over.
  10. snowfighter75

    snowfighter75 Senior Member
    Messages: 124

    The Plowmeister is totally right! Good advice!
  11. 207

    207 Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Thanks everyone. This is great advise!!!
  12. rjfetz1

    rjfetz1 Senior Member
    from CT.
    Messages: 640

    You could always buy some bagged ice melt and spread it with a fertilizer spreader on the dangerous parts..Just my $.02
  13. SteveJ

    SteveJ Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    I was gonna say the same thing, or, do the horizontal barrel thing every 50 ft with sand and salt mixture. Or if his friend is a good friend, have him come over and salt the s_ _ _ out of it.xysport
  14. 207

    207 Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    We've gotten some regular snow so I'm back to a regular base that isn't glare ice. I did have my friend come and lay down a thick layer of salt and sand. Thanks for all the help.
  15. Megunticook

    Megunticook Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 190

    Hey Erik, I'm in a similar situation up in Camden, plow my own 900' gravel road plus occasional neighbors when they need it. Use an old 7/12 foot Fisher blade

    This is my 6th year plowing and I've come to the conclusion that it's generally best to clear the drive before it rains if there's any chance of things freezing up hard before you plow. Classic example is a storm earlier this winter where it snows a bunch, then the snow turns to rain/sleet toward the end of the day. Against my better judgement, I figured I'd wait until the next day to clear it off--well, overnight the wind swung around to the northwest, the mercury plummeted, and the next day I was faced with pushing a foot of frozen concrete off the road.

    Smart thing to do would've been to clear the snow the minute it turned to sleet. There's an old timer in town who advises always waiting until the rain is through before clearing roads, and in some situations that works, but if things freeze up you're screwed.

    So, bottom line: in my experience it's generally best to keep the drive as clear as possible, and especially to remove any wet snow/slush before it freezes up hard.

    Have fun! Been a lot of plowing this year, hasn't it? Looks like another storm coming our way tomorrow, with likely some sleet on the coast at the tail end of it.
  16. 207

    207 Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Hey Megunticook,

    You are right, we have had a lot of practice so far this Winter. It looks like this next storm will give me another chance to expirement. Starting tonight as snow and switching to rain tomorrow during the day. I guess I'll have to keep a close eye on it. Like you said, if it freezes before I can plow it's no good. I like living near the coast, but I wish we could just get snow.