Top Snowblower Safety Tips from the Experts

February 10, 2023 | SECURA

Snow is an inevitable part of winter for most, and with that comes the task of clearing your driveway so the rest of the family can get to work on time after a snowstorm. Hopefully by now you aren’t stuck clearing the way shovel-full, after shovel-full, and you’ve invested in a trusted brand of snowblowers.

As fun as it is to throw snow from one side of the driveway to the other, this can lead to potential dangers for those living in a winter wonderland, but as with most activities, there are ways to prevent injury from happening.

We felt it was best to ask the experts about snowblower safety and how prevent accidents from happening, so we went to Ariens, one of the leading snowblower manufacturers in the country. They shared the top five snow blower related injuries that can easily be prevented.

  1. Hand Injuries

Some of the most common injuries among snowblower users involve a hand, fingers, or a wrist injury. In fact, according the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were over 4,200 snowblower related injuries treated in the ER in 2021, with 40% of these being related to the hand, fingers, or wrist. One way operators are injuring their hands is by unclogging the impeller so they can continue to clear a path.

That’s why it’s important when shopping for a new snowblower to look for models that have larger auger and impeller sizes, along with available high output impellers, to prevent frequent clogging.

If you would need to take a second to clean the impeller from thick or packed snow, do not use your hands. We repeat, do not use your hands, but take advantage of the Ariens clear-out tool that comes with each snowblower so snow blowing your driveway doesn’t turn into a scene from a horror movie.

  1. Headlights

Impaired vision can be a big safety hazard when it comes to operating a snowblower, because there are times that you need to clear the driveway in the dark before or after work. This can create a dangerous situation if you don’t have the proper equipment.

Without headlights on your snowblower, the visual challenges are endless, you can’t see what’s in front of you or to the sides and you may run over an object left in the driveway, causing harm to your machine and possibly to others in the surrounding area. If you have a snowblower without a light, there are aftermarket kits available that may fit your model, while most newer models have headlights included to prevent this winter activity from turning into a trip to the ER.

  1. Traction and Stability

The last thing you want to do when clearing the remains of a blizzard is to lose traction while operating. This can happen easily if there’s already a layer of packed snow and ice under the fresh flakes, which can lead to injury such as falling, a sprained joint, loss of machine control and running over unwanted objects. All in all, it turns into a bad situation for all.

To prevent this, you need to make sure your snowblower has the correct tires or tracks installed. These machines are built with snow-specific tires designed for use on a snowblower to keep control in your hands. For really adverse conditions, some snowblower models come with an even more durable track feature, such as Ariens RapidTrak™ for increased stability and control.

  1. Machine Control

A measure that our friends at Ariens suggest is to familiarize yourself with the snowblower before operating. One mistake owners often make if they aren’t too familiar with their snowblower is over or under-powering the machine, leading to loss of control and hazards like a unit moving into traffic harming the machine, the driver, and most importantly, yourself.

A situation the team at Ariens has seen is an operator confusing speed for power by placing the snowblower in the highest gear and plowing through snow that the machine isn’t equipped to handle. This typically leads to the machine ending in high gear and potentially moving at a high rate of speed, causing a hazardous environment.

Engineers with Ariens have customer safety in mind when designing their machines, creating a unit that can run at a slow speed, with plenty of power to get the job done. This saves the operator and others in the surrounding area from possible injury if the unit goes too fast and out of control.

  1. Clothing Hazard

The last major safety issue is apparel. If you’re like most, the last thing you’re thinking about when clearing the driveway is what you look like and more importantly, what you’re wearing. Trust us, we’ve seen some interesting snow blowing outfits before, but who are we to judge.

In all seriousness, this is can be a huge danger when out in the cold. It’s strongly advised to avoid wearning any loose-fitting clothing while clearing the driveway. This is an easy thing to skip over with serious consequences that can be easily prevented by wearing tighter-fit clothing.

With these safety tips you’ll be set for the harsh winter months. Plus, you’ll save a ton of money on an ER visit, just another perk of staying safe in the cold.

To find the snowblower that best fits your needs, you can find your local Ariens dealer here or shop online.