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Snowblower Etiquette: How to Be a Good Neighbor in the Winter

A snowblower on a snowy street.

Proper snowblower etiquette is key during the winter months. It may seem like it should be easy to just fire up the snowblower and clear the driveway, but it’s important to do so in a way that doesn’t make the whole neighborhood wish you’d move two states over. Here’s what you need to know about snowblower etiquette this winter so your neighbors will still talk to you when spring finally arrives.

Don’t Use a Snowblower Before DawnRed Snowblower

When you wake up in the wee hours of the morning and see that the storm is over, you could immediately get up and clear the driveway to get it over with, but you won’t make any friends that way. While it’s perfectly okay to break out the snowblower and get your areas cleared in time for your daily commute, there’s no reason to be up at 2 a.m. to do the job.

Snowblowers are loud. They can make a tranquil, cozy winter morning or evening sound like a monster truck rally. Your neighbors need their sleep, and none of them want their kids woken up before sunrise or minutes after they’ve been put to bed. Do your best to avoid snow blowing late at night or early in the morning. Doing the work between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. is generally a good idea, unless you absolutely must get the car out of the driveway for an emergency or to get to work.

Lend a Helping Hand

Not everyone has a snowblower, and for those who don’t, breaking out the shovel is a chore. Even people who have a snowblower might not find it easy to use all the time, and senior citizens or anyone recovering from an illness or injury may find the task particularly difficult.

Winter neighborhood harmony depends on those with snowblowers helping those without to dig out after a big storm, but just check with them first to be sure you’re actually helping and not creating another problem. Most will happily take the assistance to clear the snow, but people can be quite particular about how their driveways and walkways are cleared. You don’t want to help out only to realize that you’ve created a pile of snow in a spot they’d like to keep clear.

Be Careful Where You Put the Snow

Your priority is getting the snow off driveways and sidewalks, but you can’t just blow it in every direction. Never blow snow into the street, even if it looks like the local plows are still out. Also, be sure that you’re not blowing the snow into someone else’s driveway or walkway.

Aim the snow toward open spaces on your own property. Avoid aiming at bushes that can easily be crushed by the weight of too much snow, and be especially careful of buildings. As you get closer to the house, periodically check to see that you’re not hitting the siding or windows, which could be damaged by the snow. If you’re in a tightly packed neighborhood, make sure you’re not hitting a neighbor’s house either.

A snowblower can make clearing the driveway easy, but make sure you check any local laws around their use and follow some basic snowblower etiquette so you can remain a good neighbor this winter.

Check out all the winter weather products available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information about using a snowblower, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Nicole Wakelin View All

Nicole Wakelin covers the automotive industry as a freelance journalist for a variety of outlets. Her work includes news pieces, podcasts, radio, written reviews, and video reviews. She can be found in The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, US News and World Report, and AAA along with lifestyle blogs like Be Car Chic, The Other PTA, and She Buys Cars. She is active on social media with a large following on both Twitter and Instagram and currently serves as Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association.

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