Why Do Snow Plows Block Driveways with Snow After You Shovel?

It's a gripe shared around the country. Any remedies? Please share.


Every municipal official in the nation gets the same complaints after every major snow storm. Municipal snow trucks pile big piles of snow right back in front of the driveway just after the driveway was cleared.  It's frustrating. It's aggravating. But, unfortunately, I haven't found a community anywhere in the United States that has been able to avoid this problem.  If you are aware of any community anywhere that is able to avoid having trucks piling of snow right in front of driveways please advise. My cell is 914-438-1343 and my e mail is pfeiner@greenburghny.com.

After the snow stops, you might want to wait to finish your clearing of the snow until the town finishes our work.  This way you'll avoid double work!  A story CBS Philadelphia did provides some other tips.  I am also sharing some commentaries from other localities around the nation- that have the same experiences we do in Greenburgh.

PAUL FEINER, Greenburgh Town Supervisor


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – So, when that next snowfall hits the region in the coming weeks, how can you prevent that municipal snow plow from ruining the work you just did clearing out your driveway access to the street?

There’s probably nothing more frustrating than shoveling out the driveway and clearing a nice apron area to the street to pull out… And then, along comes the snow plow and pushes a big pile of snow right back in front of the driveway.

“A lot of people don’t realize it that the snow plows we use are just the big
dump trucks,” says Don Cannon, Lower Merion Township’s director of public works. “They’re not like the plows in the parking lot where they can articulate the plow back and forth and move the snow one way or the other. What we say is that snow is loaded on the front of that plow and it just continually comes off — driver’s side to passenger’s side — or left to right towards the gutter line.”

But Cannon says there is a way to avoid having the municipal plow block your driveway.

“If you shovel out a space — looking at your house to the right side of your driveway — that would allow for the amount of snow that’s on that plow to be, say, discharged in that area before it goes past your driveway that’s that much less snow that goes in front of your driveway when the plow comes down.”

Cannon insists many plow drivers are sensitive to the work suburban residents do to dig out.

Why do they plow snow in front of my driveway?  Bay Village, Ohio

Snow plow operators do not place snow in driveways on purpose. There is no practical way for the snow plow operator to cut off the windrow of snow when crossing a driveway. This problem is especially acute in cul-de-sacs because of the space. One thing you can do to reduce the amount of snow that is plowed in front of your driveway is to place as much of the snow as possible to the right side of your drive as you face the street.

TopQ: Why did the City block my driveway or bury my sidewalk when they plowed my street?

City of Lafayette - Frequently Asked Questions
Problems may arise for residents when snow piles up on sidewalks and driveways are blocked because of snowplow activities. We try very hard to plow so as not to block driveways, but this is not always possible. The most efficient method to plow snow is to push it to the side of the road. Plowing to the center of the road would leave your driveway open, but it would not provide enough room for fire trucks and other emergency vehicles to operate.

Wicomico County Department of Public Works, Roads Division  

1. Why do the plows block my driveway with snow?  

The primary goal of plowing is to remove snow from streets so that the road is open to vehicular traffic. Plowing pushes snow to the side from the middle of the street naturally, and, unfortunately, this results in snow piling up in front of driveways. Snowplows typically push snow to the right of the travel lane and the driver has no control over this. Also, the driver cannot stop or raise the plow at each driveway as this would leave a pile of snow in the roadway. Residents are advised to wait until the plow has been through their road prior to cleaning their driveway and mailbox area. If drifting or more snow occurs the plows may have to make multiple passes on a road at a later time to keep the road clear. If possible, plow drivers will try to prevent excessive blockages at driveways but at times this is not possible. Please remember that the clearing of driveway and mailbox areas is the responsibility of the resident.

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john slivin February 11, 2013 at 07:14 PM
This has got to be the most ridiculous blog I have ever scene.....there is no solution for this they plow until the snow is removed from street as they do this it will always disperse in from of driveway or any other spot that is directly in path of plow....it is what it is.....if it really bothers you that much buy a snow blower or pay someone to shovel it for you....then you don't have to cry....unreal this is why this country is headed downhill everyone is soft
Chris Clement February 11, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Correction: I apparently mis-read Tracy KC's post about blocking driveway with car. I did not realize she suggested putting car into street and block driveway. Even blocking your own driveway is illegal and you can get a summons for this. I thought it was suggested to put the front or rear of he car at the very END of a driveway, where it meets the road.
Scott Peterson September 03, 2013 at 03:12 PM
I have two thoughts on this. Firstly, I live on a corner of one of the only two roads in Rye with overnight parking allowed during the winter months. The resulting crush of snow piled up on one the end of my half circle driveway is the depth of an SUV plus a foot or so for safety. Snow by itself can be hard to move but compounded with the salt and compression, the mounds can weigh considerably more than the virgin snow accumulated on the side walk or drive way. I have no issue shoveling the sidewalk, in fact I generally do the sidewalk for the two houses next to mine. I am retired and in general an early riser so I tend to get out with my shovel before the birds wake up. I don't mind doing my neighbor's sidewalk because I couldn't imagine just stopping at the property line as being very neighborly. I bought an electric power shovel after the year of weekly snow because I broke a rib shoveling it by hand. A monster snow blower isn't worth the investment in my opinion but for 100.00, the power shovel paid for itself the first time I used it. Secondly, As to what can be done about the snow removal process in general. The answer is simple though the initial investment is costly. However, the long term savings would offset the initial costs within a reasonable period of time, I suspect. Geothermal heating could be used under the road surface or solar heated water in a radiant floor heating manner. As long as the road surface stays above freezing, the snow will melt away. Regulating the temperature of the system could be done with sensors to maintain a temperature high enough to efficiently melt the snow before it can accumulate regardless of the total amount of snow fall in a given period. The long term return on the investment comes from savings on road repairs, less operating costs and less liability exposure among others. There is the associative benefit of showing the rest of the snow belt how to solve the problem while improving the lives of the people in general and lowering long term costs in an ecologically sensible manner.
TTH September 04, 2013 at 11:05 AM
Hey Scott ,where have you been for the last seven months? jeez!
Alicia Browder September 05, 2013 at 03:31 AM
I understand that this is really a usually problem to all of us most specially during winter season. I also believe that the driver has no control over it because if he has to clean those snows at our driveway he won't finish his job for sure. So, then I conclude that It is our responsibility to clean it for ourselves. -http://www.howardsnursery.com/


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