This past week marked the first significant snowfall for the state this winter season. And like many folks out there, snow removal is one of my least favorite parts of this time of year. And my driveway isn't even that big! There's just something about wet, heavy snow that makes my bones and muscles ache.

Now I know I'm not alone when I get frustrated about having to shovel my driveway multiple times because the plow keeps coming by. (Although I am very happy they are out there, clearing the roads!) So I'm always open to finding less strenuous ways of clearing the yard.That's why a recent post the Maine Department of Transportation put out on their MDOT Facebook Page caught my attention! It was a simple picture with a caption that read: "How to Prevent the 'Second Shovel'!"

I'll admit, it took me a minute to figure out what they were getting at. But as I looked at the picture, and then read down through the comments, I was sold! It does make sense; the snow has to go somewhere. If you shovel your driveway and then clear a space to the left of your driveway, when the plow circles back around, it will fill it! Like magic! (How am I almost 40 and just now learning this technique?!)

Maine DOT Director of Creative Services, Meg Lane, says they try to give folks helpful tips throughout the year for things like snow removal and how to stay safe on the roads. Lane says that along with clearing that specific spot, there are some other useful tips people should be aware of during storms:

1.) If you can, stay off the roads during significant storms. It allows the plows to move more snow with greater ease, as they don't have as many obstacles to work around.

2.) If you do have to be on the roads, give the plows plenty of room!

3.) Keep in mind that there are some blind spots when drivers are operating those big plows, and do your best to stay out of those!

4.) Don't use cruise control when it's snowing. Sounds like a no-brainer, but if you're using cruise control, your giving the control of your car over to...your car!

5.) Slow down...like WAY down during a storm...even if you have snow tires!

Lane says the month of December tends to be one of the worst when it comes to crashes and fatalities on the road because people have forgotten how to drive in the snowy conditions.

She says the MDOT has a bunch of tips from plow drivers, and even has a Maine DOT youtube channel of their own, where they feature videos about road safety, plow safety and other transportation issues.

Lane mentioned that the MDOT helps keep plow truck drivers skill's sharp by hosting plow truck rodeos (see video below) to allow the drivers time to practice, even when it's not snowing!

So keep an eye out on the Maine DOT facebook page for other helpful tips. I went right home, after I read about that "Second Shovel" trick, and cleared my yard. I'm ready for the next storm. Thanks, MDOT! Bring it on, Mother Nature!