Snow pushers, also called box style plows, containment plows, or box plows, are designed to clear snow by pushing it straight ahead. For laneways, runways, parking lots, and other large areas, this is a significant improvement on the traditional form of plowing, which uses an angled plow to move snow to the side. Snow pushers allow snow to be moved completely off site en masse, and be piled up somewhere out of the way.
Avalanche is one of the most popular brands of snow pushers on the market today. They have six different types of snow pushers: agricultural tractor pushers, compact tractor pushers, forklift pushers, skid steer pushers, backhoe pushers, and loader pushers. They also sell individual pushers that you can then attach to your vehicle. The GAPB(T) 200, for example, is 52 inches tall with two 72 inch side panels, and pushes 50% more snow than a regular box plow.
A tractor equipped with a pusher has several advantages over a vehicle equipped with a snow plow, if you know how to use it properly. Before you start, determine if your loader is sufficient enough to push the snow. If not, you may need to purchase a snow pusher attachment. If you think you can use your loader, check to see if it has a float function, which will allow the loader bucket to ride over the terrain without digging in. Set the front of the bucket slightly above level when pushing the snow to prevent the lip from tearing up the surface. Push the snow into an area where it will be out of the way of general traffic and not interfere with the rest of the plowing.
Safety Features & Guidelines
Before you begin clearing snow, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and to know the area where you will be working. If you are working in a parking lot, check to see where (if any) the parked cars are. Being aware of potential obstacles can save damage to your vehicle, other vehicles, and to the property you are working on. Always be sure to watch your speed. You will be working in the snow, which can make driving a bit more dangerous, especially if you are going too fast for the conditions. You may get the job done faster, but you could damage your vehicle or worse, injure yourself. You also want to make sure you are well rested before you start moving any snow. Check the weather ahead of time to see when they are forecasting snow, and if you see one night when you may need to be out there at 2 am, try to get some sleep ahead of time. Falling asleep at the wheel because you are tired could be a fatal mistake.
Pros & Cons
There are several advantages to using a snow pusher instead of a snow plow. Snow pushers can move large volumes of snow quickly and efficiently, and unlike snow plows do not create windrows, which means you do not need to repeat an area to remove spills.
Loaders also have lifting capabilities, which means operators can stack large piles of snow in one area or load it into a dump truck if necessary. They do not work well on areas such as highways, however, where snow plows are preferred because they direct the snow to the side of the road. Snow plows also are equipped to drop sand or salt to help make the road safer for drivers, which pushers usually do not do.