Snow blades can turn your zero-turn radius mower into a snowplow. However, safety considerations could make a zero-turn mower an unwise choice for snow blades. Zero-turn mowers are among the most maneuverable mowers and feature complex steering mechanisms using the rear wheels. Hand and foot controls allow the mowers to make snappy 180-degree turns. Snow blades will work on a zero-turn mower, but you should plow snow in a straight line on level ground while avoiding sudden turns.
Consumer Reports tested zero-turn mowers and found them sometimes difficult to control on dry grass during the summer. Testers cutting grass going downhill were often unable to stop before crashing into test barriers. Multiple controls are necessary to control and stop zero-turn mowers, making them challenging for some people to operate. Consumer reports did not test the mowers on snow, but stopping and turning in icy conditions could be more challenging than operating the machines on dry grass.
All riding lawn mowers are vulnerable to possible rollovers. A person operating a zero-turn mower with snow blades could be at a greater risk because of less traction. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 15,000 injuries -- including 61 deaths -- resulted from lawnmower rollovers in 2007. There was not a specific breakdown of the number of injuries or deaths associated with zero-turn mowers. The "Richmond Register" newspaper reported in 2011 how a man died when his zero-turn mower flipped. He apparently lost control of the mower during summer mowing conditions when the mower lost traction down an embankment and turned over.
Dealers selling zero-turn mowers can install snow blades on the machine. One dealer advertising at the time of publication promoted the effectiveness of zero-turn mowers as a snow plow but did not address safety concerns. Snow blades on zero-turn mowers look the same as blades installed on regular mowers. The blades are designed to help push snow around or dump it in certain places.
Add protection for your zero-turn mower by having a roll bar installed. A roll bar and fastened seat belt could protect you from serious injury during a rollover. Also ask the dealer about adding snow tires to provide better traction. People who have hills to plow may be better off choosing a standard mower that is less challenging to control.
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