I'm experiencing my first real winter. Our house has an asphalt driveway about 100' long. I've been shoveling it when the snow gets too deep, but cars going in and out have left 2–3" of densely-packed snow that is very difficult to get up. I got out my metal garden shovel and used that a bit, but it's slow going and is probably damaging the driveway. Is there a better way?
An ice chopper with some weight in the business end, such as this one can be very effective; you can use it to scrape the ice/compressed snow up, and if needed, can chop at the tougher stuff. The tradeoff for the extra weight is more physical exertion, but I find that I make much faster progress.
Given that you have already got the packed layer (clear any snow before driving on it is the way to avoid that) your choices are chip away at it, chemistry, or physics.
Chemistry is salt or calcium chloride. Salt is cheaper, calcium chloride works at lower temperatures. Even if you don't use enough to melt everything, if it can melt some holes through to the black sufrace, that will help with...
Physics depends on whether the sun shines. When it does, spreading anything that makes the driveway dark will help it to melt itself clear - wood ashes, the dirtier rocksalt (chemistry AND physics), sand, etc. - those will also help to get some traction on the icy layer until it does melt clear. Getting any part of the black surface exposed will also help. Under some conditions, once you get a strip cleared, you may be able to find times of day when you can peel up a fairly large sheet of ice once the sun has started to work on it.
Chipping away at it is a LOT of work for anything more than a tiny driveway.
Realistically it may not be possible to remove 2-3 inches of packed snow & ice at this point without using an obscene amount of ice-melt chemicals. I would say you should just use enough to break up any smooth ice that might be a safety hazard and then wait until temperatures warm enough for you to shovel the slush off.
If you are insistent on trying to remove the snow now, I like to use a heavy snow scoop like this: https://www.suncast.com/sf1850.html The metal edge and two-handed handle make it easier to break up and move packed snow. It might be hard to find something like that this late in the winter, though.
But really, next year you should just try to stay on top of it and shovel before cars drive over the snow.
I use one of these, edger. Works best for me.
Wait until the temperature drops as low as it will, then it will break up into chunks a lot easier right down to the asphalt or cement surface and shovel off with a lot less effort. From the land of the frozen chozen.