Winter Mailbox Maintenance


Each year,  70 to 100 people are killed in accidents involving rural mailboxes. Many others are permanently injured because mailboxes and their supports penetrate the windshield.

Record snow falls in recent winters have led to an increase in the number of mailboxes damaged by heavy snow thrown from passing plows.   

 Many of these mailboxes have become loose or in need of repair over years of use. Damage to these posts and receptacles could have been prevented by proper routine maintenance.  Will your mailbox survive the upcoming winter season? By taking a few precautions, you can help yourself out.
 As the sports saying goes, the best offense is a good defense. To defend your specialty mailboxes against the forces of snow removal operations, replacing a decorative or oversized mailbox with an inexpensive standard mailbox is a good offensive action. Snow and ice coming off the plow at 35 MPH and in the mass quantities pack a much bigger punch than any snowball ever could!

Before the ground freezes is a good time to check your mailbox installation to be sure it can weather the upcoming winter season by answering the following questions.

1) Is the wood board your mailbox is setting upon in good condition? Wood does rot over time and a deteriorated board is a major cause of your mailbox landing in your front yard from the snow coming off the plow.

2) Are the nails to the board loose? If so, it can become a projectile.

3) How about the wood post in the ground? Again, an old wood post may be rotten or that one small knot in it may become the place where the post "splits."

A simple check: If you can physically juggle your mailbox installation and it "gives" a little, it will give out when the snow and ice removal season is here.

If your mailbox has been in place for any length of time, weather can compromise a good installation.

One of the major problems each year is damage to mailboxes. Most mailbox damage occurs when heavy, wet snow is thrown against a weakened post or box.

The road commission cannot assume responsibility for such damage. If the mailbox or post is damaged by snow thrown by the snow removal vehicles, it is the homeowner's responsibility to replace the box and post.

However, if damage occurred as a result of direct contact with road commission snow removal equipment, a supervisor will meet with the homeowner to assess the damage for possible replacement. If struck by our equipment, a new standard rural aluminum box and/or 4"x4" wood post will be supplied to the homeowner.  Please keep your mailbox and post in good condition and located behind the curb or beyond the shoulder, where it is less likely to be damaged.

Additionally, private installations within the public right-of-way, such as sod, shrubs, sprinkler systems, etc., may be damaged in the process of snow removal or seasonal maintenance work. Damage that may occur is not intentional and in many cases is unavoidable.

Because it is the statutory responsibility of the road commission to maintain the roadways and the road right-of-way, the agency is not held liable or responsible for any damage caused to private installations located within these areas.