The Indiana Department of Transportation is urging residents along state roads and U.S. highways to prepare their mailboxes prior to the start of winter weather.
Snow and ice removal is INDOT's top priority during winter months. While the agency's yellow plow trucks generally travel slower than the posted speed limit and drivers are careful to avoid mailboxes, the weight of snow thrown from plows can cause damage to mailboxes that are not properly secured or have weak supports.
Property owners are responsible for installing and maintaining mailboxes on state right of way. To mitigate possible damage, INDOT recommends placing a mailbox as far from the edge of the roadway as a mail carrier can reach.
By placing a mailbox as far from the edge of the roadway as a mail carrier can reach and mounting the mailbox on a sturdy support, it should withstand the force of snow thrown from a plow.
Clearing snow from the access area near a mailbox can ensure safer delivery of mail and reduce the amount of snow coming off a plow.
Below are tips to help reduce the risk of mailbox damage:
- Place a six-to-eight-inch piece of reflective tape on the mailbox to help it be seen at night.
- Remove snow from around your mailbox, but avoid throwing snow back onto the roadway.
- Inspect your mailbox. Make sure it is firmly supported in the ground and make sure it is securely mounted to the post. Check for deteriorated/rusted posts and/or mounts.
- Avoid plastic mailboxes if possible. Some tend to shatter in cold temperatures.
- If your mailbox is continually damaged or knocked down, consider changing the location, even if just by a few feet.