Homeowners encouraged to reinforce mailbox structures along state highways

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Indiana Department of Transportation is recommending that residents along state and U.S. highways make good use of the warmer temperatures to prepare their mailboxes for the next winter blast.

Snow and ice removal are INDOT’s number one priority in the winter months. INDOT’s yellow plow trucks often travel slower than the speed limit  and  while snowfighters are careful to avoid mailboxes, but despite their best efforts, the weight of snow thrown from plows can cause damage to mailboxes with weak supports.

Property owners are responsible for installing and maintaining mailboxes on state highway right of way. If a mailbox is placed as far from the edge of the road as the carrier can reach from a vehicle and the mailbox is placed on a sturdy support, it should be able to withstand the force of snow thrown from a plow.

Keeping access areas near the mailbox clear of snow can help ensure safer delivery of mail and reduce the amount of snow coming off the plow.

INDOT offers these tips to help reduce the risk of mailbox damage:

  • Place a 6- to 8-inch piece of reflective tape on the mailbox to help snowfighters see it at night.
  • Remove snow from around your mailbox, but avoid throwing the snow back onto the roadway. This Missouri DOT video shows how to minimize snow being thrown onto your mailbox and driveway: https://youtu.be/8Bm7mJxJOSU
  • Inspect your mailbox. Make sure it is firmly supported in the ground and check for deteriorated wooden posts and rusted metal posts. Also, make sure your mailbox is securely mounted to the post. Check the mounts for rust and wear as well.
  • If possible, avoid plastic mailboxes. Some plastic mailboxes have a tendency to shatter in cold weather.
  • If your mailbox continues to get knocked down, you may want to consider changing the location of the mailbox. Sometimes moving the mailbox a few feet in either direction can help.

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