"SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE - Shake your mailbox, shake your mailbox!"
The best time to check your mailbox is when the weather is cooperative, and especially before snow begins to fall. The weather is conducive to shaking it out to see what repairs are needed. Doing it sooner, rather than later, will save many headaches compared to doing in the winter.
As the sports saying goes, the best offense is a good defense. To defend your decorative or oversize mailbox against the forces of snow removal operations, replacing it 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 the best time to "shake"/check your mailbox installation to be sure it can withstand the upcoming winter season by answering the following questions.
*Is the wood board your mailbox is setting upon in good condition? Wood rots 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. Callers frequently state that their mailbox has been there for years and they have never had a problem. If this is your situation, it is probably time to give it a good inspection.
*Are the nails to the board loose? If so, it can become a projectile.
* How about the wood post in the ground? Again, an old wood post may be rotten or that one small knot in will become the place where the post "splits," just like a piece of firewood.
* A simple check: If you can physically shake/juggle your mailbox installation and it "gives," even just 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 has surely compromised even the best installation.
*We do not recommend plastic mailboxes. Plastic becomes brittle and shatters very easily in cold weather conditions. At one time, Rubbermaid guaranteed their plastic green mailboxes, but not anymore.
Standard mailboxes are allowed without a permit in the road right-of-way as a public service. Mailbox installation requirements are as follows:
The face of the mailbox shall be placed a minimum of 6' off the edge of the blacktop OR 1' behind the road shoulder, whichever is farthest from the centerline of the road.
Single mailboxes should be installed on 4" x 4" or 4.5" diameter wood posts or steel posts less than 3 lbs per foot.
These supports should be embedded with no more than 24" in the ground.
Multiple mailbox installations should be placed on individual supports spaced at least 3' apart. Planks or structures for multiple installations are NOT allowed.
Mailboxes shall have colored or reflective numbers that are not less than one inch in size. Groups of mailboxes must be in sequential order, if the box is not on the same side of the street as the residence.
For USPS standards, click on this link:
The Road Commission does provide assistance for mailboxes and posts that have been damaged by IMPACT from our equipment, but not from ice and snow-related issues. Residents mailboxes are in the road right-of-way without a permit from the Road Commission and are high risk to damage from snow and ice coming off our plows and blades. Contact our office at 231-271-3993 if you have incurred damage from our equipment for details.
See the picture above and on our home page - that's a lot of snow (or ice) coming off. Be prepared - "A stitch in time can save nine." and keep your mail coming.
A common call during winter months is "your driver ... my trash..." or "... my trash container..." To save yourself time and grief this winter, when you put out your weekly trash, be sure to keep out of the road right-of-way and well within your driveway. During snow removal operations, as time and weather permit, the shoulders will be cleared to make room for future snow storage. Items located within the shoulder area will most likely become projectiles when lifted by the plow. Citizens, and trash haulers alike, should NOT place containers within the road right-of-way. Take a CLOSE look at the third picture from the left on your screen. At 35 MPH, depending on the weight and quantity of snow, a truck performing winter maintenance can produce plumes of snow as high as 10' and 25' wide. Items, such as trash containers or mailboxes, can be severely damaged. Under Public Act 200, any items within the road right-of-way are placed at the property owner's risk and expense. Our drivers cannot take the time to move bins or make avoidance manuevers when removing snow. When our employees are conducting snow removal activities, they are providing emergency-like services which allow employees to report to work, mail to be delivered and buses to transport students to school, etc.