INDOT: Shore up mailboxes before next winter storm

INDIANAPOLIS — 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 our next winter blast.

Snow and ice removal is INDOT’s No. 1 priority in the winter months. INDOT’s yellow plow trucks often travel slower than the speed limit. INDOT 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.

• Inspect your mailbox. Make sure it is firmly supported in the ground and check for deteriorated wooden posts and rusted metal posts. Make sure your mailbox is securely mounted to the post.

• 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.

INDOT is not able to repair damaged mailboxes.

Homeowners who have followed these tips in the past and have still experienced mailbox damage should check local hardware stores for a snow shield or wooden protectors for your mailbox or install a swinging mailbox support that will swing the mailbox out of harm’s way.

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