While out in the yard raking and blowing leaves this fall, if you have a mailbox out in the right-of-way (out by the street) take a few minutes to check the condition of your mailbox and post. Over time, screws loosen/break and posts rot. If the mailbox moves when shook, the mailbox and/or post may not withstand standard winter snow removal operations and should be repaired or replaced before winter. The most common reason why a mailbox and post is damaged during the winter is not from physical contact with a plow, but the deteriorated condition of a mailbox and/or post combined with the impact of snow being thrown from plows off of the street.
It’s also important to make sure your mailbox is located to U.S. Postal Service standards. Mailboxes located too close to the street or posts not adequately secured are more susceptible to damage by winter maintenance operations. Mailboxes are one of the only objects allowed by law to be placed in the road right-of-way. The location and construction of mailboxes must conform to the rules and regulations of the U.S. Postal Service and standards established by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in the Roadside Design Guide. The best mailbox supports are stable but bend or fall away if a car hits them. Position your mailbox 41" to 45" from the road surface to the bottom of the mailbox or point of mail entry. Place your mailbox 6" to 8" back from the curb or edge of the pavement for those areas that do not have raised curb.
Addressing mailbox condition and location in the fall will help avoid potential mail delivery delays and repairs during the winter season.