To reduce the chances of a mailbox being damaged by a snowplow this winter, PennDOT encourages homeowners along rural mail routes to ensure that their mailboxes are properly prepared.
Mailbox damage occurs primarily due to the weight of snow being removed from the roadway. Since most mailboxes are placed within PennDOT’s legal right-of-way, homeowners are responsible for confirming that their mailbox can withstand the weight of snow being thrown from a plow. Generally, this means firmly installing the mailbox as far beyond the roadway shoulder as the postal carrier can reach.
PennDOT offers these tips to help prevent mailbox damage this winter:
• Place a 6-inch to 8-inch piece of reflective tape on the mailbox to help snowplow operators see it at night.
• Remove snow from around the mailbox but avoid throwing it back onto the road.
• If the mailbox is located within the legal right-of-way and damage was experienced in the past, homeowners may want to consider relocating the mailbox.
• Make sure the mailbox post is firmly supported in the ground.
Homeowners who have followed these tips in the past and have still experienced damaged mailboxes may want to consider installing a cantilever mailbox support that will “swing” a mailbox out of harm’s way. Plans for building the cantilever mailbox support (see attached) can be obtained by visiting PennDOT’s winter Web page at www.penndot.gov/winter under the winter preparation tab.