— As we relish the brilliant hues of fall, the Genesee County Road Commission, in cooperation with the County Road Association of Michigan and the U.S. Postal Service, is asking residents to shake their mailbox in preparation for the next seasonal color, white.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm has proclaimed Oct. 23 the 2nd Annual Shake Your Mailbox Day in Michigan.
“What started in 2008 as an innovative idea in one northern county is now a statewide endeavor,” John Niemela, Director of the County Road Association of Michigan, said. “Many homeowners have embraced the practice of changing batteries in smoke detectors when clocks are changed for daylight savings time. Similarly, our goal is to encourage homeowners to make time each fall to prepare their mailbox for winter.”
Rural mailboxes are often damaged during winter maintenance operations. In most cases, damage to mailboxes is caused by snow pushing against weakened posts or hardware, and not the result of being struck by a passing snow plow.
“Damage to mailbox posts and receptacles can often be prevented by proper routine maintenance,” Niemela said. “Many of the mailboxes damaged by thrown snow had become lose after years of use.”
If the mailbox moves when shaken, this is likely an indication the mailbox and/or post may not be able to withstand standard snow removal operations and should be repaired or replaced prior to the onset of winter.
CRAM and the U.S. Postal Service are reminding Michigan residents that this is also a good time to replace loose hinges on the mailbox door, replace or add reflective house numbers to allow postal workers and emergency responders to easily find your home, and verify your mailbox meets safety standards.
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 “A Guide to Erecting Mailboxes on Highways.” If residents have questions on what is allowed, please contact the Road Commission or visit the mailbox page of our website at www.gcrc.org/policies_mailboxes.
Also, although the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Road Commission have policies in place regarding replacement of mailboxes that have clearly been hit by a snowplow, road agencies have never assumed responsibility for mailbox damage caused by standard snow removal operations.
The County Road Association of Michigan represents Michigan’s 83 county road agencies that collectively maintain more than 75 percent of Michigan roads, the third largest county road system in the nation. — G.G.