Road Commission: Shake your mailbox before the snow flies

IONIA, Mich. -- Winter is already in the air across West Michigan, with the first flakes of snow coming Tuesday for most of us. Even though the snow may not be enough to plow, the Ionia County Road Commission says now is the time to get ready for snow plows, and the weight of snow they shove into your driveway and onto your mailbox.

The Ionia County Road Commission says they get several complaints each year from people who say a plow knocked over their mailbox.

They say in most cases, the mailbox simply falls because it's not structurally sound, and the weight of the snow from the plow damages it.

"It does happen, especially when we get the heavier, wetter snow we do get a handful of calls from people saying their mailbox was hit," said Paul Spitzley, Ionia County Highway Engineer. "Most of the time when we check those mailboxes out, it's usually rotted post or it's not installed correctly. Not always the case, but we do take those complaints."

To make sure your mailbox is sturdy, give it a shake. If it doesn't move, it's probably sturdy enough to withstand the plow snow this coming winter.

If it wobbles or shakes, it may need repair or replacement.

"A lot of things can happen over a year, and it's always good to annually check it -- even when you have a steel post it can rust out and be damaged," said Spitzley. "If it's good, no work is needed. But sometimes a little preventative maintenance-- tightening a few screws, replacing some of the elements of the mailbox itself is warranted."

Spitzley adds that this is a good time to make those mailbox repairs, if they're needed. Later this winter -- when the ground freezes -- putting in a new mailbox post could be a much more difficult task.

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