Sh-Sh-Shake Your Mailbox on October 18

The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) released a statement asking residents who have mailboxes at the road edge to prepare for winter by shaking their mailbox. Gov. Rick Snyder has officially proclaimed Saturday, Oct. 18, the 6th Annual “Shake Your Mailbox Day” in Michigan.

The initiative is intended to prevent mailboxes from being damaged by snow pushed off Snow-covered mailboxthe road by snowplows. “In most instances where mailboxes are damaged, the snowplow doesn’t actually hit the mailbox, but the force of snow thrown from the roadway is enough to knock down a loose mailbox,” explained RCOC Managing Director Dennis Kolar.  “Damage to posts and receptacles can often be prevented by proper routine maintenance.”

“Shake Your Mailbox Day” started in 2008 as the innovative idea of one county frustrated by residents’ complaints of damaged mailboxes. The County Road Association of Michigan and the United States Postal Service joined forces in 2009 for a statewide campaign. The campaign that generated a few chuckles at first has come to save homeowners both money and headaches.

Many homeowners have started the practice of changing batteries in smoke detectors and filters in furnaces when clocks are changed for daylight savings time. In the same manner, “Shake Your Mailbox Day” reminds homeowners to prepare their mailbox for winter.

“Taking time to tighten screws and secure mail receptacles now can prevent serious headaches later,” Kolar said. “If the mailbox moves when shaken, it probably won’t withstand standard snow-removal operations and should be repaired or replaced before winter.”

Although RCOC has a policy 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.

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).

“Each fall we find mailboxes that pose a serious roadside hazard to motorists and a liability risk for homeowners,” Kolar said. “Although milk cans filled with concrete, brick structures and other items can be considered attractive, they present significant dangers to motorists.”

If you have questions on what is permitted, please contact RCOC. The Road Commission can be reached by phone at 877-858-4804 or via the RCOC Web site, (click on “contact us” on the homepage).


About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at

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