ASK THE SHERIFF: What to do when the snow plow hits your mailbox
Question: My mailbox keeps getting hit by the plow when they are plowing snow on my road. Is there anything that can be done to prevent it?
Answer: Your sheriff’s office responds to many of these incidents each winter. As long as the state, county, city or township plow did this during the course of snow removal, the law doesn’t require them to fix or pay for the damaged mailbox. Some jurisdictions, however, have policies in place where they will pay to repair or replace the mailbox in certain situations.
Some people who have repeatedly had their mailboxes knocked over think it is intentionally being done. The investigations that we have been involved with simply do not substantiate those claims.
Snow plow drivers have a lot of responsibility on our roadways. They simply have one goal in mind, and that is to get the snow off the roads for your benefit. These drivers are putting the public first, and just want to get done as quickly and efficiently as possible so they can get home and plow their own driveways.
Rarely is it the plow itself that is hitting the mailbox. When we have larger snowfalls like we have had this winter, there is a larger amount of heavy snow being sent into the ditch. Typically, it’s snow colliding with the mailbox that is doing the damage and not the plow’s blade.
Some people’s posts have more “give” and swivel more freely than others. And if you have a mailbox with a door that doesn’t latch very well, you will probably find your box hanging upside down and your mail scattered in the ditch more often than the neighbor’s mailbox.
If your box was actually hit by the steel blade, you would know it. As long as your mailbox wasn’t too close to the road, if it did get struck by the blade itself, some entities have it in their policy to make it right with you.
If this is happening to you on a regular basis, be reasonable and first make a few adjustments to your mail box and post to see if this takes care of the problem.