Sh-Sh-Shake Your Mailbox

Mason County observes 6th Annual Shake Your Mailbox Day.

Today, the Mason County Road Commission asked residents 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.

“In most instances where mailboxes are damaged, the snow plow doesn’t  actually hit the mailbox, but the force of snow thrown from the roadway is enough to knock down a loose mailbox,” Wayne Schoonover, Manager/Director said.  “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,” Schoonover 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 the Michigan Department of Transportation (MOOT) and the Mason County 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.


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).”

“We will be out in coming weeks preparing for winter maintenance operations,” Schoonover said. “Each fall we find mailboxes that pose a serious roadside hazard to motorists and a liability risk for homeowners. Although milk cans filled with concrete, brick structures and other items are artistic, they present significant dangers to motorists.” Each year, 70 to I00 people are killed in accidents involving rural mailboxes. Many others are permanently injured when mailboxes and their supports penetrate a vehicles windshield.

Michigan’s state and local road agencies follow the standards published by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in “A Guide for Erecting Mailboxes on Highways.”

  • Only one support should be used per box or group of boxes;
  • Wood posts should be no more than 4 1/2 inches diameter if round, 4×4 inches if rectangular;
  • Metal pipes should be standard steel or aluminum with no more than a 2 inch inside diameter;
  • Supports should yield or collapse if struck. They should bend or fall away from a vehicle and not create a severe deceleration;
  • Supports cannot be fitted with an anchor plate (metal post), embedded over 24 inches into the ground, or set in concrete;
  • Mailboxes must be constructed of sheet metal, plastic or similar weight materials, with weight not to exceed 11 pounds;
  • The United States Postal Service asks that roadside mailboxes be 36 to 42 inches off the ground, and 8 to I2 inches behind the shoulder or the curb;
  • A mailbox and its support will be considered hazardous to motorists when the support exceeds the described structural limitations; and

Any mailbox and its support considered to be a hazard should be removed from the road right-of-way and replaced.

If you have questions on what is permitted, please contact the Mason County Road Commission.

Have a question? Want to send us a comment? Send us an email at or give us a call: (231) 757-2882.

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