Q: When there's a lot of snow, our county road department does a pretty good job of battering the mailboxes as they plow. What can I do to keep mine from being damaged?

A: Kevin O'Connor replies: When I looked into your problem, I discovered all sorts of ingenious solutions, which involve either sheltering the box or allowing it to move. A shelter can be as simple as a temporary, two-sided tepee of 3/4-inch plywood anchored with stakes, or as sturdy as a stone-and-mortar "guardhouse." Just check with the highway department before you build something that substantial.

A moving mailbox could hang from hooks on a horizontal wood crosspiece, like on of those real estate signs, and swing out of the way when the snow slams against it. Or you could attach it to a Mailswing, which has a horizontal metal arm that pivots on a vertical post when the plow pushes by, then springs back like a screen door after it's gone. That might be perfect for your location.

Whatever you decide to do, first pay a visit to your nearest post office. They can tell you what regulations govern the location of your mailbox. The last thing you want is a mailbox that's safe from the plow but can't be reached by our mail carrier.
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