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5 Safety Rules to Follow When Installing Mailboxes Along a Highway

Tuesday October 13, 2020

When installing curbside mailboxes along a highway, you must conscious of whether they pose a risk to residents and motorists. Highways are main roads that connect major U.S. cities. Therefore, they often have a higher legal speed limit than smaller secondary roads. Both the United States Postal Service (USPS) and the U.S. Federal Highway Transportation Authority (FHWA) allow curbside mailboxes to be installed along highways. When doing so, however, you should follow some basic safety rules.

#1) Install on Right-Hand Side

You should install curbside mailboxes on the right-hand side of the highway. The trucks that mail couriers use have their driving seat and steering wheel located on the right. As a result, they can deliver and collect mail from curbside mailboxes without existing their vehicles -- assuming the mailboxes are installed on the right-hand side. The only time when it's acceptable to install curbside mailboxes on the left-hand side of a highway is if it's a one-way highway.

#2) If Present, Install Behind Guardrails

According to the FHWA, curbside mailboxes should be installed behind guardrails if they are present along the highway. Many highways contain guardrails. They act as a barrier while protecting the structures, as well as people, behind them. If there are guardrails present, you should install the curbside mailboxes behind them.

#3) Maintain 41 to 45 Inches of Clearance

Another safety rule to follow when installing curbside mailboxes along a highway is to maintain 41 to 45 inches of clearance. In other words, each curbside mailbox should be approximately 41 to 45 inches from the highway. If a mailbox is too close to the highway, it may pose a risk to motorists, residents and mail couriers. If it's too far away from the highway, on the other hand, mail couriers may have trouble accessing it.

#4) Avoid Shoulders

The FHWA states that curbside mailboxes should not be installed in a manner that requires residents to walk along the shoulder of a highway. The only exception is when all other alternative installation sites prove more dangerous.

#5) Breakaway Posts

When choosing curbside mailboxes to install along a highway, pay attention to the posts. Contrary to common belief, hard and sturdy posts aren't ideal. They can actually pose a risk to passing motorists. If a motorist crashes into a hard mailbox post, he or she may be injured. Breakaway posts solve this problem by "breaking away" from the ground when struck.


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