January 5, 2013 - While all of the snow and ice on the roads might not stop us from going to work, it could very well stop us from getting our mail.
There are some hazards involved in getting those important parcels to your doorstep.
"I've been a carrier for about 29 years," says Postal Carrier John Skeldon. "Most the time it's been on walking routes."
A walking route that has him walking at least seven miles a day. But Skeldon is at risk of getting swept of his feet this winter.
"A lot of times you'll get ice on the sidewalk and then you'll get another skiff of snow," Skeldon says. "It looks like it's nice, clear walking, and the next thing you know, you're on your rear end."
Skeldon says he's fallen or slipped a few times, but that there's likely not one mail carrier who hasn't fallen or slipped at some point in their career.
"People don't pick up their hoses or their kid's toys, and they get covered by the snow," explains Skeldon. "If you're going across the yard, it's extremely easy to fall down."
If you own a curbside mailbox, remember that the path on the road in front of it should be clear about 30 feet before and after the mailbox.
If the ice on your sidewalk is too much for a snow shovel, there are always alternatives, like de-icer, rock salt and even kitty litter. These small steps could make a big difference in whether or not you get your mail.
Mail carriers are advised to use their discretion, and if there isn't a clear path to your mailbox, the mail carrier doesn't have to deliver your mail, whether driving or walking.
Additional problems with mail vehicles and "mounted routes," or routes with curbside mailboxes, could include a mail vehicle getting stuck due to drifting snow in front of your mailbox.
The Post Office says having to reverse a mail vehicle is just adding in an unnecessary hazard.
"Safety is a key issue here," says Customer Service Supervisor David Miranda, also a former mail carrier. "We don't want any carrier to get into an accident. Backing up is one of our safety hazards we just don't like."
"A lot of accidents can happen," Miranda continues, "and in conditions like this, you don't want anything that's going to make the carrier's job of driving their vehicle more difficult, and more prone to an accident."
Saturday morning temperatures were in the single digits. It was just five degrees when the mail carriers began to make their rounds.
While the chill won't get under their skin, a bruise on their rear end certainly will.