HOUSTON – As we round the corner to Christmas, many are still on the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree to continue their favorite holiday traditions. But beware of the incidents that can occur when traveling with a live tree strapped on top of your car.
A survey conducted by AAA Texas found that 60% of respondents said that have previously had a Christmas tree fall off or out of their vehicle when transporting it home
Drivers are reminded to secure your tree properly, it is unsafe and illegal for items to fall from a vehicle while on the road.
Twine, ropes or straps can wear away paint and tear rubber seals when routed through door or window openings. Closing a door over tree tie-downs may also permanently distort the window frame and tree branches can cause scratches to the paint.
AAA Texas has released recommendations on how to prevent damage to your vehicle and ensure safety on the road when traveling with a tree.
- Plan ahead - Bring the most appropriate vehicle to transport the tree. One with a roof rack is ideal, but a pickup truck, SUV, van or minivan can work just as well. Also bring along an old blanket and strong rope or ratchet straps, as well as gloves.
- Wrapping and covering – Have the lot wrap it in netting before loading it. Loose branches can also be secured with rope or twine to help protect the tree from damage. Also, prior to loading the tree, cover the roof with an old blanket to prevent scratches to the paint and protect the car from any damage.
- Trunk-first – Place the tree on the roof rack or in the bed of the truck with the tree trunk facing the front of the car. If the vehicle does not have a roof rack and is large enough, place the tree inside instead.
- Securing – Tie down the tree at its bottom, center and top using strong rope or nylon ratchet straps. Avoid using the nylon offered by many tree lots. Use fixed vehicle tie-down points and loop the rope or strap around the tree trunk above a branch to prevent any side-to-side or front-to-rear movement.
- Testing – Once tied down, give the tree several strong tugs from various angles to make sure it is secured in place and will not come loose.
- Nice and easy – Drive slowly and take back roads if possible. Higher speeds can create significant airflow that can damage your tree or challenge even the best tie-down methods.