How to make sure your tree doesn’t fly off your car

A couple attaching a Christmas tree to their car.
Photo credit Getty Images

December is here, and that means that many households in the U.S. – including Jennifer Aniston’s – are going out to get their Christmas trees.

This week, AAA warned tree-buyers to make sure that their trees are safely secured to their vehicles as they bring them home. If improperly secured, these symbols of holiday fun could become dangerous.

“Previous research from AAA found that road debris caused more than 200,000 crashes during a four-year period, resulting in approximately 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths,” said a 2019 press release from the organization. Winter road conditions and holiday traffic can make driving with a tree even trickier.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, 25-30 million real Christmas trees are sold each year in the U.S.

“This year, millions of Americans will flock to tree lots across the country in search of the perfect Christmas tree,” AAA said this week. “While finding the perfect tree may seem like the hard part – getting it home safely is where the real challenge begins.”

In addition to being potentially deadly or causing injuries, improperly secured trees can scratch paint, ruin door seals and damage window frames.

“Losing a Christmas tree on the drive home would no doubt put a damper on the holiday season,” AAA added.

To make sure that people stay safe and can enjoy their trees this holiday season, AAA offered a list of tips for driving them around:

·       Bring strong rope or nylon ratchet straps, an old blanket, gloves and, ideally, a vehicle with a roof rack.

·       Try to drive a pickup truck, SUV, van or minivan to transport the tree.

·      Ask the tree seller to wrap it in netting before loading the tree on to your vehicle and cover the roof of the vehicle with an old blanket before loading it to protect the roof from damage.

·       AAA recommends placing the tree on the roof rack or in the bed of a pickup with the trunk facing the front of the vehicle. Those with SUV, van or minivan can also place the tree inside.

·       If the tree is going atop a vehicle, it should be secured at its bottom, center and top using the strong rope or nylon ratchet straps. AAA says to avoid using twine that is often offered at 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,” said AAA.

·       To make sure it is secure, AAA said to give the tree several strong tugs from various angles.

·       Once the tree is secure, motorists are advised to drive slowly and take back roads when possible.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images