So you’ve bought a Christmas tree, and now you have to figure out how to get it home. For those that live in the suburbs, it’s typical to tie it to the roof of the car and drive home. But many holiday revelers don’t realize they may be putting themselves and others at risk when they bring their tree home. In fact, 44% of Americans who plan to buy a Christmas tree use unsafe methods to get it back to their house, according to the American Automobile Association.
AAA’s Shani Jarvis gave us some tips on how to avoid dangerous mishaps that could leave your tree ruined, or worse, cause a car accident.
First off, cover the car roof with an old blanket.
“The blanket is going to help protect your vehicle from scratches, from the branches,” Jarvis said.
Make sure to load the tree with the trunk facing forward.
“If you’re driving and there’s a gust of wind, the front of the tree is a lot lighter than the back of the tree, so a gust of wind is just going to take that tree,” Jarvis said.
Also, use a roof rack if you have one, tying the tree down to a fixed point on your vehicle, Jarvis said, noting to avoid going through your vehicle’s window to secure the tree, and to try to use something stronger than twine to secure the tree.
“Tie the tree down in three places,” she said. “You want to do it at the bottom of the tree, the top of the tree and the center of the tree.”
AAA also says once you've got the tree loaded up and you're on the way home, you should drive slowly and take back roads.
Also important to keep in mind is the reported nationwide Christmas tree shortage this year—due in part to the wildfires that ravaged the west coast and took their toll on Christmas tree growers—which is even more reason to be careful with the precious cargo you’re bringing home this year.