How to get your Christmas tree home safely

Holidays

FILE – In this Nov. 28, 2015, file photo, Tommy Lawson looks out into rows of Christmas trees as his family browses for their tree at the John T Nieman Nursery in Hamilton, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — AAA has offered some helpful tips for keeping your Christmas tree on top of your car.

“If it isn’t properly secured on a vehicle, the tree can become a dangerous projectile, endangering others on the road,” AAA says.

According to AAA research, road debris caused more than 200,000 crashes over a four-year period. Those crashes resulted in roughly 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths.

Improperly secured Christmas trees could also result in up to $1,500 in repairs for drivers.

Here are some tips for getting it home safely, courtesy of AAA:

  • Do not visit a tree lot if you or anyone from your family has tested positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing COVID-related symptoms.
  • Call the lot ahead of time and ask about their policies for visiting. It is possible they may have reduced operating hours or are limiting the amount of people who can visit the lot at one time. It is also a good idea to ask when they are slow and plan to visit then, when crowds may be smaller.
  • Although most lots are located outside, it is recommended to wear a face covering and practice social distancing. Bring hand sanitizer and keep it nearby while shopping.
  • Make sure to bring strong rope or nylon ratchet straps, an old blanket, gloves and of course – the right vehicle. One with a roof rack is ideal but a pickup truck, SUV, van or minivan can work just as well.
  • Once you’ve found the perfect tree, 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.
  • 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.
  • Place the tree on the roof rack or in the bed of the truck with the trunk facing the front of the car. If the vehicle does not have a roof rack and is a SUV, CUV, van or minivan – place the tree inside. If not, rent or borrow a proper vehicle.
  • Secure the tree at its bottom, center and top using strong rope or nylon ratchet straps. Avoid using the twine 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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