Safety Tips For Transporting The Christmas Tree
‘Tis the weekend to channel your inner Clark Griswold and bring the annual Christmas tree home. But before you strap that gorgeous pine on top of your vehicle, AAA has some simple safety tips to make transporting your tree a fun, safe adventure. According to the Square point-of purchase app, this weekend is forecast to be the busiest time for Christmas tree sales.
“While most commercial tree lots will have employees to assist you with safely securing your tree before you bring it home, as the vehicle owner you are responsible if the tree causes damage, so you should be familiar with the proper way to secure it,” said AAA Texas spokesperson Daniel Armbruster.
AAA research shows that road debris, such as fallen Christmas trees, has caused 200,000 crashes over a four-year period, causing 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths.
In Texas alone, there were 1,379 crashes in 2018 due to drivers not properly securing loads.
Prevent damage to your vehicle and ensure safety on the road, AAA Texas recommends:
Plan Ahead – bring along 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 – once you’ve found the perfect tree, have the lot wrap it in netting before loading it. Secure loose branches 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 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 secure, tug on the tree from different angles to make sure it is secure 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.
AAA provides more than 60 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,000 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. AAA Texas branch offices throughout the state can be found by visiting www.AAA.com. Follow AAA Texas on Twitter: @AAATexas and Facebook.