SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — The AAA is encouraging extra caution for transporting Christmas trees for the holidays.
AAA found in a study that one in five Christmas tree buyers reported having a tree fall out of their vehicle, or off it when bringing it home.
“Nothing will make you say ‘bah humbug’ faster than losing the tree you just bought on the drive home,” said AAA spokesperson, Meredith Mitts, “If not properly secured, a tree can damage your vehicle or worse, fly off and become a danger to other drivers. Before you buy your tree, please make sure to research the proper way to transport it, or ask a professional to secure it for you.”
According to the aforementioned study, 44% of Americans admit to transporting their tree using unsafe methods. 20% will tie the tree to the roof of their vehicle without a rack, and 24% planned to place the tree unsecured in the bed of their pickup.
Improperly secured Christmas trees can land on the road or other cars, which caused more than 200,000 crashes from 2011 to 2014 according to the release from AAA. This resulted in 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths.
Tips provided by AAA to safely transport the Christmas tradition include:
- Bring strong rope or nylon ratchet straps, an old blanket, and gloves with you when purchasing the tree.
- Wrapping the tree can protect it from damage or causing damage to other vehicles from debris. Some lots can wrap the tree in netting before loading it.
- If you plan to transport the tree on the roof, lay an old blanket down before loading it to protect the vehicle from damage.
- If your vehicle doesn’t have a roof rack, place the tree with the trunk facing the front of the car in the trunk.
- Tie the tree down at its bottom, center, and top with a strong rope or nylon ratchet straps. According to AAA, avoid using the nylon offered by many trees lots.
- Do a tug test from various angles to ensure it will not come loose.
- Drive slowly and take back roads if possible. Significant airflow can cause damage to the tree and challenge proper tie-down methods.