BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — For those planning to pick up a Christmas tree from a local lot this holiday season, AAA wants to remind you to use safe methods to secure and transport your tree home.
A new AAA survey showed that this year, an estimated 84 million Americans plan to purchase a real Christmas tree. Of those 84 million, AAA said 44% will transport the tree using unsafe methods. This includes 20% who will tie the tree to the roof of their vehicle without using a roof rack and 24% who plan to place the tree in the bed of their pickup truck unsecured.
Among Among those planning to purchase a live Christmas tree this year, 16% have previously experienced a Christmas tree falling off or out of their vehicle during transport.
To help avoid any accidents this holiday season, AAA is releasing these helpful tips:
- Before heading out to buy a real Christmas tree, 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 pickup truck, a vehicle with a roof rack or one that is large enough to accommodate the tree inside.
- 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.