For many families, going to the Christmas tree lot to pick the perfect pine, and tying it to the hood of the car with twine, is an honored family tradition. But, might it also be dangerous? According to AAA, millions of Americans are risking serious damage and injury by failing to properly secure their live Christmas trees.
Damage claims from Christmas trees include scratched paint, torn door seals, and distorted window frames that can cost up to $1,500 to repair. What’s the culprit? Twine wrapped around trees and through door jambs or open windows can cause damage to window frames and door seals. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recommends never tying a tree to the roof of a car without a roof rack to secure the tree.
Even more dangerous than scratched paint and warped window frames is the possibility of debris from an improperly secured tree. If the Christmas Tree flies off the car it becomes a hazard to other motorists. Road debris was responsible for more than 200,000 crashes, 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths over the past four years.
Love the smell of pine in your home? Don’t worry! If you are buying a live Christmas Tree this year, follow these safety tips to bring it home without incident.
Use the Right Vehicle
If you are using a passenger car or SUV, make sure it has a roof rack to use when securing your tree. Wrap the rope around the roof rack, not through doors or windows. The bed of a pickup truck is also a safe place to secure a tree.
Use Quality Tie Downs
AAA recommends using strong rope or nylon ratchet straps to secure your tree to the roof rack, or in the bed of your truck. The lightweight twine offered by Christmas tree lots may not properly secure your cargo.
Protect the Tree
Have the tree wrapped in netting before securing it to your vehicle. If netting isn’t an option, secure loose branches with rope or twine.
Protect your Vehicle
Lay down an old blanket or a moving blanket to protect your vehicle from scratches.
Point the Trunk to the Front
Whether on a roof rack or in the bed of a truck, always point the trunk of the tree toward the front of the vehicle.
Secure it Down
Secure the tree in at least three places, the bottom, middle and top. At the bottom, AAA recommends using fixed vehicle tie-down points. Loop the rope around the trunk and branches to prevent movement or slipping during transit.
Give it a Tug Test
Don’t hit the open road until you’ve tested the strength of your work. Give the tree several strong tugs to make sure it won’t slide off after you leave the lot.
Take it Slow
Drive slowly and avoid high-speed freeways, if possible. Stick to the backroads. High speeds create greater airflow which can damage your tree and stress even the most securely tied knots.
Don’t have a roof rack or pickup truck? Don’t worry, GoShare can help. Our Delivery Pros can be on the scene in under an hour. They will safely secure your tree in their truck bed and deliver it without incident! You get to focus on the important stuff, like decking the halls and drinking some eggnog.