TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Now that the holiday season is in full swing, millions of Americans are expected to set off on their search for the perfect Christmas tree. While finding one is a challenge of its own, safely getting it home is another.
According to AAA, transporting your Christmas tree is just like moving furniture, appliances or other large objects. If it’s not secured properly, it could scratch your car’s paint, tear door seals or distort window frames.
In the worst-case scenario, it could fall off or out of your car and become a danger to other drivers.
Florida’s roads can be some of the busiest in the country during the holiday season, according to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), so making sure your tree is secured should be a top priority.
AAA recommends you bring the following supplies before you pick up your tree:
- Strong rope or ratchet straps,
- an old blanket,
- gloves, and
- ideally a vehicle with a roof rack.
AAA says a pickup truck, SUV, van or minivan can work just as well.
Once you find your tree, ask the lot to wrap it in netting before you load it. Loose branches can be tied down with rope or twine to help protect the tree.
Next, cover the roof with an old blanket to avoid scratches to your car’s paint. Then place the tree on a roof rack or in the bed of the truck with the tree trunk facing the front of the car.
“If the vehicle does not have a roof rack and is large enough – place the tree inside,” AAA said.
Finally, tie down your tree at its bottom, center and top using strong rope or nylon ratchet straps and give it several strong tugs from different angles to make sure it’s secured.
On your way home, AAA says to drive slowly and take back roads if possible. Higher speeds can increase airflow and damage your tree. Any packages or other cargo inside your vehicle should not block the driver’s view from any angle, FLHSMV said.