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AAA offers tips to get Christmas trees home safely

Posted 12/3/22

Thousands of local residents will be among the millions of Americans who will flock to tree lots across the country in search of the perfect Christmas tree.

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AAA offers tips to get Christmas trees home safely

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UTICA — Thousands of local residents will be among the millions of Americans who will flock to tree lots across the country in search of the perfect Christmas tree. While finding the perfect tree may seem like the hard part – getting it home safely is where the real challenge begins, according to AAA.

Just as with moving furniture, appliances, or other large objects, transporting a tree can be tricky—and if not properly secured, it can scratch paint, tear door seals or damage window frames. Even worse, your tree could fly off or out of your vehicle and become a danger to other drivers.

A survey from AAA found that 44% of Americans who planned to purchase a real holiday tree that year revealed they would use unsafe methods when transporting it home – such as not using the roof rack or placing it unsecured in the bed of a pickup truck.

Losing a Christmas tree on the drive home would no doubt put a damper on the holiday season — but more importantly a tree that comes loose from a vehicle could also cause a crash. Previous research from AAA found that road debris caused more than 200,000 crashes during a four-year period, resulting in approximately 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths.

The roads can be treacherous enough during the holiday season with increased congestion and winter weather conditions without the addition of flying Christmas trees. Luckily, with a little preparation, the right tools and the right vehicle – transporting a Christmas tree is easy with these tips from AAA:

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 an SUV, 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.

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