How to get Christmas tree home safely

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Posted at 10:00 AM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 10:00:45-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - It's that time of year! People across the country are going to tree lots to find the perfect Christmas tree.

Finding the perfect tree is already a stressful situation, but the real challenge is figuring out how to take home the tree safely.

Just like moving furniture, appliances or other large objects, transporting a tree is no different. If not properly secured, a tree can cause vehicle damage such as scratched paint, torn door seals or distorted window frames. It could even fly off or out of the vehicle.

“It is important for you to be prepared before you go to cut down your Christmas tree,” said Holly Dalby, AAA Tidewater director of public affairs. “Taking time to make sure that your tree is properly secured to your vehicle can ensure that you do not damage your own vehicle or someone else’s.”

Luckily, AAA Tidewater has provided some easy and simple tips to transport trees this holiday season:

  • Plan Ahead – before heading out to buy a real Christmas tree, make sure to bring strong rope or 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.
  • Wrap & Cover It – 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. Also, 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.
  • Trunk First – 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 large enough – place the tree inside.
  • Secure It – tie down the tree at its bottom, center and top using strong rope or nylon ratchet straps. 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.
  • Tug Test – 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.
  • Nice & Easy – 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.