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Posted at 10:44 AM ET, 11/30/2011

How To Transport Your Christmas Tree Safely


With Thanksgiving behind us, the winter holiday rush can begin. For many, the holiday season starts with Christmas tree shopping. Bringing the tree home can sometimes be difficult for motorists who aren’t used to ferrying objects as awkwardly shaped as a freshly cut evergreen.

“Trees find their way on the road just often enough to notice [them] this time of year,” says Matt Rodewald, traffic and transportation reporter for WMAQ-TV in Chicago. Just yesterday, a Christmas tree blocked a lane on Chicago’s outbound Interstate 290, Rodewald reported on his Twitter account .

To make sure your Christmas tree makes it all the way home, we’ve come up with a few tips to help you safely transport your coniferous display of joy.

Make sure to select a tree that will either fit inside your cargo area or, if you have a roof rack, on top of your roof properly. Place a tarp or blanket over the cargo area to protect the interior from loose needles. If you’re going to place the tree on the roof, place a tarp, plastic sheet or blanket between the tree and the rack to protect the roof from scratches. Try to get your Christmas tree netted before leaving the lot to make it more manageable. Make sure you have enough rope or cord to wrap around the tree and secure around the roof rack or to cargo hooks. Before leaving the lot, give the tree a good tug to make sure its secure. Drive slowly.

We don’t recommend tying a tree on your car’s roof without a roof rack. Try to avoid the highway, Rodewald says. We agree, especially if you’re not used to hauling heavy objects on your roof, as roof-bound objects affect your vehicle’s center of gravity and consequently emergency handling. 

If you don’t have the proper car to take your tree home, find a friend or family member with a larger car or a pickup truck preferably. Some Christmas tree lots will deliver to your house. Or just buy an artificial tree and save yourself the trouble.

By  |  10:44 AM ET, 11/30/2011

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