Safety Advice on Transporting Real Christmas Trees

NASHVILLE, Tenn., (December 5, 2023) – AAA reminds consumers to properly secure and safely transport their real Christmas tree, as many Tennesseans are visiting tree lots and farms across the state in search of the perfect one.

AAA research has found that many consumers do not properly secure their tree when transporting it to its final destination. Nearly one in five real Christmas tree buyers reported previously having a tree fall off or out of their vehicle when trying to get it home.

“Our roadways can be dangerous enough during the holiday season with increased congestion and winter weather conditions – and that’s without the possibility of flying Christmas trees,” said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “If not properly secured, trees can become dangerous projectiles that create hazardous conditions for all drivers on the roadway.”

The Potential Automotive Cost of Real Christmas Tree Mishaps

An improperly secured real Christmas tree can cost drivers as much as $1,500 in automotive repairs, including:

Surface scratches – $100 to $150
Replacement of rubber seals on two doors – $220 to $550 (seal costs vary widely with the vehicle make and model)
Repaint a severely scratched roof – $500 to $1,500 (paint color, finish type, prep work, paint blending with adjacent panels and other factors affect this cost)

AAA offers the following tips to transport a real Christmas tree home safely:

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 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.
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. Avoid using the nylon 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.
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.