TAMPA (970 WFLA) -- Maybe the colder weather will inspire you to buy your Christmas tree this weekend... if you do, Triple A says you'd better tied it down properly.
They did a survey and found nearly 20 million Americans DIDN'T... over the past three years.
Loose trees can damage your car, throw junk in the road, and become a hazard to other drivers. You could get a ticket as a result. AAA says, use a car with a roof rack, a pickup truck, or something that's big enough to carry the whole tree inside.
A few more tips, direct from AAA:
- Use quality tie downs. Bring strong rope or nylon ratchet straps to secure the tree to your vehicle’s roof rack. Avoid the lightweight twine offered by many tree lots.
- Protect the tree. Have the tree wrapped in netting before loading it. If netting is unavailable, secure loose branches with rope or twine.
- Protect your vehicle. Use an old blanket to prevent paint scratches and protect the vehicle finish.
- Point the trunk towards the front. Always place the tree on a roof rack or in a pickup bed with the bottom of the trunk facing the front of the vehicle.
- Tie it down. Secure the tree at its bottom, center and top. At the bottom, use fixed vehicle tie-down points and loop around the trunk above a lower branch, to prevent any side-to-side or front-to-rear movement. The center and top tie downs should be installed in a similar manner.
- Give it the tug test. Before you leave the lot, give the tree several strong tugs from various directions to make sure it is secured in place and will not blow away.
- Drive slowly and easily. Take the back roads, if possible. Higher speeds create significant airflow that can damage your Christmas tree and challenge even the best tie-down methods.