Christmas trees are showing up on car roofs across the state, and AAA has some advice to help drivers get their trees home safely this holiday season.

AAA says 20 million people in the U.S. didn’t tie down their Christmas trees correctly when they drove home last year. Improperly secured trees can fall off vehicles, causing accidents and vehicle damage such as scratches and broken mirrors. Drivers who lose their trees might also face fines for dropping something in the road.

AAA recommends using a car or SUV with a roof rack to pick up Christmas trees. Wrap the tree in netting, and use heavy duty straps or cords to tie the top, middle and trunk of the tree to the roof rack. Once the tree is secured, pull on it to make sure it won’t move once the vehicle is in motion.

Montana Ace nursery manager Joe Walker has years of experience tying Christmas trees onto vehicles. He says it’s a good idea to double-check with someone to make sure the tree is tied correctly.  

“If you’re not comfortable with tying it down yourself, usually the tree lot will tie it down properly for you,” Walker said. “If you don’t have anything to tie it to, you really need free delivery or some other way to get it home.”

Walker says there isn’t a good way to secure trees on cars or SUVs without roof racks. He says drivers of those vehicles who want to cut down their own trees should bring a friend with a van or a truck to get the trees home safely.

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