Before you figure out how to decorate your tree for Christmas or dispose of it in the new year, you have to deal with transporting it to your home. An improperly secured evergreen can damage your car, or worse—hurt the people driving around you. Before taking your annual trip to the Christmas tree farm, make a game plan for safely tying your tree to your vehicle.
According to the video below from Cars.com, the best way to travel with a bulky conifer is to accept whatever help the professionals offer you. Many farms will wrap your tree in netting before strapping it to the roof of your car. In addition to making it more compact for transport, this keeps the branches safe against strong winds. Just make sure to lay a tarp or blanket on top of your car first to catch loose pine needles and protect your paint job.
Smaller trees are safer to transport, especially if your vehicle is small to begin with. If the tree you choose is longer than your car, place a brightly colored flag at the end of it to dissuade other drivers from creeping up too close. Always have the tip of the tree facing the trunk—this stops it from sliding around during sudden stops, and it keeps the branches from bending backwards in the wind.
If you’re tying down the Christmas tree yourself, secure it tightly with ropes or bungee cords. You can loop the restraints through the roof rack several times, or if you don’t have a roof rack, roll down the windows and snake them through the cabin. The ropes should be tight enough to keep the tree from budging when you try to move it.
Even after following the directions above, you should still take care when driving with oversized cargo. Move at a slow, gentle pace and avoid highways and poorly maintained roads if possible. Your car’s center of gravity will be different than what you’re used to, so consider doing some practice loops around the parking lot to get comfortable with the heavy load.
One way to skip the hassle of getting your Christmas tree off the farm is to buy a plastic version you can assemble at home. Here are several options if you’re going the artificial tree route this holiday season.