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'Tis The Season

OnTheRoadCT.com Auto Blog

Running On Empty

10:25 AM EST, December 1, 2011

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For me, the week after Thanksgiving can only mean one thing: It's time to get the Christmas tree.

None of this plastic/fake stuff either. One of the biggest perks of the holiday season is the smell of a live Christmas tree in the living room.

But bringing it home can be a challenge. Judging by the number of debris on the side of the highway, it seems a lot of people still don't know how to properly tie something down on top of their car.

Here's more evidence of that, and some tips, courtesy of Cars.com:

“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.