BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — It's the season for buying Christmas trees, and AAA Public Affairs Director Mary Maguire is warning holiday customers to make sure they transport their trees home safely.
"Santa Claus and the reindeer are the only things we want to see flying this holiday season," Maguire said. "We do not want to see your tree flying off your car."
Maguire told WBZ NewsRadio's Laurie Kirby unsecured trees are a common problem.
"I hate to be a Grinch about this, but we found that 44 percent of Americans who plan to purhcase a real tree will not secure it properly and safely to bring that tree home," Maguire said.
So where do they go wrong? Maguire said most of the mistakes occur when people don't properly secure the tree.
She says you need the proper gear, first of all.
"That means you want to bring ratchet straps, strong rope, an old blanket to protect your car or your truck bed, and gloves, because we all know those Christmas trees can get pretty prickly," she said.
If you've got an SUV or truck, Maguire says you should put the tree inside if it fits—not on top.
"And bring a tarp or something that you can use, or netting, so that you don't get needles all over your car," she said.
If it's in your pickup bed, make sure it is still secured, as it could go flying if it isn't.
And if you're using a roof rack, make sure you're using the strong rope or ratchet straps to secure the tree at the base, middle, and top of the tree.
"You want the trunk to face the front of the car, that's the best method for transport," Maguire said.
Don't be afraid to ask for help from the retailer. Once it is secured, Maguire said you should give it a "tug test."
Finally, Maguire said drivers should be sure to take it easy on the drive home.
"Take the back roads if you can, sing Christmas carols, go slowly, make sure you're really driving carefully to protect that tree and to protect everyone else on the roadways," she said. "We found in our reseearch that over a four-year period, road debris caused 200,000 crashes across the country, leading to 39,000 injuries and some 500 deaths."
Hear the full interview below, and check out AAA's tree safety tips here.
WBZ NewsRadio's Laurie Kirby (@LaurieWBZ) reports