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On top of the pile of misfortune that 2020 has handed us over the past 11 months, now we have to worry about our Christmas trees becoming projectile capable of inflicting a serious amount of injury and damage.  Some automotive experts are saying that these symbols of holiday merriment can become deadly missiles in an instant unless you follow some very simple rules.

The AAA was the first group to step forward and warn motorists that they were seeing a rise in accidents involving Christmas trees.  According to the official AAA page, the data shows that improperly secured items (like Christmas trees) caused more than  "200,000 crashes during a four-year period, resulting in approximately 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths."

With more Shreveport residents than ever opting for a real tree in order to enhance the holiday experience, and tree farms reporting record sales - it's a safe bet we will see some Tannenbaum related fender-benders in the near future.  To make sure you aren't trying to salvage your holiday pride during rush hour on I-20, the AAA suggests these steps:

  • Before heading out to buy a real Christmas tree, make sure to bring strong rope or nylon ratchet straps, an old blanket, gloves, and of course – the right vehicle. One with a roof rack is ideal but a pickup truck, SUV, van, or minivan can work just as well.
  • Once you’ve found the perfect tree, have the lot wrap it in netting before loading it. Loose branches can also be secured with rope or twine to help protect the tree from damage.
  • Prior to loading the tree, cover the roof with an old blanket to prevent scratches to the paint, and protect the car from any damage.
  • Place the tree on the roof rack or in the bed of the truck with the trunk facing the front of the car. If the vehicle does not have a roof rack and is an SUV, CUV, van, or minivan – place the tree inside. If not, rent or borrow a pickup truck, a vehicle with a roof rack, or one that is large enough to accommodate the tree inside.
  • Secure the tree at its bottom, center, and top using strong rope or nylon ratchet straps. Avoid using the twine offered by many tree lots. Use fixed vehicle tie-down points and loop the rope or strap around the tree trunk above a branch to prevent any side-to-side or front-to-rear movement.
  • Once tied down, give the tree several strong tugs from various angles to make sure it is secured in place and will not come loose.
  • Drive slowly and take back roads if possible. Higher speeds can create significant airflow that can damage your tree or challenge even the best tie-down methods.

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