Can you smell that? The sweet scent of Fir – Douglas, Noble, Balsam…?
Like smooching under the mistletoe or baking shortbread cookies, hauling the Christmas tree home is a happy holiday tradition for many families. But many of us don’t do it safely.
Here are some steps to choosing the right tree, securing it to your vehicle, and bringing it home safely.
Step 1: Know your capacity
Picking the right tree will be much easier if you know your car’s interior storage or roof measurements.
(Bonus Yuletide Tip – calculate your ceiling clearance at home too)
Step 2: Make sure you can be seen
Before you leave home, check your turn signals and tail lights to make sure they are working.
Step 3: Start off with straps
Head to the Christmas tree lot or woods equipped with ratchet style tie-downs straps. If you plan on using your trunk to transport the tree, bring some rope to tie your trunk lid or rear door securely.
(Bonus Yuletide Tip – bring a tarp or old blanket to wrap the tree in).
Step 4: Shake, shake, shake!
Some tree lots sell trees wrapped in netting to secure the branches. If your tree is not wrapped, bang the trunk on the ground a few times to shake out debris, pick out any loose branches, then wrap it in the tarp or blanket.
Step 5: Heave ho!
… onto the vehicle roof or roof rack. Lift the tree on top of your vehicle with the base facing forward. Work the ratchet straps around the base, middle and tip of the tree, and fasten them snugly to the roof rack. If you are placing the tree directly onto the roof (no rack) then open all the doors to thread the straps through the vehicle, tighten the straps, and close the doors.
…. into the trunk. With the back seat down, brace the base of the tree against the back seat or backrest. Then, fasten the tree to your trunk floor using the ratchet straps. Tie down the rear door or trunk lid with rope or straps.
***You want to prevent the movement of the tree, in any direction, while you’re in motion***
Step 6: Check for clear views
Ensure the tree doesn’t interfere with the driver’s view from the front seat, and that your tail lights can be seen.
Step 7: Check your tree’s tie-down
- Check your straps several times before you drive away. You want the tree to stay put through wind, turns and sudden braking.
- The tree should be secured according to Cargo Securement requirements of the BC Motor Vehicle Act Regulations.
Step 8: Flag it or illuminate long load
If tree extends past rear bumper, tie flagging tape around the end. Trees that extend more than one metre beyond the front of the car or more than a half metre at the rear must have flagging attached during the day. At night, the tree must have lamps – just like your vehicle — white in the front, red at the rear. For details on the use of lamps or flags on front and rear projections, see BC Motor Vehicle Act Regulations.
Step 9: Drive with care
Keep a bit of extra distance from traffic and drive within the posted speed limit. Be sure to use your turn signals.
Step 10: Decorate!
Put on some holiday tunes and enjoy sprucing up your tree – safe and sound at home.