MDOT gives tips for transporting Christmas trees

DTL Staff

The season is here and many are decorating their homes with trees both manufactured and real.

But for those who prefer a more traditional approach, transporting Christmas trees can often be more difficult and pose a bigger safety risk on the roads than seen in Holiday comedy movies.

That’s why the Mississippi Department of Transportation recently provided tips to those preparing to strap a tree to the top of the family car.

“Unsecured Christmas trees can easily put your safety, and the safety of other motorists, at risk,” said MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath. “Trees could become airborne and strike another vehicle. They could also come to rest in the road, creating a hazard for everyone.”

MDOT says road debris from unsecured loads, such as Christmas trees, was responsible for more than 19,000 injuries and 680 deaths in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Along with it being a safety hazard, MDOT also said debris from unsecured loads contributes to roadside litter, which costs Mississippi over $3 million a year to remove.

Motorists responsible for debris from unsecured loads could face fines up to $500 and up to six months in prison.

“The holiday season should be a joyous time of year,” McGrath said. “Keep the cheer alive and keep everyone safe by securely bringing your Christmas tree home.”

Whether the tree is fresh-cut from the farm or purchased from a vendor, MDOT provides tips transport it safely by taking the following steps:

• Use an appropriate vehicle. Christmas trees can be securely tied to roof racks. If you don’t have a roof rack, use the bed of a truck or the inside of an SUV or van.

• Tie the tree down with strong rope or nylon straps at several points along the trunk. Lightweight twine found at many tree lots may not be strong enough. The bottom of the trunk should point toward the front of the vehicle.

• Secure loose branches with netting, rope or twine.

• Always double check the load to make sure it is secure.

• Drive slowly. Higher speeds create air resistance which can cause tie-downs to fail.