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It’s almost time for Christmas tree shopping! Christmas trees form a large part of the festive season and if you’re opting for a real tree this year, it’s important to prepare your car for transport.

There is nothing worse than losing your perfect tree on the highway because of poor planning. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than 200,000 crashes involved debris on U.S. roadways between 2011 and 2014, and some of them were Christmas trees. Thanks to Zuto, we have compiled 7 helpful tips to help you safely transport your tree home.

  • 1. Measure Your Car And The Tree

    Having a tape measure on hand to measure both the length and width of your car and your tree is a simple step, but it can make or break your transportation project. Another important thing to remember is that you also have to fit in the car to drive home! Please make sure there is enough room in the back with the tree so that you can safely drive home.

  • 2. Fold Down The Seats

    As a result, you’ll be able to fit a larger tree and the branches will be less likely to break on your journey home. With the seats folded down, you have a lot less wiggle room and will probably cause more damage to the tree, and possibly the car, than is necessary.

  • 3. Place Down Covers

    Putting down some covers in your car helps you avoid the mess that real trees make with needles, dust, and branches falling off. A heavy-duty bin liner would work perfectly, or if not, some old sheets or blankets would also do the trick.

  • 4. Make Sure The Tree Is Netted

    In addition to making the tree easier to fit into your car, this also prevents the foliage from being damaged. You can also carry the tree to and from the car with ease. Wherever you purchase your tree, ask them to net it for you or simply do it yourself.

  • 5. Tie it to the Roof if it Doesn’t Fit Inside

    Here’s your chance to get a tree that doesn’t fit in your car or avoid most of the mess altogether. If you choose this option, invest in some roof racks and bungee cords. High winds can make driving difficult and can damage your trees. Be aware of harsh weather conditions.

  • 6. Drive Slow and Carefully

    Slow wins the race! The most important step – the precarious weather, added weight and possibly impaired vision requires extra care while transporting the Xmas centerpiece home.

  • 7. Choose An Artificial Pop-up Tree

    If all this is too much trouble for you, join the other 85% of people and get yourself an artificial tree! When you find a pop-up tree, you might not even have to take the seats down, and you can avoid all the mess that comes with purchasing a real tree.