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Taking your family to buy your Christmas tree is a time-honored tradition. But if you’re not careful about how you load your tree onto your car, you may end up injuring yourself or others. Improperly secured Christmas trees can become loose and fly off your roof on your drive home, hitting other cars or causing accidents.

Drivers who fail to secure their Christmas tree properly can be held liable for accidents or injuries the tree causes. If you’ve been involved in a crash or injured as the result of objects falling off a vehicle, hiring an attorney can help you get the compensation you need for your medical and repair bills. Consider the law firm of Dudley DeBosier. Our skilled Louisiana car accident lawyers can help protect your rights and get you the damages you are entitled to for your injuries and property damage.

How to Load Your Tree on Your Vehicle Roof

Knowing what supplies to bring with you and how to load your Christmas tree on your car properly can prevent it from coming loose or causing an accident. Follow these tips when bringing home your tree:

  • Use the right type of vehicle: Cars and SUVs with roof racks are great vehicles for transporting your Christmas tree safely. The racks help you more securely tie down your tree. If you don’t have a vehicle with a roof rack, vehicles with extended cargo room also work. You can safely carry your tree home in the bed of a truck or the back of an empty minivan or larger SUV. If you’re placing your tree inside your vehicle, ensure it fits with all the doors and windows closed.
  • Bring the right supplies: Bring a blanket to protect the top of your vehicle roof or interior from the tree. You don’t want the tree to scratch your paint job or leave pine needles and sap all over your seats. You’ll also want to bring quality rope to tie down your tree. Some tree lots only offer twine, which isn’t strong enough to keep your tree secured to your car while driving. A strong rope, bungees, or nylon-based ratcheting straps are the most secure tie-down options for your Christmas tree.
  • Make sure your tree is wrapped: Some Christmas tree lots will wrap your tree with netting when you purchase it. If you can’t wrap the tree, use a rope to help secure large and loose branches. Wrapping your Christmas tree protects it during transportation and keeps it more secure.
  • Load the tree in the right direction: When loading the tree on your vehicle’s roof, make sure the top of the tree points to the rear with the tree trunk facing the hood of the car. With the base of the tree pointing forward, the wind flows around the branches more naturally, protecting the tree from damage while you’re driving.
  • Secure your Christmas tree: You’ll want to secure your tree to your roof around the center, top, and bottom of the tree. Looping your tie-down rope or bungee in between branches of the tree can help prevent the tree from moving while you’re driving. Secure your rope or cord around your vehicle’s tie-down points. Give your tree a few tugs before leaving the tree lot to double-check it’s secure.
  • Drive carefully: You’ll want to drive home at lower speeds and focus on accelerating and braking gently. Consider taking country roads home instead of major highways to avoid higher speeds and intense airflow that can damage your tree or cause it to become loose.

The Dangers of Not Securing Your Christmas Tree to Your Vehicle

An improperly secured Christmas tree is a road hazard waiting to happen. Loose trees can move around while you drive, obstructing your view and causing an accident. Trees can also fall off and become a hazard on the road, causing accidents when other drivers have to swerve around them.

If you’re driving at high speeds with a tree that’s loosely attached to your car, the airflow moving around your car can lift it off your roof, causing it to hit other cars and potentially causing injuries. It may seem like a small danger, but it’s estimated that 20 million people didn’t secure their Christmas tree properly in the past three holiday seasons.

Road debris like Christmas trees was responsible for 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths over a 4-year span. You don’t want to ruin the holidays for yourself or someone else because you failed to secure your tree.

Are You Liable if Your Christmas Tree Falls Off Your Vehicle and Causes Injuries?

Drivers can be held legally responsible if objects like Christmas trees fall off their car and become hazardous road debris. It’s illegal for objects to fall from vehicles onto the road, and Louisiana drivers may face fines and other penalties. These can range from $35 to $175 fines and up to 30 days in jail for a first-time unsecured load offense.

You’ll also be held liable for any injuries related to crashes caused by your tree, which means you could be sued. Louisiana’s comparative fault law means that each driver is liable for their percentage of fault in the accident, so others involved in the accident can sue you for their damages.

How Dudley DeBosier Can Help

If you’ve been involved in an accident caused by road debris, an attorney can help you investigate the accident and file claims. It’s important to determine who’s at fault and if negligence was involved. Dudley DeBosier will build a strong case for you. Our lawyers are experienced at helping car accident victims get the maximum compensation they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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