As you go to search for the perfect real Christmas tree, you need to plan ahead for how to get it home.

“We want to make sure that you’re properly tying that tree down to your vehicle for the trip home,” said Shawn Steward with AAA Kansas. “If you don’t, it can lead to three issues. The first one is a hazard to other motorists. If that tree were to fly off your vehicle and end up in the roadway. Second, it can cause a lot of damage to your vehicle if you don’t have it properly attached and then finally, it can lead to an expensive traffic ticket or fine for having an unsecured load.”

It’s easy to damage your vehicle’s roof if it isn’t designed to carry cargo.

“We recommend that you only transport on the top of your vehicle if you have a roof rack that you can properly tie that tree down to,” said Steward. “Otherwise, you’re risking potentially scratching your paint on your vehicle. You can also damage your door jambs and your window seals if you’re wrapping twine through open windows.”

You can cause up to $1500 in damage just in distorted frames and torn door seals.

“We recommend avoiding the lightweight twine that’s offered by many tree lots,” said Steward. “Make sure that you bring some strong rope, or even those nylon ratchet straps work really well to make sure that you can get that tree properly tied down so it’s not going to budge.”

In Kansas, there are about 150 unsecured load crashes each year, resulting in an average of one or two fatalities. In 2017 in Kansas, there were more than 350 crashes attributed to road debris or obstruction.