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Getting a real tree this Christmas? Here's how to secure it properly to your car

AAA Auto Group

It’s a holiday tradition for some families to pick out a real Christmas tree. But according to a AAA Auto Group study, one in five Americans return home and find out that their new tree is no longer on top of their car.

Trees slipping off cars and falling onto roads counted for around 200,000 crashes between 2011 and 2014, Adrienne Woodland, spokesperson for AAA Auto Group, said. They resulted in about 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths.

Drivers should cover their tree with an old carpet or netting before loading to prevent damage to their car, she said. Then, they should use a roof rack or back trunk, and tie the tree down with strong rope.

"You wanna drive nice and easy," Woodland said. "Drive slowly, take back roads if possible. Higher speeds can create significant airflow that can damage your tree, or challenge even the best tie-down methods."

For the driver it just causes as much as $1,500 in scratches, but for a motorist following behind who may have to dodge a dislodged Christmas tree it can be more expensive.

"Before you buy your tree, please research the proper way to transport it or ask a professional to do it for you," Woodland said.