NEW YORK (WWTI) — Families across New York are making the trip to pick out their Christmas tree to celebrate the holiday season. However, transporting the tree from the farm back home can have its challenges.

According to a press release from AAA, if not properly secured, a tree can cause vehicle damage, or even worse, fly off or out of the vehicle and become a danger to other drivers. Twine, ropes, and straps can wear away paint and tear rubber seals causing up to $1,500 in repairs.

Research from the company in 2019 revealed that 44% of Americans who planned to purchase a real Christmas tree would transport the tree using unsafe methods. The statistic included 20% of individuals who would tie the tree to the roof of their vehicle without using a roof rack and 24% who planned to place the tree in the bed of their pickup truck unsecured.

Among those who planned to purchase a live Christmas tree, 16% have previously experienced a Christmas tree falling off or out of their vehicle while transporting it. To combat these statistics AAA released several tips to help residents avoid damage to their vehicles.

One tip the company had for drivers was to use the right vehicle when transporting their tree. According to AAA, the best way to transport the tree is on top of a vehicle with a roof rack, or in the bed of a pick-up truck, SUV, van, or minivan that can fit the tree inside with all doors closed.

Before adding the tree, individuals should have it wrapped in netting and use an old blanket to prevent paint scratches and protect the vehicle’s finish. They also advised residents to use quality tie downs like strong rope or nylon ratchet straps to secure the tree to the roof of their vehicle.

Trees should always be placed in a pick-up bed or on the roof with the trunk facing the front of the vehicle. It should then be tied down at its bottom, center, and top, being looped around the trunk to prevent any side-to-side or front-to-rear movement.

Before hitting the road residents should give the tree several strong tugs from various directions to make sure it is secured in place and will not blow away. Once it is tightly secured, drivers should take their time and attempt to take back roads as higher speeds create significant airflow that can damage your Christmas tree and challenge even the best tie-down methods.