If you plan to transport your Christmas tree on top of your vehicle, you need to understand your liability if the tree falls off the car and causes an accident. Road hazards cause thousands of accidents each year on Indiana roads.
A Christmas tree is a road hazard if it falls from vehicle. If the tree causes a car accident, anyone injured in the crash could sue you for damages. Therefore, it is wise to review safety tips for transporting Christmas trees before you begin your search for the perfect tree for your home this year.
Safety Tips for Transporting Christmas Trees
Before you leave home, you need to put several long pieces of sturdy rope in your vehicle. You do not want to rely on the tree lot to have a sturdy rope. Many lots have thin twine that they use to secure trees to car roofs. However, the twine may not be thick enough to secure the tree safely to your vehicle’s roof.
Because you are the driver, it is your responsibility to ensure the tree is secured tightly to the roof of your vehicle. Once you drive off the tree lot, you assume responsibility for the tree. Therefore, you want to ensure the rope used to tie the tree to the roof of the car is strong and thick.
Other tips for securing a Christmas tree to your vehicle’s roof include:
- Face the tree trunk forward so that the wind does not cause as much damage to the tree while you are driving.
- Instead of rolling down the car windows to wrap the rope through your car, open the car doors. This option allows you to secure the tree better than winding the rope through the car windows when do not have a luggage rack to use to secure the tree.
- Do not unwrap the netting until you get home. The netting around the tree will help you secure the tree to your vehicle more securely.
- Avoid driving fast or taking sharp turns. Fast stops and sharp turns can cause the tree to shift and potentially fall from the vehicle. Even if the tree remains on top of the vehicle, the shifting weight can cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
- Measure the roof of your vehicle before leaving home. Trees that hang over the vehicle during the drive can be more dangerous.
- Placing a tarp or blanket over your roof can help prevent scratches and sap from damaging your car.
What Should I Do If I Am Involved in a Car Accident Because of a Christmas Tree?
If you are injured in a car accident because a Christmas tree fell off of another vehicle, you need to take the same steps you take after any car crash. However, in addition to these steps, you should try to take pictures of the Christmas tree and the vehicle, especially any ropes or twine used to secure the vehicle.
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