Purchasing a Christmas tree is a festive rite of passage. However, often the fun and games end when it comes to trying to wrestle the 6ft plus bundle into the car. Your Red Car warn drivers that, by driving your tree home, not only might you be unknowingly breaking several driving laws, but you might also be putting your health and safety at risk.
The motoring offence that you could end up committing is offence CU50 - causing or likely to cause danger by reason of load or passengers. You could be left with three penalty points (lasting four years) and you can also be fined up to £5,000 for inconsiderate driving - a very expensive Christmas. To help drivers stay on the right side of the law, Your Red Car have four tips for transporting your tree safely:
- Only take the people who need to go
Whilst taking a family of five to pick up a Christmas tree might initially seem like a fun, festive day out, it’s not practical if you have to then transport them all home - plus a large Christmas tree too. For safety reasons, only take the people that need to be in the vehicle and ensure that you have enough room left for the tree. You can have windows open, but make sure branches aren’t protruding from the vehicle where they might damage other vehicles or obstruct road users’ views. Many people aren’t aware that you get a £100 fine for driving with your boot open.
2. Wrap something around the tree
Most Christmas tree sellers will wrap your tree in netting if you ask them to. If this isn’t an option, cling film or bungee cords can be used to neatly package up the tree and keep the branches under control. As well as making it easier to transport the tree, this will protect it from damage and ensure flailing branches don’t distract you while you’re at the wheel. Once you have finished with the netting, make sure that it’s disposed of properly as this can pose a danger to wildlife.
3. Install a roof rack
Although more of an investment, you could also purchase a roof rack to transport the tree on. The Highway Code stresses that it’s important that the tree doesn’t stick out dangerously though. Added to this, the load must also not disrupt your vision. Be mindful too that the increased load on top of the car will increase fuel consumption, and do not block rear view mirrors.
4. Drive better
Drive cautiously. With an excess load in the car, you are more prone to danger. For example, if for some reason you had to make an emergency stop, the tree could move and cause injury. Pay attention whilst you’re driving and stick to the speed limit. Save the Christmas tunes for when you get home - music can be an added distraction.
Denton Brock at Your Red Car commented:
“Drivers need to know the laws and regulations when it comes to carrying heavier loads in order to avoid penalties and fines. With the festive season approaching, it’s paramount that drivers know how to avoid being on the wrong side of the law, especially with the ongoing cost of living crisis. The Highway Code and road safety and vehicle rules are available to read on the gov.uk website.”