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JACKSON, MISS. – With Christmas season here, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) wants you to make sure your Christmas tree makes it home by properly securing it to your vehicle.
“Unsecured Christmas trees can easily put your safety, and the safety of other motorists, at risk,” said Brad White, MDOT Executive Director. “Trees could become airborne and strike another vehicle. They could also come to rest in the road, creating a hazard for everyone.”
Previous research by AAA found that road debris from unsecured loads, such as Christmas trees, was responsible for more than 200,000 crashes, during a four-year period, resulting in approximately 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths. In addition to being a safety hazard, debris from unsecured loads contributes to roadside litter which costs Mississippi over $3 million a year to remove. Motorists responsible for debris from unsecured loads could face fines up to $500 and up to six months in prison.
“The holidays should be a joyous time to spend with family and friends,” said White. “Do everything possible to keep those you love, and other motorists safe.”
Whether your tree is fresh-cut from the farm or purchased from a vendor, you can safely transport it by taking the following steps:
- Use an appropriate vehicle. Christmas trees can be securely tied to roof racks. If you don’t have a rack, use the bed of a truck or the inside of an SUV or van.
- Tie the tree down with strong rope or nylon straps at several points along the trunk. Lightweight twine found at many tree lots may not be strong enough.
- The bottom of the trunk should point toward the front of the vehicle.
- Secure loose branches with netting, rope or twine.
- Always double check the load to make sure it is secure.
- Drive slowly. Higher speeds create air resistance which can cause tie-downs to fail.
For more tips on traveling safe this holiday season, visit GoMDOT.com/drivesmartms.
For the most current travel and traffic information, visit MDOTTraffic.com, download the free MDOT Traffic app, and like @MississippiDOT on Twitter and Facebook.
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MageeNews.com is an online news source covering Simpson and surrounding counties as well as the State of Mississippi.