A new survey has revealed 44 percent of Americans who plan to purchase a real Christmas tree this year will transport it unsafely.

The figures from the American Automobile Association (AAA) indicate 20 percent of people will tie the tree to the roof of their vehicle without using a roof rack and 24 percent plan to place the tree in the bed of their pickup truck unsecured.

Among those planning to purchase a real Christmas tree, 16 percent said they had previously experienced a Christmas tree falling off or out of their vehicle during transport.

Previous research from AAA found that road debris caused more than 200,000 crashes during a four-year period, resulting in approximately 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths.

The organisation has issued a video and offered drivers tips on how to transport a Christmas tree safely. The tips include:

  • Place the tree on the roof rack or in the bed of the truck with the trunk facing the front of the car. If the vehicle does not have a roof rack and is a SUV, CUV, van or minivan – place the tree inside.
  • Secure the tree at its bottom, center and top using strong rope or nylon ratchet straps. Avoid using the twine offered by many tree lots. Use fixed vehicle tie-down points and loop the rope or strap around the tree trunk above a branch to prevent any side-to-side or front-to-rear movement.
  • Once tied down, give the tree several strong tugs from various angles to make sure it is secured in place and will not come loose.
  • Drive slowly and take back roads if possible. Higher speeds can create significant airflow that can damage your tree or challenge even the best tie-down methods.