Don’t cop a fine for carrying your Christmas tree like this
How to legally carry a Christmas tree on, or in, your car.
Don’t make carrying your Christmas tree home in the car turn into a “ho, ho, oh-no” moment by failing to legally secure your load. (More: The only Christmas gift guide you need this festive season)
RACV’s transport manager Peter Kartsidimas says police can fine motorists between $248 and $16,500 for carrying unsecured loads such as Christmas trees or wooden planks for holiday DIY projects.
“If you’re buying a real Christmas tree this year, consider how you’re going to get it home,” says Peter. “An incorrectly secured tree can damage a vehicle and can also endanger other road users if it falls off on the way home.”
Peter says homeowners embarking on DIY projects over the holidays also have to follow the rules when carrying long loads.
He says that under Victorian road rules, long loads are not allowed to protrude more than 1.2 metres from the front or rear of a vehicle. It’s also illegal to have any object protruding more than 15 centimetres from the side of your vehicle.
“Drivers need to make sure that when transporting Christmas trees, they aren’t too big for their vehicles,” he says.
“It’s not illegal to drive with the boot or hatch of the vehicle open but it’s important that visibility is not obstructed and the load is secured.
If your vehicle is not suitable for the job of carrying a Christmas tree or you don’t have the proper equipment, the cost of home delivery might be the cheapest and safest solution.
“If you do plan to carry a tree on the roof of your car, make sure you use properly fitted roof racks, and securely tie the tree down with ropes or straps,” he says.
“The best advice is to use common sense. If your vehicle is not suitable for the job of carrying a Christmas tree or you don’t have the proper equipment, the cost of home delivery might be the cheapest and safest solution,” Peter says.
Fines can be steep. The operator of a vehicle in breach of width, length or height limit or load-restraint requirements faces a maximum penalty of $3224, and if your tree falls from your car and causes a serious crash you could even end up in jail.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman says police expect motorists to use common sense when transporting large or heavy loads that require a boot or hatch to be open.