Now that Sinterklaas has left the country, it’s time to buy a Christmas tree. But how do you transport it in your car and are you allowed to drive with the back door open?
A poorly installed Christmas tree is a life-threatening projectile in traffic, as a crash test by Germany’s Adac once showed. That’s why it’s important to take a closer look at how to get you home safely. When your car is big enough or your tree is small enough, you can get into the car, if necessary with the rear seat folded down.
Fortunately, cars have become much more spacious in recent years, so that a surprisingly small Christmas tree will fit in the car with the tailgate closed. Place the lowest and widest part of the tree into the trunk; Then the narrow top ends somewhere between the front seats at most.
Christmas tree in the car in the trailer or roof rack?
Sometimes the tree is too tall or the car is too small. The best way is to transport it on a trailer, but it is also possible to place the tree on a car roof rack. In all cases, do this with the trunk pointing forward, otherwise the branches will be damaged by the wind that they pick up while driving.
Ensure that the valve cannot open while driving. Secure the tree with tie-down straps — one around the trunk and one around the branches — so it won’t move around as you drive. It is not recommended to use a “spider”, that is, an elastic band with hooks at the end.
If the tree can slide, it can be released on impact, and then the small Christmas tree can also receive a force of 750 kilograms due to gravity. This is especially dangerous for traffic in front of your car. If the tree is not properly secured, the fine is 140 euros.
Can you transport a Christmas tree in a car with the tailgate open?
The simple answer is: yes, you can, but under certain conditions. A tree – or other indivisible object – may protrude from the side of the car, for example if you let the tree stick out the side window. But your fully loaded car may not be more than 2.55m wide, or 2.60m if your car is already that wide.
A Christmas tree or other indivisible object may protrude a maximum of 1 meter at the back. This is also permitted from the (partly) open tailgate. An exception is: if the load is three meters long and cannot be divided into parts, it may protrude more than one meter. You must make this clear to other road users by hanging a warning sign – a square sign with a red/white slash – on your load.
It should not be more than four meters high.
Also, the taillights and indicators must be visible at all times, just like your number plate. Of course, your load should not obstruct your vision or upset the balance of your vehicle.
What is the penalty if I make a mistake?
If you don’t respect the rules, you are committing a second degree crime. In general, this means an immediate charge of 116 euros. If you don’t pay, you will have to appear in court, and the fines can be very heavy.
Is driving with the tailgate open bad for your health?
So much for the legal part, because when it comes to health, it’s better not to drive with an open (partly) tailgate at all, because exhaust fumes are absorbed by hatchbacks, SUVs and station wagons. Naturally, electric drivers are almost unaffected by this. If you do, open the side windows partially so that toxic fumes don’t get in quickly.
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