With the holiday season in full swing, car owners might feel tempted to decorate their vehicles as a form of festive cheer. But, before you dig into your holiday box or stop by your favorite craft store, you’ll want to make sure your decoration plans are safe.
Christmas tree lights are a holiday decor item you should completely nix from your car. While this might come as a surprise to people who have seen colorful light displays built onto cars in viral TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest posts, there’s a good reason why you should avoid it.
“We do not recommend any lights. At a minimum they are a distraction to you and other drivers,” said Richard Reina, a product training director at CARiD.com. “In many locales across the country, they are illegal and could result in a summons.”
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Reina continued, “Static, unlit decorations are fine and allow you to show your holiday spirit. Anything you put on your car cannot in any way interfere with the driver’s vision or access to controls. Likewise, items on the exterior cannot interfere with steering or braking.”
Holiday decor items that are likely fine to put on cars include wreaths, reindeer antlers, Santa hats, stickers, flags and car wraps. Though, if you’re unsure if the decorations you have in mind are safe, you can contact your local DMV for guidance.
Drivers who are confident in the holiday decorations they’ve picked out for their car should make sure they know how to secure the items inside and outside the vehicle.
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“Fasten items in a way that they remain fastened to your car. Think about highway driving at 65 mph and ask yourself if the decoration would stay in place,” Reina told Fox News. “If mounting anything on the grille, be sure that sufficient airflow is still able to enter the radiator to prevent engine overheating.”
Aside from handling decoration duties, drivers might want to consider notifying their car insurance provider if they’re going to dress up their vehicle for the holidays, according to Uswitch – an online price comparison service.
Uswitch told Fox it mainly recommends drivers notify their insurance providers in the U.K., where the company is based.
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“Decorating your car is technically considered a vehicle modification, which legally you have to inform your car insurance provider of [in the U.K.],” wrote Florence Codjoe, Uswitch’s content editor. “Making your vehicle stand out can also be more inviting to thieves or criminals.”
Notifying insurers about car modifications aren’t a requirement in the U.S., though it could be helpful if you’re looking to have your mods covered by your policy. However, with holiday decorations being a temporary addition, most drivers would likely not need to do this.
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Fox News reached out to the National Highway Safety Administration and Allstate for comment.