Car decorations – the delightful and the frightful

Dressing up your vehicle for the holidays? Sounds great. If it’s safe.

Holiday decorations on a car can make your car delightful. But when it comes to taking your car on the road, the result of having the wrong decorations can be frightful.

Beautiful, bountiful baubles on your car can become dangerous road hazards or distractions if not properly affixed, or if 100 mph winds (if your car is moving at 70 mph into a 30 mph headwind, for example) or other, solid objects knock them off. Here’s a quick run-down on what holiday fashions your car should be wearing this season, to keep stylish and safe.

Delightful

Antenna toppers – Antenna toppers are those often-spherical things that people attach to the end of their radio antennas, that, though made of polymer foam, somehow seem to manage to withstand being battered by…well, everything. With an endless number of holiday-themed variations, you can enhance the mood of your drive time festivity.

Frightful

Things that dangle toward the street – This may be counterintuitive, but consider the road conditions in winter. Anything that creates an increase in suspension issues is likely to knock loose a dangling snowman or other festive gewgaw, thereby creating a potentially dangerous object in the road.

Delightful

Costumes/grill décor/bows – Dressing up your car to look like a reindeer seems to be 2014’s popular incarnation of car costumery, but for this category, we’re going to include grill decorations, like bows and wreaths, and similar types of clustered decorations, when placed on non-window areas of the vehicle. We like these. When done well, they can actually be classy, fun and cool, as long as they are sturdy enough to stay on the vehicle.

Frightful

Lights on the car – This one is kind of a zero-sum, because extra exterior lights can also increase your vehicle’s visibility, however, unless they’re small and installed at some distance from any signal lights on your vehicle, these may visually distract other drivers from the lights you use to communicate with other motorists, thereby reducing signal effectiveness.

Delightful

Painting the panels – Using washable car paint to make lovely, holiday artwork on the non-glass panels of the vehicle gives you latitude to express yourself without worrying about it lasting longer than the next wash.

Frightful

Painting the windows – Putting washable paint on the vehicle’s windows, as with anything that reduces visibility, is a recipe for disaster.

Delightful

Vent attachments – Decorative baubles like holly, stockings, and juniper sprigs, that attach to the dash vents of your vehicle can be fun, and if they’re far enough away from the vents, they won’t even interfere with your climate control system.

Frightful

Dangling things in the windows – This includes anything that is suspended from your rear view mirror, or from a suction cup on any of the other windows. Again, a visibility reducer, and not worth the trouble.

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