Is it Safe to Drive With a Mattress Strapped to Your Car’s Roof?

Considering you will spend half your life sleeping or lying in bed, it’s important to spend a good chunk of change on a mattress. However, if the mattress store that you buy it from doesn’t offer free delivery, then you’ll be tasked with having to transport it home yourself. But is it really safe to drive with a mattress strapped to your car?

How to transport a mattress on the roof of your car

 People tie a mattress to the top of a car as they evacuate from their home after waters from the flooding Mississippi River broke through a levee overnight.
People tie a mattress to the top of a car as they evacuate from their home after waters from the flooding Mississippi River broke through a levee overnight. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Yes, it is safe to drive with a mattress strapped to your car’s roof as long it’s secured in a safe manner. Just like many things in life, there is a right way to do it and a wrong way. Believe it or not, the wrong way is to use rope or twine and secure the mattress to the roof of the car, but we’ll get to that later.

According to Your Mechanic, here are the steps you can take to safely transport a mattress on your car:

  • Make sure you have the proper materials: To properly move a mattress it’s important to have the tools needed, which include a mattress bag, packaging tape, ratcheting straps, scissors, work gloves, and a helping hand, if possible.
  • Tape the plastic mattress bag down: Once all of your tools are gathered and the matress is in the bag, tape the plastic down so that the wind doesn’t catch it during transporting.
  • Place the mattress in the center of the roof and then put the ratchet straps over the length of the mattress.
  • Roll all of the windows down, except for the driver’s side. Then secure the mattress with the strap going through all of the windows. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to open the doors when the straps are secured through the windows, which is why it’s important to not go through the driver’s side window.

If your vehicle has a roof rack, then it’s ideal to tie the mattress down to it instead of snaking the straps through the windows. The roof rack is more secure and you won’t run the risk of damaging the body or windows of your car.

Take the scenic route, if possible, when transporting a mattress

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When you have the mattress securely tied to the roof of your car, you can then start driving. If possible try and take the back roads or city streets to your destination to avoid higher rates of speed. While taking the highway is perfectly fine, it should be noted that you’ll have a higher chance of something going at those speeds. If anything, stick to the slow lane if you must use the highway.

Also, keep an eye out on the mattress occasionally when driving to ensure that nothing is coming loose or breaking in the process.

Things to avoid when transporting a mattress on your car

A man carries a mattress on the roof of a taxi.
A man carries a mattress on the roof of a taxi. | INTI OCON/AFP via Getty Images

Now that you know how to properly secure and transport a mattress on top of your car, it’s time to look at what you should avoid when doing so. Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t leave the mattress unprotected: Your new mattress can easily get dirty when it’s cutting through the air at higher speeds and it can get dirtier if it falls off the car. In that case, always make sure to keep it clean with a plastic mattress cover.
  • Don’t use rope or twine: Use ratcheting straps instead. A mattress is large and bulky so it can pick up resistance from the wind and cause stress on any knots tied with a rope or twine. Don’t use bungee cords either.
  • Avoid overhang from the mattress: A mattress hanging too much over the front or rear of the car can obstruct the driver’s visibility.

Lastly, if you find that you can’t securely move a mattress using your car, then opt for having it delivered by a third-party company or renting a truck instead. Otherwise, you can safely move a mattress on top of your car provided you take the necessary steps before doing so.

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