Filling up your tank may seem like one of the most straightforward parts of your day. However, a few wrong actions and you could be creating a high risk or even dangerous situation for yourself and those around you. Thankfully, keeping a few key points in mind will ensure that you are prioritising safety both at the pump, and around the petrol station.
Don’t Leave Your Engine Running
The most important safety rule to remember next time you pull up to the pump is to turn off your engine. During cold weather, it can be tempting to leave your engine running to hide from the elements in the shelter of a warm car. Unfortunately, doing so puts yourself and others at risk.
Leaving your engine running while refueling increases the chances of an ignition spark. While this is rare, the risk is great enough that turning off your engine at the pump is more than a recommendation – it’s the law.
When refueling, it’s important not to overfill your vehicle’s tank. Thankfully, service stations have made this easier by using pumps which shut off automatically when it is detected that your tank is full. Trusting these sensors is in your best interest, and continuing to fill your tank may result in overflow, spilled gas, and harmful contact of flammable petroleum fuel with skin or clothing.
The biggest risk during fueling up comes from the inherently flammable nature of petroleum fuel. Therefore, it is in your best interest to minimize risk of ignitions sources such as fire and sparks. For this reason, smoking while at the pump should be avoided at all costs.
Sparking up while refueling puts not only yourself at risk, but compromises the safety of everyone at the service station. If you would like to smoke, do so a safe distance from fuel pumps, or in designated areas.
Don’t Get Distracted
Fuel pump safety goes beyond minimizing risk of fire. Staying alert while at the pump is also essential to keeping yourself and others safe. Phones can be a significant distraction, and being unaware while moving about the forecourt can be dangerous.
Moving vehicles pose risk to inattentive patrons, and failing to be alert also puts you at a larger risk for targeted crime such as robbery. While at the pump and while navigating the petrol station, keep your eyes up and your attention trained on safely refueling your vehicle.
Don’t Ignore Fuel Transport Safety
If you plan to transport fuel from the petrol station to another location, ensuring that you do so safely is critical. Unsafe transport of fuel can result in spills, contamination, and increases your chances for incidents such as fire.
Make sure that your container is compliant with standards for fuel transport–most are made from metal and plastic. Ensure that the seal is good, and store your container in a well ventilated area out of the reach of children.
Don’t Leave Your Car Unlocked
If you are planning to run into the service station to pay, or to make an additional purchase, always be sure to lock your vehicle and take valuables such as phones and wallets with you. Leaving your car unlocked, or leaving valuables visible on seats or consoles increases your risk to be targeted for theft.
While seemingly benign daily tasks like stopping at the petrol station can be easy to dismiss as risk-free, engaging in negligent certain behaviors can put you and others at risk. Practicing safe conduct every time you refuel will help ensure every trip to the service station is a safe one.