Pumping gas can be an annoyance – especially during periods of fierce winds or subzero temperatures – but a trip to the gas station is usually harmless enough. However, certain careless actions can turn your weekly or bi-weekly trip to the gas station into a fire hazard if you’re not careful. For this reason, the expert team at OnlineDriversLicenses.org has put together a list of things you should never do while pumping gas. For instance, motorists should never overfill the tank, wait in the vehicle or keep the vehicle running while fueling up. And since the average gas tank only takes about two minutes to fill, pumping gas isn’t as torturous and time-consuming as it may seem.
#1 Overfill the Tank – According to the expert group at OnlineDriversLicenses.org, you should never overfill your gas tank or attempt to top it off after the automatic fuel dispenser shuts off. The automatic fuel dispenser shuts off once the tank is full, and overfilling the tank may lead to spills or gas drips on the ground. Not only could gas spills (even small gas spills) become fire or slipping hazards, but they could also contaminate the area’s soil and groundwater over time. To avoid overfilling the tank or spilling gas, stand near the vehicle as it fuels and remove the nozzle once the automatic fuel dispenser shuts off. When removing the nozzle, be sure to let any last drips of gasoline fall into the tank. If any gasoline does drip onto the ground below you or on your clothes or shoes, use a paper towel to wipe the drips away.
#2 Use a Cellphone – Entering and exiting a vehicle are already risk factors for creating static electricity, and using a cellphone at the gas pump could increase this risk. While it is unclear as to whether cell phone usage has directly caused static electricity fires at the gas pump, the team at OnlineDriversLicenses.org recommends keeping cell phones in the vehicle to reduce the possible risk of emitting electrical charges.
#3 Smoke – Smoking, using a lighter or lighting matches are all risk factors for starting fires at the gas pump. For safety reasons, never smoke while pumping gas.
#4 Mix Fuel – Whether intentionally or by accident, mixing gasoline and diesel fuel isn’t advised for a couple of reasons. Not only can mixing fuel be damaging to the vehicle’s fuel pump or engine, but it could get costly over time. Mixing fuel can also be hazardous.
#5 Keep the Vehicle Running – Even if it’s the middle of July in Las Vegas, or it’s the end of January in Grand Forks, the group at OnlineDriversLicenses.org recommends turning your vehicle off while pumping gas. While it may sound wise to keep the air conditioning or the heat running as you pump, it could be dangerous to pump gas with the vehicle running. For instance, a stray spark could ignite fumes, or someone could hop in your vehicle without you knowing, and then drive away with your vehicle and personal belongings. For both reasons, it’s important to turn the vehicle off before filling the gas tank.
#6 Wait in the Vehicle – According to the expert team at OnlineDriversLicenses.org, entering and exiting a vehicle are risk factors for starting static electricity fires. So, the more you re-enter your vehicle while pumping gas, the greater the chance of starting a fire. Research shows that 50 percent of static electricity fires created at gas stations are caused by motorists entering and exiting their vehicles while the gas tank fills. This could be because of difficult weather conditions, pain or discomfort while standing or to grab something from the vehicle. Additionally, 78 percent of reported static fires happen to female drivers. This could be because women are more likely to return to their vehicles to check on children, to return credit cards to their purses, to fix their makeup or to grab cash from their purses if they need to pay inside the gas station.