Refilling your vehicle at a filling station have its own risks, many of us normally don’t pay attention to. However in order to avoid any mishap you should follow these safety guidelines at all times during fueling at petrol stations.
1. Always turn off your engine when filling your tank
When you are filling your tank, ensure that your engine is off in order to avoid accidental ignition of fuel fumes. During refueling the fumes or vapor from the fuel being pumped can accumulate on the ground level near your car.
There are also small amounts of fuel vapor displaced from your tank by the liquid fuel. If your vehicle engine is left running, it presents potential sources of fuel igniters such as the sparks from the vehicle exhaust pipe and to a less extent the engine alternator and the often “red hot” catalytic converter fitted at the center of the exhaust pipe.
In addition, failure to switch off auxiliary 12 volt power sources for cigarette lighters and phone chargers can also be potential accident igniters of a fuel fire.
2. Never smoke, use a lighter or light a matchstick
Obviously, smoking in any filling station, using a lighter or matches is extremely dangerous, due to the risk of ignition and fire.
3. Don’t use your mobile phone
Mobile phones have been known to cause sparks that can ignite petrol vapors. While not everyone is convinced by this advice, it’s hard to argue against the fact that using a mobile phone while you’re filling up can distract you and may lead to other hazards.
4. Discharge static electricity
A static electric charge can develop on your body as you slide across the seat, particularly in dry winter seasons and when you reach for the pump, a spark can ignite petrol vapor. It’s best to discharge any static before you reach for the pump nozzle. You can do this by touching the metal parts of your vehicle. Static electricity is produced by friction, and it can cause sparks which results in fire.
Some people think static electricity could build up if you go inside your vehicle while it is being filled with petrol. If you then return to the nozzle, the static electricity could discharge and potentially ignite the vapors released into the air during the refueling process. This could cause a fire.
5. Always be careful when storing or handling petrol
If you’re filling up a fuel container (instead of the tank in your vehicle), store it well out of reach of any children and in a ventilated area. Always use proper metal or good quality plastic containers to fill petrol.
Keep in mind that petrol can be harmful when you are exposed to it for long periods of time. It can also irritate your skin or eyes and damage clothes. Any clothes or body parts that come into contact with petrol need to be washed with water immediately.
Related: What To Do If Your Car Overheats
Service station staff should also know how to deal with situations such as leaks and spills as well as emergency evacuations. While emergencies at service stations are rare, you can avoid unsafe situations by being sensible while refueling at a petrol station.
A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com