We’re not talking about shriveled hot dogs, questionable sushi or “nachos.” We are talking about preventing catastrophes at the station and how to pump gas safely (while debunking a common myth in the process).
The average American stops for gas five to seven times a month. For most people, pumping gas is no big deal. But it is a hazardous, highly flammable material that must be handled with care.
Plymouth Rock has six tips about how to pump gas and how to stay safe while doing it. And listen up New Jersey drivers: even though you can’t pump your own gas, these tips can still help keep you safe.
- Don’t re-enter your car while fueling. Doing so can cause small amounts of static electricity to build up (especially in cool, dry weather). Sparks and gasoline fumes are literally an explosive combination. If you must get back inside your car, make sure to discharge any static electricity, by touching something metal at a safe distance from the nozzle.
- Don’t use your cellphone while fueling. No, not because of the risk of an electrical spark causing an explosion – that’s a rumor that has proven to have a remote possibility at best. It’s more about the amount of traffic around gas stations. Stay alert and focused on what’s going on around you.
- Don’t overfill your tank. If you do you risk spilling gas, which can be dangerous (see #1). Most gas pumps will turn off automatically once the tank is filled. Trust the pump.
- Practice good gas hygiene. Gasoline contains the chemical benzene, which is harmful when inhaled or absorbed through the skin. If you need to wash gasoline from your skin, don’t panic: a little lukewarm water and non-abrasive soap will work just fine. If it gets in your eyes, the Mayo Clinic recommends flushing them with clean lukewarm tap water for at least 20 seconds, washing your hands, removing contact lenses and seeking medical assistance.
- Keep children in the car. Many children are fascinated by cars and gadgets. But when it comes to pumping gas, keep them in the car. Toxic fumes can irritate preexisting conditions like asthma, and any splash back from the nozzle will occur right at the level of a child’s face.
- And seriously, don’t smoke while you’re at a gas station.
What have you seen people pumping gas and doing things they shouldn’t? Share your stories in the comments.