Posted by: safedriver | December 5, 2010

Are you pumped?

There are many things we need to do as a driver; from proper observational skills, to co-ordination, response time, and early thought processing, but what about the ability to pump gas? Does it take skill, luck or any knowledge whatsoever? How many times have you seen drivers do it incorrectly that it makes you chuckle or stare? During season 2 of Canada’s Worst Driver, they did a challenge called “Canada’s Worst Gas Station” and the results were painful to watch.

As a driving instructor with Young Drivers of Canada, we would often take our students to the gas station if they had never experienced what to do at the self-service side. I’ve realized that if you’ve never really watched what to do and haven’t had anyone show you, you most likely wouldn’t know how to put gas into your vehicle. We try to help our students as much as we can, but some divers never really got any help. How are your pumping skills?

The first error I see with drivers coming to the gas station is when they don’t know which side of their vehicle the gas cap is on. Have you ever seen someone pull the gas pump hose across the trunk so they can put the nozzle into their vehicle? The easiest way to find out is to look around your vehicle prior to entering it to notice which side has the gas cap. Another way is to check your fuel gauge. A lot of vehicles have a small arrow beside the picture of the gas pump on the dashboard. The arrow points to the side that has the gas cap.

I’ve also seen drivers pull so close to the pump they can’t open their door to get out of their vehicle. I’ve seen drivers bang their car door on the protective posts near the pumps when they try to get out. Why not reposition your vehicle so you can avoid damaging the door? It’s important to leave enough space to not only open your door, but to be able to stand beside your vehicle to pump the gas.

Most vehicles have the gas cap attached to the vehicle in some way. This is a good idea so you can’t lose it. If your vehicle doesn’t have that option, place the cap somewhere you will see it when you’re done with the nozzle. Some suggestions I’ve given in the past have been the driver’s seat, the dashboard of your vehicle, on the gas pump itself (right above where you replace the nozzle) and even in your other hand. We sometimes get a little distracted after pumping gas, especially if you’ve prepaid for the fuel, that we forget to replace the nozzle, but these places will help you replace it where it belongs.

For Many years, the gas station industry has built more self-service gas stations than full-service stations. The purpose was to save the consumer money. That’s a great idea, but there have been some things that the average driver doesn’t get done if they avoid the full-service stations.

The full-service gas stations in the past have checked the fluid levels under the hood. A lot of drivers are unaware of which fluids need to be checked, let alone how to check them. It can quite often be too late to adjust the fluid levels once the warning lights come on the dashboard while you’re driving. The other thing to note about the full-service stations; you’re paying a higher price for this service. You can stay in your vehicle on cold, rainy, snowy days and let the attendant do the work. And no; you don’t have to tip them.

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