You would be pleased to know that Nigeria is among the countries with the cheapest fuel prices in the world. This is why you happily drive into a filling station to refill your car fuel, trust us when we say that two voices speak in your head at the same time.
One says "kill your engine before you refuel because it is the safest thing to do" while the other says "there is no need to switch off your engine because it is harmless to your car". However, the second voice is the one you are not sure of so you will rather turn off your engine to avoid funny and sad stories.
We all know how uncontrollable fire incidents can be
The big question for today is based on that other voice, "if you don't switch off your engine while refilling your fuel tank, will you die?". You would be pleased to know that buying car fuel with engine running can kill you in 4 ways, which is what we will be talking about today.
Back in the days, Nigerian fuel stations always have signposts that read "please switch off your engine" & "please switch off your phones" but these days, we don't see these signs anymore except the "no smoking" sign.
The funniest "No Smoking" sign ever
The fuel pump in Nigeria is now ₦163, still cheap but we cannot afford to waste any more petrol from the explosion of cars at gas stations.
Now, how dangerous is it to leave your car running while you refuel? You are about to find out.
The 5 things that can happen while you are doing car refuel with the engine still running?
1. Vapour can come in contact with electricity/heat
Vapour is the gas that you see around the fuel nozzle when you are refilling your car. There is also vapour produced inside your car fuel tank to increase your car fuel efficiency. When you don't switch off your car's engine, the car is still producing vapour inside the gas tank and this will escape because the fuel tank is opened and the car is vibrating.
Excess heat/electricity coming in contact with vapour is a leading cause of car explosions. We all know how hot Nigeria is, that is a primary source of excess heat.
Also, electricity can come from even your phone. This is why it is best for the car's engine to be off so that the only vapour escaping will be the one from the fuel nozzle.
2. Fuel can spill and be ignited by your car
While you are filling up your tank, there is always a high probability that there would be a spill during the process. It gets worse when you are filling up your tank.
You can see the fuel spill here
You know how your cup overflows with foam when pouring beer/malt in a cup? This is the same way fuel acts especially if it is petrol. It will overflow and pour to the ground which can cause ignition if the car's engine is running.
The exhaust tip of cars gets hot very easily while the car is running and this can lead to an outburst of flames in the petrol station.
Exhaust tip of cars get so hot and can ignite from a spill
>>> Read also: How to silence a noisy car exhaust
3. Static electricity can be discharged and cause a fire
If you did basic physics in school, you will remember a simple experiment where you are asked to rub your pencil or biro between your hair and then this pen will easily attract a piece of paper because there is a form of static electricity in the pen.
Static electricity is a weird concept that causes fire
When we seat in our cars, there is a form of static electricity in our clothes because of the contact between your clothes and the car's chair. This static electricity can discharge from your body if you are close to the fuel nozzle and this will cause a flash fire that can make your car fuel tank explode.
4. Restarting your engine sets everywhere on fire
Nobody likes being cheated so most of us as drivers love to confirm that the fuel being sold into our cars gets to the appropriate fuel level on the car fuel gauge before you drive out of the fuel station. Especially when we drive one of the most fuel-efficient cars in Nigeria.
If you have a shooting flame type of car then you should not even dare buy fuel while the engine is on
When you don't switch off your engine while refuelling, it will be easy for you to forget that you should not switch off and switch on your car engine you check the fuel level. This has been the source of many fuel station fire. Igniting a car while fuel is being pumped into the tank leads to a powerful ignition of the fire through the car fuel lines.
5. Nothing will happen
The last scenario is that nothing dangerous will happen. We have watched movies where cars get refuelled even as they drive and in a lot of car racing competitions, they do not kill the engine to refuel just to save time because that is all that matters in a race.
However, there are engineering professionals that make sure that there will be no cause for a fire while refuelling.
Has anybody died from doing car refuel with the engine running before?
In 1998, Joey Kramer the drummer of Aerosmith; a popular rock band was badly burned when his Ferrari caught fire while it was being refuelled at a Boston area gas station.
Joey Kramer's Ferarri burnt down to ashes
Investigators said that the car was running while the gasoline tank was being filled. The engine in the Ferrari is in the middle area of the car, near the gas tank and the car fuel pump is also in the middle. This was what led to the ignition.
He almost died and we are sure a lot of people have died from leaving their car running while refuelling all around the world.
What is the best fuel station practice?
The best and safest way around filling your tank in the fuel station is to avoid picking up calls and switch off your engine until the fuel has been sold and your fuel tank has been properly closed.
This way, you will not be a victim of any mishap that can come from feeding your car with its essential needs.
Now that you know that buying fuel car with its engine running engine can kill you in 4 ways, you should be more careful while buying petrol/diesel or whatever your car runs on and most importantly, always kill your engine before taking the car to the fuel attendant.
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