By Allison Ford, DivineCaroline
In what may be one of Hollywood’s most truly tragic death scenes, three really, really ridiculously good-looking male models meet a fiery end at a gas station. The trio is innocently cavorting and spraying each other with gasoline when one of them has the unfortunate urge to light a cigarette and … KABOOM.
Freak gasoline-fight accidents aside, fires, especially those caused by static electricity, are a serious safety concern at service stations. The potent mixture of gasoline, diesel, and other volatile chemicals on the premises—just waiting to be ignited by an errant spark—makes these seemingly boring businesses potential powder kegs. To reduce the chances of reenacting your own version of Zoolander, follow these simple tips for safe pumping.
1. Don’t get back in your car.
Many drivers make the mistake of getting back into their cars to wait for the pump to finish. In fact, drivers who get in and out of their cars are responsible for about 50 percent of filling-station static fires, according to the Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI). As the driver slides across the seat, she is more likely to build up static electricity on her body. Once she touches the gas pump, a spark could ignite spilled gasoline or its vapors. Interestingly, women trigger about 80 percent of static fires. Some experts believe this is because of women’s increased propensity for getting back into their cars to tend to children or to look for a purse or wallet. It could also simply be that women, more than men, prefer not to wait outside when the weather’s bad. Cold weather is especially conducive to static electricity, so cold-weather drivers (men and women alike) should be extra careful to wait outside their cars while pumping gas. If you must get back into your car while refueling, be sure to touch a piece of metal (such as the car’s door frame) when you get out; this will safely discharge any static buildup you may have accumulated before you touch the gas nozzle.