We’re used to being able to drop in to a service station and fuel up our vehicles whenever we’re passing. This sometimes means we habitually run close to empty before filling up. When everything works as we would like this isn’t an issue, but in an emergency suddenly realising your tank is nearly empty can turn a problem into a nightmare.
One really simple thing we can do, to avoid this becoming a major problem, is to keep our cars topped up with fuel more frequently. Decide in advance on a minimum fuel level, in keeping with your car owner’s manual safe operating instructions, and stick to it. The five minutes it takes to fuel up can seem a hassle at the end of a long day at work, but it’s far less hassle than needing to fuel up in an emergency.
Consider a few very possible situations:
- You live in a rural area and it’s several miles to the nearest service station. The weather isn’t great and as you pull in you see the pump you need is locked. The weather has caused a delay to the delivery. As you get back into the car you realise there isn’t enough fuel to make the journey to the next nearest station.
- You’ve an important appointment this morning some distance away, and as you dress you hear on the news that strike action means petrol shortages and long queues of panic buyers at service stations. You realise it’s not going to be a quick job fuelling up, if they even have any fuel left.
- You woke up late, and you’re risking being late for work – again. As you get into your car you realise you need to fuel up or you won’t get there at all. The commuter rush at the service station seals your fate.
- A fire at a local factory, such as the Nuclear Weapons factory in Berkshire a few years ago, the Leicester factory fire last year, or the Fish Processing factory in Peterhead this year, means police are evacuating the local area. You wanted to get ahead of the traffic, but you can’t because you need to fuel up first.
- One you’ll be reminded of for years to come, your wife finally seems to be going into labour, and instead of having a relatively straightforward journey to the maternity ward, she get’s a five minute stop off at the petrol station on the way. You’ll be lucky if she doesn’t give birth in the car on the way there.
We can probably imagine some of these scenarios applying to us, and we haven’t mentioned the most serious either, because we don’t expect them. But maybe we should. If you live in a flood area, can you leave in a hurry? What if you’re hit by some other natural disaster, terrorist attack, shortage, or even if your cash card doesn’t work?
Taking this simple precaution in line with your car users manual, can take a lot of stress out of emergency or pressured situations. Why take the chance when the solution is so simple?