Oil companies must communicate more clearly to leave cell in your vehicle when gassing up

Using a cell phone and pumping gas can be a lethal combination. I get the feeling many people don’t know this. I thought it was an urban myth when I first heard it. But my husband, who works for a Major Oil Company, explained why this is indeed dangerous.

A cell phone that’s powered up gives off an electrical charge. Pumping gas into your tank displaces vapours. If you are having a cell phone conversation or if your phone rings with those vapours in the air, you’re at risk. Electrical charge plus gas vapours can be explosive.

Bad accidents have happened. (Google cell phones in gas stations for some compelling videos.) Best advice – leave your cell phone inside the vehicle.

So that’s interesting but here’s my point – a few days ago we explained this danger to a young man who was having a cell conversation while filling a jerry can. He was genuinely surprised – and quite grateful. We looked around the pumps for the warning sign to bolster our credibility – nothing.

As a communications professional I ask – why don’t the oil companies make a bigger deal of this? I’ve noticed that some (not all, as we saw) stations have little graphic of a cell phone with a red line through it – but they are small and blend into the background – along with the info about how much of the price of gas goes to taxes. The warning must be prominently displayed.

Apparently some phone companies include a warning in the manual – they are trying (though ever read your cell phone manual?) I think it’s up to Big Oil to be clearer about the potential danger.

Did you know it’s dangerous to talk on your cell while gassing up?


3 responses to “Oil companies must communicate more clearly to leave cell in your vehicle when gassing up

  1. I see this all the time and now I leave so in the event it (an explosion) happens I am not endangering myself or anyone I know. I’ve tried to warn these people (when I see them on their phones and fueling their gas tanks) but they are oblivious and may even take offense. The oil companies really need to take action and alert the public.

  2. Ashley – I agree it can be awkward to talk to other customers about this. Instead I’ve taken to telling the attendant that someone is on the phone – it’s that person’s job to watch over the place after all.

  3. thanks for the article, I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along ..nice blog

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