Gas Tanks: Why Aren’t All Fuel Doors on the Same Side?

 

Preference

Americans prefer left-mounted fuel doors, said Schirmer, referencing a Ford study. A driver’s-side fuel door makes it easier for drivers to place the car’s left fender close to fuel pump. Still, fuel door location is typically not part of the buying decision, added Schirmer.

Those in Japan, India, the United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and countries in southern Africa drive on the left side of the road and sit on the right side of the car, and it appears they prefer right-mounted fuel doors, given the tendencies of car manufacturers. For at least 25 years, the conventional wisdom among auto writers has been that Europeans like right-side doors. However, when I posed this to my industry co-horts, no car company would speculate if or why that might be true.

Nissan, like most automakers, produces some vehicles with left fuel doors and some with right doors.

Reasons

“The placement of the fuel door is mainly a factor of fuel tank design, location and underbody packaging,” Nissan’s Steve Yaeger wrote in an email. “With all of the structure and components located underneath the vehicle, (engineers) would quickly encounter restrictions in trying to route the filler tube to the same side on every vehicle.”

If mechanisms such as a “big, honkin’ speaker” must be placed on the left side, engineers put the fuel door on the right, notes Schirmer.

The bottom line: Fuel door position is not a random choice, but if engineers have a good reason to place fuel doors on the right, that’s where they go.

If you can’t remember the location of your fuel door, don’t be ashamed to look at the little diamond-arrow on your fuel gauge … BEFORE you pull up to the pump.

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Dangers of Distracted Driving

Woman driving distracted behind the wheel

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert your attention away from the main task of driving.1It is something that is both dangerous and disturbingly common. In fact, drivers spend more than half of their time focused on things other than driving.2 You may be surprised to learn that cell phones and texting are just part of the problem when it comes to distracted driving. While stowing your phone while you drive is an important safety step, other behaviors behind the wheel, from drinking coffee to using a navigation system, may also be putting you at risk.

“The fact is, everything that occupies your mind or your vision can contribute to distraction behind the wheel,” explains Chris Hayes, Safety Professional from Travelers. “While many distracted driving studies focus on cell phones, any type of multi-tasking activity and driving simply do not mix.”

A list of driving distractions may include:

  • Dialing or using a smartphone;
  • Texting;
  • Eating or drinking;
  • Talking to passengers;
  • Grooming;
  • Reading;
  • Programming a GPS or navigation system;
  • Adjusting a radio or MP3 player.

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How to Drive Safely in Strong Wind and Rain

cars and trucks driving in heavy rain and wind

 

Driving in conditions that involve strong or heavy wind and rain may not seem like the most pressing safety concern for many drivers, but our safety professionals know that driving in any type of severe weather can significantly increase your risk and potential for a dangerous situation for you, your family and other drivers. Remember that severe weather demands your undivided attention, so be sure to reduce any possible distractions by turning the radio down or turning off that phone to keep your attention fully on the road. Keep in mind that sometimes the best driving decision you can make is to stay off the road completely until the weather clears.

Driving in Heavy Winds

Wind may seem like a minor risk, but this weather condition deserves special consideration from drivers. Strong wind can occur just about anywhere, but it can be more common in wide open spaces. Areas for concern also include highway overpasses, tunnels and ‘road cuts’ through mountainous areas that can act as funnels for wind. The following tips can help keep you on the road and safe if you encounter heavy winds.

1. Anticipate gusts. Take special care when driving through areas prone to strong winds or when weather reports predict severe weather.

2. Notice larger vehicles. Be aware of large vehicles on the road such as tractor-trailers and recreational vehicles. They are more susceptible to high winds and drivers may have difficulties staying in their lanes.

3. Keep a firm grip on the wheel. Keep both hands on the wheel in case the wind begins to move your vehicle, especially if you are driving a large vehicle or towing a trailer.

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