Like any establishment frequented by the public such as a church or restaurant, it's important to be considerate to others in the same facility. Sometimes however, locations like gas stations can be a source of conflict. After all, it's just a stop for many motorists that need to get somewhere else. A little misunderstanding here, coupled with the stress of heavy traffic or the fatigue of driving can quickly lead to an argument or maybe even fisticuffs. Many of these can be avoided if we just practice a few habits and become a little more considerate of our fellow motorists.

Etiquette Series: How to properly fill up at the Gas Station

Stay in the right lane

Courtesy starts even before you arrive at the gas station. If you need to fill up, and you're nearby a gas station, switch on your turn signal and slowly make your way to the right lane. Plan this as far ahead as possible to avoid swerving.

Etiquette Series: How to properly fill up at the Gas Station

Find your fuel flap

This should go without saying but some drivers don't quite remember which side the fuel tank cap of their car is. If you're not quite sure, there's a handy little clue right on the dials in front of you. Look for the little icon of the fuel pump on your fuel gauge. It will have a little arrow on one side pointing to where the fuel cap is. Simply line up to the fuel pump on the side. Signs in front of the rows of fuel pumps indicate which fuels are on that row.

Line up

Line it up

With the basics out of the way, it's time to move up habits most motorists don't practice. When approaching a relatively empty station, fill up at the fuel pump further forward. This leaves room for a car to also fuel up behind you.

Also, try to bring your car closer to the pump, leaving a gap of just 1 1/2 feet to a maximum of 3 feet from the pump itself. This leaves ample room for cars on the lane adjacent to you while still leaving room for the attendant to walk between the car and the pump.

Etiquette Series: How to properly fill up at the Gas Station

Shut off the engine and cellphones

Once aligned at the pump, be kind and shut off the engine. Also, avoid using your phone. Many gas stations will say this is for safety. The chance of static electricity sparks igniting fuel vapors is relatively remote in humid countries like ours. However, another reason to turn off the engine is to make the working environment a little more tolerable and a little less noxious for our hardworking attendants. Avoiding phone use also keeps you alert to check if the right fuel is indeed being put in your car.

Etiquette Series: How to properly fill up at the Gas Station

Have the amount and cards ready

Once the attendant comes to your window, have the cash or card payment, and or fuel or discount cards ready. Handing them together can save them a few trips, process your payment faster and serve the next customer more quickly.

Etiquette Series: How to properly fill up at the Gas Station

The wait

Perhaps another thing we've all experienced is the dreaded wait, be it for our change, the receipt or confirmation of card payment. If the pump is already disconnected and the fuel flap is closed, be kind and move a little forward. If there's any car waiting behind, this lets them get closer to the pump and get fuel in their car. If not, it tells any cars that are arriving behind you that you are done and just awaiting your receipt or change. If any companions in your car have bought something in the station's shop, move the car out of the fuel pump lanes and closer to the shop.

Etiquette Series: How to properly fill up at the Gas Station

Pumping up tires

Just like fuel, be considerate and line up when putting air in your tires too. If there is no car lined up behind you after you're done and there is no attendant helping you, be considerate and roll up the hose. Mounts are provided to properly store the hose. The air pump is typically out of order in some stations because some patrons sometimes damage hoses just left on the ground by running over them.

Double parking

Perhaps the most common source of arguments is over parking in the shop area. In some highway stations particularly on long weekends, parking spaces can be very hard to come by.

As such, sometimes we have little choice but to wait while double parked. When doing so, avoid blocking vital facilities like the air pump, wheelchair ramps, or the workshop.

When double parked, try to bring your car as close to the parked cars as possible in order to leave other cars enough room to pass by you. If you're simply waiting in your car for your companion to come back to the car, indicate this by turning on your hazard lights when double parked with the engine running. If you're waiting for a parking space, indicate it by lighting the turn signal (not the hazard lights), pointing to the side you're waiting on.

If you have to use the bathroom and can't afford to wait for a space, it's important to tell any nearby security on duty that you are doing so. This way, any customers boxed in by your double parked car will know you'll be back right away.

By practicing these habits, you will not only gain the appreciation of the attendants but other motorists as well, making the long drive a little better for everyone in the process.