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Running on Empty - Drivers ignore fuel warning light


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Running on Empty - Drivers ignore fuel warning light

Every year 827,000 drivers ignore the warning light telling them that their fuel gauge is empty.

A survey by an insurance company revealed that around 25 per cent of those questioned believed they could drive for at least another 40 miles before they completely ran out of fuel.

The report also found that two million drivers admitted to driving with the fuel warning light showing on a permanent basis. This was mainly because they were attempting to search for fuel at a cheaper petrol station before conking out.

Men, on average, thought that their vehicle still had enough fuel for another 32 miles when the red light was on, while women were more cautious and suspected it was likely the engines would last for 24 miles. Two thirds of the drivers who used all of the petrol in their cars were was under-35.

This was despite the risks of driving with low fuel in the tank and the damage it can cause to the car. Drivers can also put themselves in unnecessary danger if they have stopped at a dark and isolated place.

According to a recent newspaper story, Mercedes-Benz C-Class can continue cruising for another 46 miles on average. But a Vauxhall Astra would likely only carry on for half of that distance – around 26 miles so different cars can vary greatly.

The fuel gauge is only a very basic instrument and only provides a rough guide as how much petrol or diesel is remaining in the tank.

The tank level, itself, is measured by a float in a similar way a ballcock is in a toilet cistern. The level of the float is relayed to the gauge either electronically or with the use of metallic strips and coils.

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