You don't have to park right up tight, next to the fuel pumps. Most "lanes" between pumps at gas stations are large enough for a semi-truck or a large pick-up with "dualies" to pull through with plenty of room, so leave some space between your vehicle and the fuel pumps.
Park with a good three to four feet of space between your vehicle and the fuel pumps. That is usually enough space to allow you to exit the opposite direction of a person poses a threat to you. It's also enough space that makes it more difficult for two threats or attackers to "box" you in between them, the fuel pumps, and your vehicle.
Some additional tips to consider while fueling up:
- Be observant. Yes, situational awareness. Whether it's a suspicious person or driver in another vehicle who isn't paying attention, gas stations are transitional spaces where both accidents and attacks can occur. Also, be mindful of someone trying to distract you while an accomplice takes advantage of you being distracted.
- Lock your doors. If you're not in your vehicle, someone can get in via an unlocked door to steal your vehicle or something in it. If you're in your vehicle checking your phone, resetting your instrument panel, or whatever... an unlocked door will allow an attacker to get to you when you are vulnerable and distracted.
- Don't leave your vehicle running. A running vehicle with an unlocked door is an easy target and car thieves look for it. Also, if you have children in the vehicle... a running vehicle with children inside and no adult is a recipe for disaster.
- Leave space between your vehicle and other vehicles in front of and behind you. That will allow you to pull out and "escape" in your vehicle if needed. If you pull up tight behind the vehicle in front of you at the fuel pumps, a vehicle can pull in behind you and easily leave your vehicle blocked/boxed in.
- Be patient, be polite. Getting into an argument about who was in line first or who "stole" a fuel pump spot from who isn't worth it. Smile, relax, and enjoy a couple of minutes of life while letting that other potential road-rager get their gas and get out of there.
There are many other tips that could be shared about gas stations, personal defense, and safety... but we'll focus on this specific aspect for now. What tips do you follow when you're at the pumps?