Home' Horizons : April-May 2012 Contents PHOTOGRAPHY: THINKSTOCK IMAGES.
rounds five years ago and argues
that popping on sunnies will
help you see through the rain
While it is true polarised
sunglasses can assist in some
website Snopes.com says they
help counteract the scattering
of light caused by rain or fog),
non-polarised sunglasses will not
have this effect.
Wearing sunglasses at night
won't help you do anything but
have an accident, however, since
they reduce contrast and disrupt
your depth perception.
The idea that you should fill
up when cold is based on the
premise that petrol expands as its
temperature rises (true), and that
a warm litre of fuel contains less
energy than a cool litre of fuel
But since petrol is stored in
underground tanks where the
temperature is virtually constant,
the outside temperature has little
influence on the temperature of
the fuel in the underground tank.
Further, petrol bowsers are
calibrated to dispense the
equivalent of one litre at 15°C. For
example, if the fuel is warmer than
this, the volume dispensed may be
greater than a litre, but it would be
equivalent energy to a litre at 15°C.
Rather than beating the dawn
chorus to save a little fuel, try
the WA Department of Transport's
tips to cut your petrol bill.
It says you can save up to
30 per cent of fuel consumption
by accelerating gently (take five
seconds to accelerate 20km/h) and
by cruising at a steady pace.
Stay in the fuel-efficient zone
for revs of 1500 to 2500 and use
the air conditioner sparingly, since
it can boost fuel consumption by
more than 10 per cent.
Can a badly timed phone call
prompt an explosion?
The Australian Transport Safety
Bureau says that of 243 reports of
fires breaking out at petrol stations
around the world over a 10-year
period, not one was found to be
triggered by a mobile phone.
The Bureau says it was a hoax
email in the 1990s that first linked
fires to phones and supposed
examples have been reported and
re-reported since. Unless the phone
actually malfunctions, causing
a spark, it is not likely to pose a
threat other than as a distraction to
a driver trying to refuel.
The Bureau says people often
experience the slight charge of
static electricity when hopping
out of the car, usually when they
touch the door. If the first point
of contact with metal is the metal
pump nozzle, however, "the spark
may ignite the surrounding fuel
vapours and cause a brief flash fire".
You can reduce the risk by
discharging any static by touching
the metal of your door before you
get to the pump and not hopping
in and out of the car during
However, if there are signs
indicating that mobile phones
should not be used, then
those signs should be obeyed.
Dropping a phone on the
ground while refuelling a car
is still a potential safety hazard
and handling a highly explosive
fuel should command the
consumer's full attention.
It might be an old story but it
has some truth: eventually heavy
keys can damage the ignition lock
mechanism and cause it to fail.
Just what counts as 'too many
keys' is the question, but most
cars should be able to stand
the average key ring without
"But if your key ring has
so many keys that it looks
like it could belong to
a medieval dungeon master,
there's a chance that the extra
weight hanging from it could
damage the ignition barrel or
the ignition key itself," said the
RAC's Alex Forrest.
"Generally speaking, damage
to either is more likely if it's an
older car, given there may be
some pre-existing wear."
Thanks to the enthusiasm
people have for avoiding speed
camera fines, there are dozens
of products promising to save
you from fines by obscuring
your licence plate.
The television program
Mythbusters conducted tests
after seeing wild claims by
products available online,
including that glitter covers with
microcrystals deflect the flash,
that hard plastic covers distort
the view of the plate from an
angle, that plastic food wrap
stops detection, and that special
sprays or hair spray can foil
Mythbusters found none of
the products worked, and even
when the plate numbers were
3Only fill up
early in the
the day wears
on the petrol grows
warmer and you get
less bang for your buck.
many keys on
your key ring
can wreck your
plate acts as
shield so that speed
cameras can't read it
when it snaps your car.
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