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Time to go Dutch

Car dooring is a problem which shouldn’t really exist. A quick check before you exit your car should stop you accidentally opening your door on to a passing cyclist, motorcyclist or even pedestrian. If you’re not already familiar with the Dutch Reach, it’s a safety technique designed to quickly become a good habit. It simply involves using the hand furthest from the car door to open it – the left hand if you’re the driver, and the right if you’re a passenger. In doing so, you automatically turn your body, forcing your head to look directly to the side and towards the rear of your vehicle, eliminating the blind spot and giving you full visibility of the immediate area and any cyclist. By using the opposite hand, you’re also less likely to swing the door open widely, further reducing the risk. By adopting this habit, it also means that if you’re in a rush or distracted by conversation, for example, you don’t have to actively remember to check as you’ll automatically be opening your door safely. This useful technique has been Dutch common sense since the 1960s, and today new drivers in the Netherlands are taught the movement as part of the driving test. If you need a further cue, attach a ribbon, sticker or even rubber band near your door handle to remind you.