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Dutch Reach is a term that can be used to refer a practice for drivers and passengers for opening their vehicle’s door. Person opening the door need to use their farthest hand from the door to open the door of the vehicle. This practice is believed to be a series of five actions which are

  • Reach for the door
  • Turn around
  • Look back
  • Open slowly
  • Exit facing traffic
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This practice requires you to reach across your chest to open the door. The action would force you to almost turn around by your waist and look into the rear view mirror. The rear view mirror would show all the incoming traffic. You can also look back out of the window and then begin to open the door, which allows a continuous view of traffic coming towards your vehicle and help you prepare for exit. This practice is completely contrast to just opening the door and getting out.

The Dutch Reach method helps in avoiding collisions, often referred to as ‘doorings’ or ‘being doored’. When a driver or passenger opens a vehicle door into the path of incoming traffic, resulting in collision or avoidance maneuvers is known as dooring. In few cases dooring could result in injury and in very rear cases can cause death too.

This practice would help in protecting drivers and passengers themselves from being stuck by any incoming vehicle or person. It also reduces the risk of damaging or tearing off of the car door.

The drivers can check in the rear-view mirror and side-view mirror while opening their car’s door with the far side hand. It helps drivers to look for cyclists coming towards them while getting out of their vehicle. Experts suggest that it is always better to open the door slowly rather than flinging it open.

People opening car doors and close overtaking in front of the cyclists, are not only dangerous but also put people out of their bikes. Cyclists around the world are demanding for such rule, as they are the people who suffer most because of dooring, even if it is not their fault.

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The concept behind dutch reach has been familiar to learner drivers in Netherlands since 1970 (at least), but the phrase is unknown in the country as the word was coined in 2016 by retired physician Michael Charney of Cambridge Mass. He launched dutchreach.org to popularize the car door opening technique after he learned the death of a nursing student in his locality because of dooring. The technique was initially mentioned by U.S. historian Russell Shorto in an article in New York Times in 2011.

Some jurisdictions across the country have adopted this technique and incorporated in their road rules for safety of motorists and cyclists. A country like United Kingdom has imposed fines for dooring and is considered as a criminal offence. There are very few states or countries who have made dutch reach a must in their safety regulations. It is high time, that such simple technique need to be part of government regulations as it believed to save lots of life across the world.