Big changes can start from small things – and one seemingly trivial gesture that’s gradually gaining recognition for its life-saving potential is a simple maneuver called the “Dutch Reach.”
For more than 50 years, the Dutch Reach has been a mainstay of roadway safety in the Netherlands. It’s taught in driver’s ed classes, parents model the action for their children – and drivers even have to use it to pass their driving tests. If you’re curious to learn more, keep reading:
How does the Dutch Reach work?
The Dutch Reach is a pretty straightforward process: Wherever you’re sitting in a motor vehicle, just use the furthest hand from the door when you go to exit it. In other words, if you’re the driver or sitting on the driver’s side of the vehicle, you would use your right hand to open your door. If you’re sitting on the passenger side of the vehicle, you would use your left hand.
Doing this automatically forces you to swivel in your seat, so that you automatically can see the side mirrors, what’s next to the vehicle and – with no real effort – what’s coming up beside you from behind.
Why is this important? It stops “dooring” accidents, which occur when someone in a vehicle opens their door directly into the path of an oncoming bicyclist or motorcyclist. When a dooring accident occurs, the hapless cyclist either collides with the open door and is flung headlong onto the street – or they are forced to swerve into traffic and risk a collision there. Either way, the likelihood of serious or fatal injuries is pretty high.
If you want to save lives and spread the word, make the Dutch Reach part of your routine – and teach it to your passengers as you go. You could save someone’s life.
Accidents involving motor vehicles happen all the time – but not always the way people expect. If you or your loved one falls victim to a “dooring” accident, find out what it takes to get fair compensation for your losses.