Imagine you just parked your car along a busy street. You gather your belongings and you are about to exit your car. When you go to open your door which arm do you use to reach out and open it? Majority of Americans will say they use their left hand to open the door since it is the one that is closest to the door, of course.
However, those in the Netherlands do it differently! Why would anyone use their right arm to reach over and open the door while exiting their car since after all isn’t that more work? Using your right arm to open your car door seems odd and not logical to some. Well the practice is called the Dutch Reach and it actually saves lives!
How to Properly Use a Dutch Reach
The Dutch reach is the practice of drivers and passengers using their far hand to open the car door when exiting the vehicle. You reach across your body to be able to reach the handle. In the Netherlands the “Dutch reach” is actually taught in drivers’ education courses and is a common practice (which is why it is referred to as the Dutch reach).
The Dutch Reach Can Help Save Lives
Why is this practice so important and saving lives? It forces the person exiting the car to twist their body, so they automatically look out and back for oncoming bicyclists and other traffic. Although, the overall amount of bicycle accidents in the United States has been declining the number of fatal bike accidents continue to rise especially in urban areas.
The top ten most dangerous cities for bicyclists are Albuquerque, Tucson, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Jose, Columbus, San Francisco, Memphis, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. These cities are large urban area with a high amount of traffic and they are seeing an increase in the number of bicyclists on the roads too. For example, San Francisco has seen an increase in bicyclists by 13 percent from 2011 to 2016. With the increase in bicyclists it is important to implement the practice of the Dutch reach to be sure your car door doesn’t come in contact with a bicyclist. It is important to remember that bicyclists and pedestrians don’t typically wear a lot of protective gear as a result, being hit by a car door can cause serious injuries.
The Dutch reach is an easy practice to implement to help reduce the risk of causing injury to bicyclists, pedestrians, or even other drivers.