This is the shocking moment when a motorist comes within inches of being seriously injured or killed after opening his car door as a vehicle is passing.

In a video captured by driving instructor Peter Scott on his dashcam, the owner of a green Freelander swings open his door, which is then hit and ripped off its hinges by a white Fiesta as it drives by (skip to the one-minute mark):

Close call

The incident took place in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear and, according to Scott from the Drewmatic Automatic Driving School, “nobody was hurt, but this is an example why you should check your mirrors and blind spots before exiting your vehicle, and why you should try to pass a door’s width from parked vehicles.”

And the Highway Code agrees with Rule 239 stating: “If you have to stop on the roadside, you MUST ensure you do not hit anyone when you open your door. Check for cyclists or other traffic.”

Threat of ‘Dooring’

Opening a door into another road user – known as ‘dooring’ – is far more prevalent than you might think.

For instance, two people die from dooring each year in the UK and over 700 are injured.

To help combat the issue, it is reported that a variant of the Dutch Reach will be soon be introduced into the Highway Code. The technique is designed to ensure you never risk opening your door into passing traffic.

Here’s how it works:

  • You are parked on the left hand side of the road, ready to get out.
  • Instead of a cursory glance over your shoulder, you reach across your body with your left hand to grab the door handle.
  • As you turn your body, you instinctively look at the side mirror before looking over your shoulder.
  • You check the road behind you for other road users before opening the car door safely.

The technique is based on one taught in the Netherlands (hence its name – the ‘Dutch Reach’).

However, over there, the checking process is far more involved; the driver has to wind down their window before reaching out with their hand to pull on the external, not interior, door handle.

In the UK, it’s best to ask your driving instructor to take you through the simplified Dutch Reach process so you know exactly what to do. That way, you can guarantee your own safety when exiting from a vehicle – as well as the safety of other road users.

Learn the rules of the road

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