Europe has a new rule for… opening car doors? And it’s all thanks to the Dutch

Introducing: The 'Dutch reach' 🚗

Back in March, the European Parliament approved a bunch of new rules for driving on European streets. One of them is a new way of opening car doors, which will soon be part of driving tests across the EU.

Sounds bizarre? Well, it’s not!

The so-called “Dutch reach,” inspired by our beloved Nederlanders, refers to the practice of using your far hand to open car doors.

That means if you’re getting out of a car using the door on your left side, you use your right hand to grab the handle and swing it open. 🫲

Practice what you reach

Why do the Dutch do this? As The Brussels Times writes, the slightly awkward movement of reaching across their chest forces car passengers to automatically look over their shoulders.

This makes all incoming traffic — be it on foot, bike, or car — immediately visible.

In the Netherlands, where there are more bicycles than people (but far too few helmets), this ingenious method of opening car doors has been a fundamental part of Dutch driving education for decades.

READ MORE | Why driving in the Netherlands is stressful: My experience of living in the Netherlands

It isn’t 100% certain how long the practice has been around, but one DutchReview reader says they had to demonstrate the reach on their driving test all the way back in 1986—and they still practice it today!

By making the Dutch reach part of driver’s education across Europe, Europe hopes to instil the move in young drivers as an automatism — and to save lives in the meantime.

Have you ever heard of the Dutch reach? Will you be practising it from now on? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Feature Image:Freepik
Lyna Meyrer 🇱🇺
Lyna Meyrer 🇱🇺
Say 'hoi' to Lyna, our Senior Writer at DutchReview! Fueled by a love for writing, social media, and all things Dutch, she joined the DR family in 2022. Since making the Netherlands her home in 2018, she has collected a BA in English Literature & Society (Hons.) and an RMA in Arts, Literature and Media (Hons.). Even though she grew up just a few hours away from the Netherlands, Lyna remains captivated by the guttural language, quirky culture, and questionable foods that make the Netherlands so wonderfully Dutch.


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