EU driving tests will soon include the Dutch Reach

EU driving tests will soon include the Dutch Reach

When taking your driving test there’s soon going to be a new assessment - the way you reach to open the door! The EU is planning to introduce the “Dutch reach” as part of the driving requirements for all new drivers, to encourage drivers to pay more attention to cyclists on the road. 

EU moves to toughen driving rules across the bloc

The European Union is keen to toughen driving rules across the trade block, for example by proposing lower alcohol limits for those who have recently obtained their driving licence and making the roads safer for cyclists. As part of this package, drivers will now be examined on how they open their door, and whether or not they use the “Dutch reach” - a cross-body grip using the opposite hand to open the door so that drivers are more likely to look outside and prevent collisions with cyclists as they step out of the car. 

In the Netherlands, this method has been known for a long time already as the country has a strong cycling culture, but it does not yet form an official point of the Dutch driving test. In other countries, such as Belgium, many accidents are caused each year by drivers opening doors out onto cyclists passing by.

Driver assistance systems sometimes fail to detect cyclists

Smart driver assistance systems sometimes fail to detect cyclists on their software, so driving experts warn against relying entirely on these new smart systems, and argue that to be sure before opening the door, the best protocol is to follow the “Dutch reach”. 

By doing so, drivers’ bodies automatically turn to face towards cyclists travelling towards their vehicle so they can be sure not to cause injury. Despite the reach, it is thought that in the Netherlands, a great many accidents and injuries are still caused by this type of collision. 

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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