Drivers must follow new Highway Code rule when opening car doors or face £1,000 fine

21 January 2022, 17:16

The way you open your car door should change in order to avoid a fine
The way you open your car door should change in order to avoid a fine. Picture: Alamy/Getty
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

The new rule has been put in place to protect cyclists and pedestrians from injuries.

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A new Highway Code rule which hopes to stop drivers blindly opening their car doors will come into place later this month.

The regulation has been put in place in a bid to stop injuries occurring to cyclists and pedestrians who are travelling past a car door.

The new mandate will require motorists to use the 'Dutch Reach' method when they open their car doors, a technique which requires the driver to use the hand furthest from the door to open it.

The 'Dutch Reach', which car passengers should also start using, requires the person to turn their body and allows them time to look for cyclists or pedestrians before they exit the vehicle.

The new mandate will come into place in a bid to stop collisions between bikes and car doors
The new mandate will come into place in a bid to stop collisions between bikes and car doors. Picture: Alamy

Usually, drivers will use the hand closest to their door to open it quickly and without assessing their surroundings, which can often lead to accidents on the roads.

This regulation will come into place later this month, and if not followed could lead to a fine.

If you injure someone by opening your car door you will not receive any penalty points on your license, but you could face a fine of £1,000.

The 'Dutch Reach' allows drivers to look around at their surroundings before exiting the car
The 'Dutch Reach' allows drivers to look around at their surroundings before exiting the car. Picture: Getty

The mandate has been placed under rule 239 of the Highway Code which states: "Where you are able to do so, you should open the door using your hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening; for example, use your left hand to open a door on your right-hand side.

"This will make you turn your head to look over your shoulder.

"You are then more likely to avoid causing injury to cyclists or motor cyclists passing you on the road, or to people on the pavement."

The ruling comes into place from 29th January 2022.