The driving skill 95 per cent of motorists don't have

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

It’s the driving technique that can save lives but only five per cent of Australians know what it is let alone even use it.

In a recent Ford survey of 1000 motorists, 95 per cent of participants had never heard of the ‘Dutch Reach’.

The technique involves a driver opening their door with their furthest hand, forcing the body and head to rotate, allowing the driver to visually inspect what is approaching from behind.

Mick Humphries, General Manager of the Australian Driver Trainers Association, previously told Yahoo News Australia the technique is vital for ensuring the safety of passing cyclists and vehicles passing closely.

Most Australian drivers fail adequately to look out for cyclists when they open their car doors. Source: Getty, file.

When checking behind he said drivers must “crane their necks right round” to ensure you have fully seen any immediate dangers.

The method was developed in the Netherlands - a nation which has a high proportion of cyclists.

In extreme cases, cyclists have died from either colliding with open car doors or swerving into traffic to avoid an opening door. Many others have been injured when motorists have failed to check for riders.

The research comes as Ford updated their driving skills courses to include further cycling safety procedures.

Cyclists are at risk from drivers opening their car doors without looking. Source: Getty, file.

“We know from our research that many drivers don’t feel confident driving around cyclists, and that many cyclists are nervous being on the road with vehicles,” Ford ANZ CEO Kay Hart said.

“That’s why it’s so important to include a driver-cyclist safety component in Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) this year.”

The research revealed 53 per cent of drivers don’t feel comfortable sharing roads with cyclists, while 68 per cent of cyclists are concerned every time a car passes them.

Over half of motorists admitted to not adhering to the one metre rule, designed to keep a safe distance between cyclists and vehicles.

Thirty-two per cent of drivers didn’t even know it existed.

According to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, cyclists being hospitalised has increased by 1.5 per cent yearly from 2000 to 2016.

One in five Australians hospitalised for a transport-related injury was a cyclist.

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