Do you check your surroundings or your side mirrors before you open your car door? If you do, then pat yourself on the back. If you don’t, then you should start this healthy habit. Accidents where pedestrians, especially bicyclists, ran into opening car doors are becoming a common occurrence that the term ‘car dooring’ has been coined to describe these accidents.
Warning: Might be too painful for some to watch
Pedestrians and bicyclists alike will not be able to know your intention to get out of the car. Although it is also their job to pay constant vigilance of their surroundings, there are also other factors like reflections or, for the bicyclist’s case, the speed that they are travelling.
You really don’t want to be involved in a case where you throw open your car door to get out only to unintentionally kill a passing motorcyclist or bicyclist that unwittingly ran into said door.
We’ve also seen incidents where people leave their car door wide open when stopped on a busy street making it dangerous for both pedestrian and cars to pass!
According to various legal sites, the fault in dooring incidents is almost always the fault of the person getting out of the car. The victim that ran into the door can file legal action and the court will rule against the passenger who opened the door.
What is the correct way to open the car door?
First, check your surroundings for any passing pedestrian or car. And when we say check your surroundings, we mean bodily turn yourself to make sure you covered each angle.
Make good use of the rearview and side mirrors as well. It would make checking your surroundings easier by making sure that there aren’t any approaching pedestrians.
Practice using the hand furthest from the door to open the latch. In the driver’s case don’t use your right hand to open the door. Instead, reach your left arm across your body to unlatch the door, this is so that you don’t push the door open unintentionally.
The same rule applies for the front passenger, use your right hand to open the latch.
Instead of throwing your door open, open the door ajar for a few seconds to give those around you that are passing a warning that you’re planning to step out of the car. Think of this as your turn indicators, we’re assuming that you use them well.
We know all these steps will seem annoying but for the sake of everybody including your wallet and reputation (not to mention your conscience of having just killed someone, unintentionally or not), adding these healthy habits before you get out of the car is a must.