The doors on your car provide for the entry and exit as well as security of the vehicle. Their shape and method of opening are all part of the overall styling of the vehicle. They are also a part of the passive safety of the vehicle, in a number of ways. For example; load-carrying pockets, the structural integrity of the vehicle in the event of a collision and they may also contain airbags.

Did you know that doors are fitted with door brakes called stays? These are to smooth the shutting of the door. Particularly when the camber adds to the shutting force. Care must be taken with the opening of doors as they can be hit by other road users. This can also include pedestrians on the pavement. You are obliged to ensure you open your door safely. This applies to any door on your vehicle whether opened from the inside or out.

Did you know that there are a number of types of door openings?

Conventional Doors

The door itself is hinged, on the leading edge. This means that if you drive off, the door will tend to close on its own. When a saloon car only has 2 doors, those doors will be bigger than a saloon car which has 4 doors. The reason for this is the door space needs to be bigger to allow access to the rear of the vehicle.

Coach doors

These are hinged on the trailing edge so open the opposite way to normal doors. For this reason, they are sometimes known as suicide doors. The reason for this is that they open if the vehicle is moving as the airflow will force the door open! Scary! This not only creates a hazard for oncoming vehicles, but an unsecured occupant may also find themselves in the road. These types of car doors are often fitted to vehicles where the driver is opening the door for the passenger such as taxis or chauffeur-driven cars.

Sliding Doors

These types of doors are used on larger vehicles such as vans or people carriers. A conventional door on a large vehicle would require a bigger space into which to open. So they are space-saving.

Other Doors

Think the doors on the Bat Mobile. These tend to be used on concept vehicles rather than mainstream ones. Gullwing, canopy, butterfly and scissor doors, amongst others. Because all these doors open upward if the vehicle has rolled it makes getting out very difficult. Also when parked there must be sufficient clearance above for the doors to open. So they may be cool, but they’re not necessarily practical or safe!

So…what kind of doors does your car have?