The Hazard Perception Test is the second of two parts that make up a learner driver’s theory test alongside the multiple-choice question section. Many students really struggle with this aspect of their theory, however with sufficient knowledge and practice, learners will be prepared on how to maximise their scores using the following tips:
The Hazard Perception Test Explained
Knowing how to pass the Hazard Perception Test requires you to understand its overall structure – a fundamental step to getting a good score. The test is made up of 14 silent clips, shown only once and in a random sequence, which take you through various driving scenarios from a driver’s perspective. These can include driving in towns or in rural settings for example, each of which brings with them different types of hazards.
While watching these clips, you will be required to click your mouse or touch the screen (depending on the test centre) to indicate when a potential hazard becomes a developing hazard. You are allocated 20 minutes to complete this section of the test and it will begin as soon as you have completed the theory questions.
You will not get marked down for clicking on potential hazards, but instead will be scored up to a maximum of 5 points per clip for each developing hazard that you spot. The sooner you react to the developing hazard, within a specific timing window, the higher the score you will receive.
How Many Hazard Perception Clips Are There?
While there are 14 clips in total, 13 of the clips will have one developing hazard, in which you can receive a maximum score out of 5. One clip, selected at random, will contain two developing hazards, giving you a maximum score of 10. Red flags under the video clip will indicate that your clicks have been registered.
How Many Hazard Perception Points To Pass
You will need to pass both the multiple-choice test (with a score of 43 or above out of 50) and the hazard perception section (with a score of 44 or above out of 75) in order to pass your theory test. Once you have done this, you are thereafter able to book your practical driving test through the DVSA.
Know The Difference Between Potential Hazards And Developing Hazards
This assessment helps you to prepare for independent driving as it provides you with the necessary training to spot different kinds of developing hazards on roads that you will have never seen before. When revising, it is fundamental to know the difference between a potential hazard and a developing hazard, as it is the latter that you will need to identify with your mouse clicks or touches:
A potential hazard is something that you need to be aware of but does not necessarily require you to take any further action. An example of this would be a pedestrian waiting at the side of the road to cross. You would need to be aware that they could potentially step out into the road, causing a developing hazard if they were to do so at the last minute or while your vision was obstructed.
A developing hazard on the other hand would force you to take some kind of preemptive action, such as slowing down your car, stopping or changing direction. An example of this would be if a child or dog ran out into the road without looking, as you would need to brake harshly to avoid them.
Now that you know the difference between a potential hazard and a developing hazard, it is important to consider some examples of driving scenarios that would count as potential hazards that you will need to keep an eye out for in case they develop into situations that require your action:
- Pedestrians or cyclists crossing the road
- Cars overtaking obstructions on the opposite side of the road (such as roadworks) and coming over to your side
- Children or animals wandering into the road
- Cars coming out of driveways, junctions or parking spaces
- Large vehicles completing manoeuvres or turning wide
When To Click On Your Hazard Perception Test
Understanding when you should click on your Hazard Perception Test is vitally important. You do not need to click directly on the developing hazard itself, as doing so anywhere on the screen will still register that you have identified it.
Remember that the key to a high score is to click your mouse or touch your screen whenever you come across a developing hazard, with higher points achieved the earlier the developing hazard is spotted.
How Many Clicks Are You Allowed On The Hazard Perception Test
You are advised to limit your clicks to below 10 per clip, as you will only be marked down for a clip if you click far too often, not at all when the hazard develops, or if you keep clicking rhythmically (i.e. every few seconds on repeat, attempting to cheat the system.) You’ll be able to easily keep track of the last point by quickly glancing at the red flags on the bottom of your screen.
You should understand that you will not get marked down for clicking too early or for identifying potential hazards alongside the developing hazard, as long as these aren’t overdone.
Along these lines, don’t worry about saving your click for the vital moment or clicking on potential hazards if you can see there is a reasonable chance of them developing. You should take a guess if you are unsure – it is always better to try and click and get it wrong than not click at all, as this would guarantee you a zero for that clip.
Hazard Perception Test Preparation
Like with anything, practice makes perfect! We strongly recommend booking your theory test at least a full month in advance and spending around 12 – 24 hours within this time period revising for both your hazard perception and the multiple-choice test. By limiting your revision to a limit of 2 hours per day, this will give you the best chance of retaining the information you have learnt.
There are many free online hazard perception tests and tools available to assist you with your learning. By taking mock exams or tests, and reviewing your answers thoroughly, you’ll gain vital practical learning experience, helping you in terms of both confidence and preparation.
The faster your reactions, the earlier you’ll click, and the more points you will achieve. To have the best chance of acing this part of the assessment, you should make sure that you are focused and well-rested. Having an early night, eating a light meal, keeping hydrated with water and avoiding caffeine (which can make you more agitated) will go a long way to keeping you attentive to your ‘virtual’ surroundings.
You should also make sure that you don’t forget your glasses at home if you wear them, and finally, go to the bathroom before the test, as you will not be able to pause or revisit any of the clips later down the line.
Practise Your Hazard Perception On Your Driving Lessons
If you consider that the purpose of the Hazard Perception Test is to enable learner drivers to recognise real-life driving hazards that cause them to take evasive action, then it should come as no surprise that complimenting your learning with driving lessons is a natural fit.
All the clips you will see represent real-life driving scenarios, and so by asking your driving instructor for guidance while you’re at the wheel, they should be able to literally demonstrate the difference between a potential and developing hazard right there in front of you.
The more practical experience you have driving, the better you will become at Hazard Perception. By having a far better understanding of how road users behave, you will be able to better anticipate hazardous events before they even occur.
How Hard Is The Hazard Perception Test
Data from the DVSA shows that the average theory test pass rate across the country over the last decade is 52.1%. Fortunately, while this data is not regularly split out further into scores for the theory and hazard perception sections of the test, a freedom of information request was filed with the DVSA in 2015.
This FOI showed that between January 2015 and December 2015, 84.6% of those taking their hazard perception test achieved a score of 44 or above. As the overall theory pass mark is lower, this shows that the hazard perception section of the test is not as hard as people think, and is in fact easier than the multiple-choice section.