Learner drivers sometimes find the hazard perception and theory parts of their driving test more difficult than the practical assessment. You have enough to worry about with things like finding time to practice, organising insurance and studying the theory. With the rules of the road to remember, and so much to take on board, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and a little apprehensive in the run-up to your theory test.
So we’ve put together the following hazard perception test tips. If you know what to expect, you stand the best possible chance to acing it the first time!
What is the hazard perception test?
The hazard perception test is a set of video clips, all around one minute long. They’re filmed from the driver’s perspective to put you in the middle of the action and make each scenario as realistic as possible. You have to identify potential hazards as they appear, showing your awareness and ability to act when needed. If you follow these steps, you'll know exactly how to pass the hazard perception test!
Take it step by step
The first step in passing your hazard perception test is to take it bit by bit, and remember that both the Highway Code and the theory test itself are there to keep you safe! Don’t frantically search around the scene looking for danger, but instead allow the scene to play out in front of you and approach it in as naturally as possible. Think of how you would react in real life, not just in test mode.
Beware of false alarms
The hazard perception test is designed to test your ability to recognise a dangerous situation, as well as your capacity to distinguish a real hazard from an everyday act.
As an example, you might see a woman walking on a pavement as you drive past, but that doesn’t mean she’s a hazard yet. Make sure you only click once you’ve perceived a potential or definite hazard.
Too many clicks will mean you score zero. You should click when there’s a potential hazard, and again when it turns into a definite one, but not when it’s neither.
Know your hazards
Knowing what constitutes a hazard is a good starting point and worth keeping in mind as you take the test. Simply put, a hazard is something that forces a driver to slow down, change direction, or stop. A sheep in the road, some children riding their bikes in the street, an old lady crossing the road slowly; all of these examples would cause you to slow down and can, therefore, be considered hazards.
Practice makes perfect
It’s one thing to prepare for your theory and hazard perception test by revising the highway code and the rules of the road but you can also get a real head start by practising the hazard perception test at home. Mock tests are available online, often for free, and offer a handy taste of what you can expect from the hazard perception test.
When doing a practice test try clicking early and late on purpose to get a feel for the point scoring window of opportunity. Clicking too early can mean that you prematurely judged something to be a hazard that proves not to be, but click too late and you’ve failed to respond quickly enough, potentially allowing something dangerous happen.
Try to take as many of these tests as possible and remember that practice really does make perfect!