Spotting a hazard on the road is a crucial driving skill that can protect you, your passengers and other drivers. To prepare you for getting behind the wheel, the UK requires learner drivers to pass a hazard perception test, demonstrating that you can effectively react to potential and changing threats.
Whether you’re about to take the test for the first time or are struggling to pass, let’s take a closer look at some of the top tips for passing your hazard perception test and gaining your licence.
What is the hazard perception test?
The hazard perception test is an important aspect of learning to drive and getting your full licence. It makes up half of your theory test, which you must pass before you can take a practical test, and has been in effect since 2002.
During the test, you are required to spot developing hazards. You need to demonstrate that you are aware of developing hazards and are able to act accordingly so they don’t become dangerous.
You will watch 14 video clips from the point of view of a driver and must click the screen as soon as possible every time you notice a developing hazard. The video clips will be selected at random, but include a range of locations – a city centre, the countryside, dual carriageways, near schools, and so on. You will be given points based on whether you spotted the hazards and reacted in a reasonable time. You need to score at least 44 out of a possible 75 to pass.
No matter how tempting, don’t make the mistake of endlessly clicking your mouse in the hopes that your chance of ‘spotting’ hazards will increase. This is not the case, as the tests have a click limit to prevent this. Instead, you’ll have to know your stuff – the tips below should help!
Tips for the hazard perception test
When preparing for a hazard perception test, the first thing to do is know your hazards. Knowing the different dangers on the road will put you in a better position for spotting them.
This means revising – whether that’s reading a book, doing online research, asking friends or family to test you or paying attention when you are a passenger in a car.
Examples of hazards include:
- Cars coming out of upcoming junctions
- Vehicles taking up more than one lane
- Pedestrians crossing or being in the road
- Animals in the road
- Cyclists changing lanes
- Motorcyclists weaving in and out of traffic, as well as many more.
As the environment changes, you can be more prepared for what kind of hazards to expect. For example, you might expect to see pedestrians around a school but not on a motorway.
Practice makes perfect
Practising hazard perception tests prior to your real exam is beneficial not only because you will develop the skills required to pass the test (spotting dangers on the road), but you will also know what to expect on the day.
The first part of taking a test is understanding the instructions. Familiarising yourself with the requirements beforehand can give you an advantage by building your confidence. If you’ve taken plenty of tests in advance you’ll also know exactly how many hazards you’re meant to be looking out for (one per video clip for 13 videos and one video with two hazards).
You can find practice hazard perceptions tests on the UK government website.
Look for clues
The video clips often feature clues to warn you that a developing hazard is approaching, such as:
- Road signs – warning of animals nearby or narrow roads ahead, for example
- Streets lined with parked cars – with drivers that could be about to pull out or exit the vehicle
- Pedestrians walking towards a crossing.
Keep your eyes peeled!
Avoid false alarms
While there may be plenty of clues to suggest an upcoming hazard, there will also be plenty of false alarms. For example, a person sitting in a parked vehicle isn’t necessarily about to get out, and a person walking along the street might not be about to cross the road.
Remember: you’re looking for developing hazards, not potential ones.
Don’t over-click – they’ll think you’re cheating
If you click too often you may reach the maximum amount allowed. The software has a limit to prevent cheating, so over-clicking can lead to you getting zero points. To avoid this situation: don’t follow a clicking pattern, only click between one and three times per clip and don’t click in quick succession.
You may want a car ready for when you pass your driving test. In that case, discover our guide to the best cars for new drivers.
Use Adrian Flux
As a learner driver, you’ll want to gain as much experience behind the wheel as possible before your tests to help you spot hazards and react calmly and confidently. Contact Adrian Flux for a learner driver insurance quote, today!