The Hazard Perception part to the Theory Test was introduced in October 2002 in order to raise the awareness of candidates hoping to become drivers.
The sad fact is that once a learner becomes a qualified driver, they have very little experience of how to actually drive on the road. The average pupils would have around 30 to 40 hours of practice before passing the driving test. In real life terms this is nothing, during the first year of driving, most drivers will spend many times this at the wheel. Where it is true that experience will be gained by this, it is also true that a certain amount of knowledge would be useful prior to being let loose on the road.
This is where the Hazard Perception Test comes in:-
How does the Hazard Perception Test work?
Shortly after the multiple choice section of the Theory Test, the candidate is shown a series of video clips from a drivers perspective. During the course of the journey, several hazards will present themselves and the candidate will have to identify and acknowledge these hazards with a click of a button.
There will be 15 hazards to spot spanning several video clips. Each time a hazard appears, the button should be clicked. The faster the hazard is identified, the more points are scored.
A maximum of 5 points is awarded for each hazard giving a total maximum of 75 points. The candidate is expected to score at least 44 points to pass this section. The longer the candidate takes to identify each hazard, the fewer points they score.
What sort of hazards will appear?
The hazard perception test is designed to get the candidate to identify ‘Developing Hazards’ rather that static hazards or potential hazards.
For example – A zebra crossing is not a developing hazard, but if a pedestrian walks toward it, then it becomes a developing hazard and needs to be identified.
A side road is not a developing hazard, but if a motorist emerges from the side road ahead of you, then it becomes a developing hazard and needs to be identified.
How can you practice for the hazard perception test?
The best practice for the hazard perception test is driving. You will need to identify developing hazards as you drive, but instead of clicking a button, you should check your mirror. Ask your driving instructor about hazard perception and awareness.
There are CD-ROMs available which have practise examples of the hazard perception test as well as examples of the multiple choice theory test questions.
Please note that it is necessary to pass both the Hazard Perception Test and the multiple choice Theory Test on the same visit.