Hazard Perception Test FAQ
Newly qualified car drivers take longer to identify emerging road hazards than more experienced drivers. The hazard test has been designed to help rectify this discrepancy. It sets out to test, and enhance through practice, the ability of learner drivers to identify potential, developing and actual road hazards.
Watch the Official DVSA Hazard Perception Introduction Video
Hazard Perception Test Explained
The test consists of 14 video clips, each about a minute long. Each clip shows driving situations involving other road users and is shot from a car driver's point of view. As each clip plays, a hazard -
something that will cause the driver to change speed, direction or stop
- will develop. In 13 of the clips you will have one hazard to identify, in the other clip, you will have two hazards to identify. You will not be told which clip has two hazards to identify.
You identify the correct hazard, or hazards, by clicking on either the left or right mouse button. The earlier you identify the correct hazard, the more points you will score. The scoring goes from five to zero points.
Do not think you can continuously smoother the screen with clicks as the hazard clip plays. If you do this, you will score zero. However, you will not lose points for clicking on other potential hazards that may also be seen. The practice clips below will familiarize you with this.
To Help You Pass The Test
As soon as you see a potential hazard appear, click the mouse once then, after a brief pause, click again. The hazard may not develop into an actual hazard, but by clicking, you have covered yourself if it does.
- A video clip of a road traffic situation plays.
- Several potential hazards will emerge, most will not develop into actual hazards.
- As soon as you see a potential hazard appear, click the mouse once, then twice.
- If the potential hazard continues to develop into an actual hazard, click again.
- One or two potential hazards will develop into actual hazards that force the driver of the car to slow down, change direction or stop. To score points, you will need to identify them.
- If you click too many times, you will score zero.
Potential Hazard: The woman is running along the pavement. Does she want to catch the bus? Does she intend to hurry across the road? Maybe, but if you click now you won't score any points, as she is not an actual hazard only a potential one.
Developing Hazard: The woman raises her hand and signals her intent to cross the road and get to the bus. As she moves towards the road, she becomes an actual hazard. The scoring window opens. Click now and score points.
Actual Hazard: The woman is on the road and has become an actual hazard. She has forced the driver to take action: to change speed, direction or stop. The scoring window closes just before this action begins. If you click now, you will score nil points.
To Pass The Test
To pass the test, you must score at least 44 points out of a possible 75 points, and you must also pass the theory test, multiple-choice questions, which you will take prior to the staring the hazard perception.
The Test Is Taken
The hazard perception test is the second part of the driving theory test. After you complete the theory multiple-choice questions (the actual theory test questions), you will be permitted a break of up to 3 minutes. A short tutorial video will then play. This will tell you how the hazard perception test works and how you should conduct the test. Once the video finishes, the test will begin. The test will last for around 20 minutes.
Definition of a Hazard
A road traffic hazard can be anything that causes a driver to change the speed, the direction or to stop the vehicle they are driving. Although in real life a hazard may be static, such as a set of traffic lights, a junction or a bend, these are not the sorts of hazards that you will need to identify during the hazard perception test. During the test, you will need to identify hazards that develop, and so have motion, such as a bus pulling away from a bus stop or a lollypop lady stepping into the road.
How Many Clicks is Too many Clicks?
If you click the mouse too many times while taking the test, you will score zero for the clip. How many is too many? The DVSA does not reveal this. However, as they say, do the maths. Each hazard test is about one minute long. If you clicked once every two seconds (about thirty clicks in total) you would definitely click at least twice on the actual hazard while the scoring window was open, as the scoring window must be at least five seconds long. So, from this, can we conclude thirty clicks would be too many?
Potential Hazards - What To Look Out For When Taking The Hazard Perception Test
When driving a car, hazards can come from all directions and can emerge from most road traffic situations. As learner drivers taking lessons out on the road with a driving instructor, you will encounter such hazards on a regular basis. In doing so, you will learn a great deal about taking and passing the hazard perception test, particularly what constitutes a hazard, and in what environment or situation a hazard is likely to appear.
Always think of the driving test as being a single entity - not three separate tests. Practicing for the hazard perception test will help you pass the practical driving test, and vise versa.
Below is a list of common road traffic hazards that you will experience while driving. These hazards will appear in the hazard test, as potential and actual hazards. When taking the test, if any of these potential hazards or situations are seen, you should ask yourself how they, potential hazards, may turn into actual hazards. Always be thinking 'what if?'
- Road traffic signs. Does the sign relate to a hazard ahead?
- Pedestrians: walkers, people with walking sticks. Will the pedestrian suddenly enter the road and become an actual hazard? Are they looking into the road, as if getting ready to cross? Do they need to cross the road to get to a bus or to something else?
- Children playing. Are they playing with something, a ball perhaps, that they may chase into the road?
- Cyclists and motorbikes, especially young cyclists. Is there a right turn ahead? If so, will they pull out into the centre of the road in order to take it? Are there obstacles on the left side of the road, such as parked cars or drain covers, that may force the cyclist to swerve right into the road and become a hazard to following traffic?
- Emergency vehicles. Is the vehicle moving towards you? Will you have to stop to let is pass? Will vehicles around you stop or slow down, thus causing you to take action?
- Blind bends. Could a large vehicle be coming the other way?
- Road lanes. Will a vehicle suddenly change lanes and cause you to take action? Can you see indicator lights flashing? Does another driver want to turn into your lane?
- Brake lights on vehicles. Is traffic ahead responding to a hazard that you can't yet see?
Residential streets are full of potential hazards as they contain not just moving road traffic but pedestrians, cyclists and parked vehicle restricting views and movement. Look out for:
- Cars pulling out suddenly. Is there a pedestrian hurrying to get into a parked car? If so, once in the car, will they pull away into your path without looking properly?
- Children playing near the road. Do parked cars conceal the children? If so, an actual hazard could quickly develop.
- Vehicles pulling out of side roads, especially those vehicles with restricted views. If a car speeds towards a side road junction, is the driver more likely to emerge from the junction too quickly and so become a hazard?
- Pedestrians crossing roads. A pedestrian running while looking to cross a road may take a risk and become a hazard. can you see a pedestrian edging towards the road as they walk? Will they start to cross without looking?
- Cars stopping to park. Where there are few available parking spaces, drivers may brake sharply when they see a space.
- Oncoming traffic not giving you priority. If an obstacle on the opposite side of the road restricts traffic flow on-coming traffic should give you priority and let you pass. But will they?
Roads Near SchoolsThere is always a good chance that the hazard test will include a hazard by a school, as the powers that be, quite rightly, like to highlight the safety of children on our roads. Look out for:
- Children playing near the road, especially ball games.
- Children running, as they may run suddenly into the road.
- Children crossing the road without looking.
- Crossing patrols and other forms of crossings. A 'lollipop' lady may step into the road without due warning.
- Children cycling on pavements. May they swerve into the road?
- Ice cream vans that children may walk out from behind.
Country Roads Hazards
If you are a learner driver who lives in a city or large town, it may be that you will never have a driving lesson on a rural road. This unfamiliarity with rural driving increases the likelihood that a rural hazard will appear in the hazard perception test, as the DVSA want to prepare you for the day you do drive on a rural road. Look out for:
- Single lane roads. What could be coming the other way?
- Slow moving vehicles, such as tractors. Always treat them as a hazard.
- Animals, especially horses and riders, cows and sheep. Are they in the road, and will they cause you to slow down or stop?
- Blind bends. The blocked view ahead could hide all sorts of hazards.
- Objects in the road especially manure, mud, hay and water, that may cause a vehicle to swerve.
- People walking against the flow of traffic.
Prior to passing the driving test, a learner driver is not permitted to drive on a motorway, and most newly qualified drivers do not have additional motorway driving lessons. The result of this is that most newly qualified drivers have very little practical experience of driving on motorways, there is, however, a motorway section to learn for the theory test. To help learner drivers learn about motorway driving, I think it is likely a motorway hazard will form part of the hazard test. Look out for:
- Cars breaking down on the carriageway.
- Exit roads. Cars may pull across lanes to reach an exit and so become a hazard.
- Cars changing lanes to overtake slower moving traffic.
- Cars joining the motorway. Will they pull in too early and become a hazard?
- Emergency vehicles.
- Stationary traffic.
- Road works.
Preparing For The Test
To prepare and practice for the hazard perception test, try testing yourself. Take a journey by car and watch the road ahead. Numerous hazards will emerge. Some will develop, others will not. Can you tell which? For the potential hazards that develop into actual hazards, ask yourself what action you would need to take in order to deal with them safely. Of course, the driving lessons you take in a car will give you a good insight into how potential hazards develop into actual hazards.
To further help you understand hazard awareness see our guide on anticipation and planning. You will also find it useful to read our theory test category pages, specifically the hazard awareness and vulnerable road users sections.
Although the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) do not release the actual hazard perception test clips there are books & multi-media that have example hazard perception test clips etc. DVSA hazard perception test information.