What is the Hazard Perception Test

The hazard perception element of the Theory Test was introduced by the The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) on 14th November 2002. This hazard perception test is taken at the same time as the theory test and you receive 15 minutes to take this part of the test. The object is to identify up to 15 hazards (one clip will have 2 hazards on it) as quickly as possible from 14 video clips, and you will have to pass this before being let loose on the practical test.

On 4th August 2008 the Hazard Test changed for Bus, Coach and Lorry drivers. The number of hazard perception clips have increased from 14 to 19 and the pass mark has increased from 50 out of 75, to 67 out of 100.
The other Bus, Coach and Lorry change, which is being made at the request of the industry, is to split the test into two parts. This will allow candidates to take the multiple choice element separately from the hazard perception element; and in either order.

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Why the need for the hazard perception test?

Each year 3,600 people are killed on Britain's roads. Improved hazard perception skills are expected to play an important part in achieving the Government's challenging casualty reduction targets.
Young drivers (17-21) make up only 7% of all licence holders yet they are involved in up to one in seven accidents involving injury. The accident liability of new drivers drops sharply over the first 12 months or so after passing the test and continues to fall as more experience is gained.

Young drivers have quicker reactions than older drivers. However, the more experienced driver scans the road better and recognises the clues that show a hazardous situation is developing much earlier and therefore starts to take action before the danger occurs. This is one of the reasons why accident involvement generally reduces as experience is gained.

New drivers take much longer (up to two seconds longer) to recognise hazardous situations than more experienced drivers.

How will the hazard perception test work?

The electronic test is taken in front of a normal computer monitor. There are no pedals or steering wheel, just a mouse. The "driver" watches a series of video clips, each about a minute long, filmed on all sorts of roads, from country lanes to suburban high streets to motorways. Each clip will contain one or more developing hazards. Candidates need to click the mouse button as soon as they see a hazard.
You will be asked to indicate as soon as they see a hazard developing which may result in the driver taking some action, such as changing speed or direction. The sooner a response is made the higher the score.

There will be 14 different moving scenes on the Hazard Perception test screen. The scenes will have one or two hazards to identify. The 14 scenes will be taken from a bank of 200.
You will have to identify the moving hazard by clicking a mouse. For example, a car pulling out in front of you, as quickly as possible. You will be given a 'window of time' in which to spot the hazard. The score will depend on how soon you identify the hazard - the longer they take, the lower their score. You will score a zero mark if you either click too late, or repeatedly.

Some recent press reports have compared the test to a video game. DVSA feels this is inaccurate and misleading. All the clips are real life video film to make the test experience as realistic as possible. Virtual reality enhancement was not used. The test will not require computer literacy. The reference to a video game might unnecessarily worry people unfamiliar with computers.
The 'touchscreen' system has been carefully designed to make sure it is easy to use.

What Hazards Are We Looking For?

Look for events occurring in front of the car such as:-
School crossing and bus waiting with children crossing road
Breakdown vehicle on bend
Vans parked with hazard warning lights on
Cyclist on country road
Vehicle doing U turn on brow of hill
Furniture vans parked on bend (door open) with oncoming traffic
Green traffic light turns on approach
Parked vehicles/road works

Look for something joining the car's path such as:-
Car emerging from left
Stray dog by kerb
Zebra crossing with pedestrians crossing
Vehicle emerges from left in road dip
Pedestrian trying to cross road
Car looking as though it may join traffic from right
Woman with pushchair ready to cross road
Blind man with dog by kerb
Vehicle edging out of side road from right
Zebra crossing with pedestrian crossing
Bus pulling out
Car late stopping at left hand junction

Look for event occurring in the opposite traffic such as:-
Vehicle turning right across traffic
Car stopping in road to collect passenger
Parked car and oncoming car