If you’re booked in for your test – or are looking to start driving soon – then it’s worth knowing what the test involves, as well as some best practices for the day.
Where the theory questions gauge your understanding of the rules of the road, hazard perception is all about your awareness of the unpredictable nature of driving. Technical skill in driving isn’t worth a penny if you don’t observe the road keenly while you drive.
The test aims to put you in driver’s seat, with a camera allowing you to see the road in front of you. You’ll watch videos which contain hazards and your response to the development of these hazards will form your end score. The type of hazard will always vary, but can include people, pets and other vehicles.
It’s in the same room as your theory questions. Once you’ve submitted all your answers, you’ll be given a few minutes’ rest and then the first video will play.
The test will be broken down into 14 different video clips: 13 will have a single developed hazard, the 14th will have two. For each clip, you should analyse the situation as if you are the driver by concentrating on the road, always staying alert to potential hazards.
If you were behind the wheel and spotted a hazard, of course you might adjust your driving to compensate for it. Perhaps you’d beep the horn and curse at them; during the test however, you click the mouse.
When you notice a hazard beginning to develop, you must click your mouse. There will be plenty of “potential” hazards, so click on anything that may become a danger, even if it hasn’t yet. Of course, the earlier you react to each hazard, the better. In the real world, you will be a safer driver for it; in the test, you will get a better score.
Repeat this for all 14 clips and then you’re done!
Have you spotted the great flaw in the system? You might be tempted to try and click randomly, all through the video and therefore catch every hazard in good time. If you do, you will get zero points. Any unusual behaviour (like clicking every second, or frantic bursts of clicking) will be interpreted as cheating, so it’s not worth trying.
At the end of the day, this is a test. Your response is given a score relative to how quickly you reacted to the hazard. If you respond very early, you get 5 points. You’ll earn 4, 3, 2 and then a single point the longer you wait before clicking. If you don’t click until after the hazard has passed, then you get zero points.
There are 15 clips, with a maximum of 5 points available per clip. You need 44/75 in order to pass, so an average of 3 points per clip.
Plenty of learner drivers get much more flustered about hazard perception than the theory questions. In reality, it’s harder to study for “reading the road” than for answering pre-set questions. You’re most likely to pass if you can relax and try to put yourself in the driver’s seat.