Hazard Perception Tips
Here are some of the most useful hazard perception tips out there for a learner driver about to take this test. It’s important to remember that there’s no cheating here – learning some hazard perception test tips will genuinely make you a better and safer driver once you’re on the road – it’s more about picking up techniques to make your hazard perception awareness genuinely good enough to pass the test and to pick up good driving habits for life.
Be aware of what to look out for
Be aware of what to look out for while taking the test. Know that the hazards that will occur as you’re participating in the test can and will consist of any everyday occurrences on the road. These include – but are not limited to – pedestrians crossing the street, children or animals on the road, cars at junctions as you approach, cars in front of you indicating to turn left or right, cyclists moving out of cycle lanes into traffic lanes, larger vehicles (lorries/buses) taking up more than one lane’s worth of space, people loading/unloading vehicles on the side of the road, motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic up ahead, and so on. Please see this article for a more comprehensive list of what to look out for during the hazard perception test.
When you’re taking the test, the range of videos shown will be picked on a purely random basis. One thing for sure is that you will be shown videos portraying a number of different driving environments – town driving, countryside driving, driving near a school, dual carriageway driving and so on. It’s worth being aware of the specific hazards that can occur in specific areas. A good example is that if you’re on a dual carriageway, a football is hardly likely to be kicked into the road by a child, whereas if you’re on a residential street this might well happen. The tip is to look for potential hazards that are more likely to occur in the environment that you’re in. Keeping this in mind will help you pick the right hazard to click on – remember all videos except for one have just one hazard. They’re not trying to trick you, they’re simply showing you the typical day-to-day hazards that occur in any given environment.
Know your way around the test
Know the details and your way around the hazard perception test itself. Know what it involves and what to expect. The hazard perception test consists of fourteen video clips, each lasting one minute. You are required to watch each video carefully on your computer and click your mouse each time you see a situation that you deem to be hazardous. In order to pass the hazard perception test, you must get at least 44 points out of a maximum of 75. Each hazard on the videos has a maximum five points allocated to it, ranging from five down to zero depending on how soon you identify and act upon the hazard. Out of the 14 videos shown, 13 of them have one hazard on them and one has two hazards, hence the 75-point maximum total. Please click here for a more in-depth article about the hazard perception test itself.
Know the difference between a developing hazard and a potential hazard
Points are given every time you click your mouse to show that you have recognised a developing hazard – the quicker you see the hazard developing, the more points you will receive. In order to get points, you must click on a developing hazard as opposed to a potential hazard. We cannot stress enough that it’s developing hazards you need to respond to.
For example, although an empty parked car is a hazard that you’ll need to negotiate, just this parked car alone isn’t a developing hazard. If you were to see a car parked in the distance, with its brake lights and indicators on, this is an indication that the driver could well intend on pulling out, which would make the situation a developing hazard. Do your best to only respond to things that are or could be developing hazards, while limiting the number of times you respond to static hazards.
Try to remember that this test is essentially testing your ability to predict what could happen, based on the evidence you can see from the video clip.
Hazard perception test – when to click?
Don’t hesitate to respond to anything you think may cause the driver to alter their speed, road position or direction. If you spot a hazard and it continues to develop, continue to respond as it develops. This will ensure you’ll always receive a mark for each developing hazard that you spot.
Some of the potential hazards won’t end up developing and so you won’t receive any points for responding to them. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell when a potential hazard will turn into a developing hazard and therefore when the scoring window starts. For this reason, it’s much safer for you to click multiple times once you spot something you think is a potential hazard, this way you avoid responding too early and receiving no points.
Don’t click too much
Constant clicking can mark against you too if the system thinks you’re cheating. The software the test runs on can detect cheating in the form of someone continuously clicking the mouse with the hope of scoring within the hazard window. If the software detects that you’re cheating, you’ll be awarded zero points. If the test couldn’t detect this type of behaviour, anyone could get full marks by constantly clicking the mouse, so it’s no surprise the DVSA have thought of something to try and combat this.
There’s a thin line between the hazard perception test software thinking you’re cheating and clicking enough times to score yourself maximum points. To ensure you’re never accused of cheating, try and follow these instructions:
- Try to avoid clicking more than three times for any one of the hazard perception clips.
- Avoid using any type of clicking pattern.
- Don’t double or treble click in quick succession, just try to click once deliberately.
It’s worth remembering that the majority of complaints that the DVSA receive about the hazard perception test come from people failing due to clicking too much. Again, the best way to combat this is with a cool head and practice.
Look for clues
Road signs, such as triangular warning signs, are obvious clues for potential hazards but some clues aren’t so obvious.
For example, if you notice a parked car up ahead with a driver in it, there’s a chance the car may pull away or that the driver may exit the car. In this situation, if you were to see fumes coming from the exhaust, you know the car is running and can better predict what’s likely to happen.
Practice makes perfect
Practice. There’s no magic bullet. Practice makes perfect. When you’re taking your driving lessons you’re practicing anyway, but what about when you’re a passenger driving with someone else? Get into the habit of studying the road whenever you’re in the front seat. Pretend you’re driving. Do this all the time and learn the road.
On the day of the test
If you follow the instructions given to you on this website and the advice your instructor gives you, then you should be able to walk into your test with confidence and pass the first time. If you’re the type of person who’s made anxious by the thought of a test, re-read these instructions on the morning of your exam and sit one mock hazard perception test. Don’t overdo your preparation on the morning of the exam as this could prove detrimental to your exam success; it’s best to save your focus for the actual test.
Use this website
One of the best ways you can prepare for the test is by using this website. It has already helped many people pass their test first time around. We recommend that you sign up for full access to all of the material on the website and start practicing a few weeks before you take the hazard perception test. Try your best to save some video clips to practice and use them during the days leading up to the test. Practicing like this maximises the learning benefits from our website.
So that’s it. In a nutshell, if you’re looking for the best advice on how to pass the hazard perception test, then it comes down, really, to practice. Don’t go into this thing blind at all. If you’ve practiced and you’re reasonably confident in what’s out there in the big wide world of real-life driving, you can pass this test. Truth be told, talking and reading about the hazard perception test makes it sound easy – and if you’ve practiced and been taking driving lessons, it’s really not difficult, more a matter of common sense than anything – but passing the test can be tougher than one thinks and the hazard perception test tips that you have been given in this article are definitely worthwhile taking on board before starting this process.
Just go into it with a cool, clear head. Go into it knowing that the test really is worthwhile doing and that the knowledge and the road sense gained from practicing for the hazard perception test puts you in a better position to enjoy years and years of accident-free driving than any other generation of learner drivers ever have before. The knowledge learned from this can literally save your life.