Hazard perception test: everything you’ll need to know

The three words of ‘Hazard Perception Test’ are definitely a bit intimidating. It would have been nicer if they called this section of the theory test ‘The Road Observation Section’. However, that would be too kind. Although the name may suggest that this is a daunting challenge, in reality, you can quickly get your head around it. In this blog, I will explain what the Hazard Perception Test is and give some quick tips on how best to prepare for it.

Hazard perception test: what it is

It is important to mention right away that Hazard Perception is generally considered the hardest part of the theory test. However, do not let that put you off. There are some tips and tricks to help put your mind and ease. However, let me first outline what it actually is what we are talking about.

Hazard Perception is designed to test a learners ability to identify risks on the road. It is also a way to assess a learners ability to preempt developing dangers that may be around the corner. No pun intended…

The test structure

The test takes place on the computer, as you would expect, and you simply need to click the mouse. Essentially, this test is like being in a simulator. That is how you need to imagine it; you are looking at a screen and your view is that of a driver on the road. Throughout the video, certain hazards will present themselves, or start developing, and you, as the “driver” in this simulation, simply click the mouse whenever you see something of interest.

The test is made up of 14 videos and each clip is an everyday driving scenario. All clips contain at least one developing hazard, but one clip will contain two developing hazards. You get points for spotting the developing hazard as soon as you see it. It is also worth noting that a developing hazard is something that will make you have to take action whilst driving.

For more information about the Hazard Perception Test, click here.

Practice

Much like everything else in life, practice is what you’ll need most to pass the Hazard Perception Test. The more that you can familiarise yourself with this test, the better you will become at it. There are plenty of apps out there but we would recommend My Theory Test by James May. It is a new and more engaging way to learn not just for your Hazard Perception, but your theory test in general.

aerial view driving

What actually is a developing hazard

There has been a lot of talk of developing hazards in this blog. So it would be wise for me to go into a bit more detail on what they actually are and what to look out for. As mentioned, it is something that will cause you to take action. This could be changing direction, braking, or generally having to alter your speed.

A good way to think of it is to Imagine a developing hazard as an obstacle in a game that will require you to jump, swerve, twilt, whatever. However, in this case, you’re behind the wheel of a car.

Examples of developing hazards:

  • There is a parked lorry on the side of the road. That within itself isn’t a developing hazard. However, if you see someone who’s about to walk behind the back if the lorry into the middle of the road and they haven’t looked at what’s coming in the road, that would be another developing hazard.

 

  • Another example would be a parked car on the side of the road. Again, that within itself is not a developing hazard. However, as you approach, the car starts indicating that it is pulling out. That would be a developing hazard – always be very wary and think about the worst that could happen in these cases. Imagine everyone else in the video is an idiot.

Don’t be too click-happy in your hazard perception test

It is a common misconception that you need to click continually throughout the videos. Do not do this. Be very vigilant and only click when you definitely see a hazard developing. It is as simple as that.

How Otimo can help

Once you have passed your theory test and you start looking towards passing your practical, give our learner app a go-to help yourself pass your test quicker. Record your lessons and when you are practising outside of lessons. Our app records your journeys and gives feedback on your driving and highlights where you can improve. It will also give you a driving score, so if you want to be able to visually see your progress and compare yourself to your friends, you can learn more here.

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