Guide to Passing the Hazard Perception Test

Pedestrians crossing the road—a driving hazard

As we’re sure you’re aware, there are two parts to the theory test: the first are the questions themselves, and the second is the hazard perception test.

This has been a part of the theory test since 2002, and is designed to prepare you for dealing with the wide range of risks that you’ll encounter when driving in real life.

Many people consider the hazard perception test to be one of the most daunting obstacles on the path to getting a full driving licence, but it doesn’t need to be. To make things a bit easier, here at PassMeFast we’ve put together a helpful guide to passing the hazard perception test.

How does the test work?

The hazard perception test lasts 20 minutes, and consists of 14 different video clips which each cover different driving environments. For instance, some clips may be in a crowded city area, while others may be in rural countryside. Each clip will contain two separate driving hazards.

You won’t be given the chance to repeat any of the clips. This is because the test is intended to reflect the realities of driving—and unfortunately in real life there’s no rewind button!

One more thing you should know is that the DVSA has produced a huge range of clips. This means that you’re highly unlikely to see the same clip twice in the unfortunate event that you fail and have to retake your theory test.

The basic principle of the test is simple: you need to click the mouse when you see a hazard.

Of course, there are other things that you should be aware of. We explain everything below.

When to click

Computer mouse

According to the DVSA:

“To get a high score you need to respond to the developing hazard as soon as you see it starting.”

As such, you’ll be given a mark out of five for each clip, according to how quickly you respond to the hazard. You need to get at least 44 to pass, which means that you’ll need to average a score of more than 3 out of 5 for every question in the test.

However, while it’s obviously really important to click as soon as you notice the hazard, you should be very careful not to click too often. This is because there’s an algorithm which is designed to prevent cheating by over-clicking. Some people report that it’s quite easy to fall foul of this rule, so make sure you’ve done plenty of practice tests beforehand so that you’ve got the hang of the technique. If you’re looking to practice, check out Theory Test Pro.

What to look out for

Naturally, you’re going to encounter hundreds of different types of hazard in your everyday driving. However, in the hazard perception test, we’re not looking out for things like speed bumps, bollards or kerbs. These are all defined as static hazards, and what the hazard perception test is designed to judge you on is your ability to react to developing hazards.

The phrase ‘developing hazards’ encompasses a wide range of potential risks. Below, we’ve selected a few of the most common ones:

Pedestrians

A busy pedestrian crossing in South Korea

By their very nature, pedestrians are unpredictable. When completing the hazard perception test, you need to be vigilant and make sure you click as soon as you see someone behaving in a way that could become dangerous. In the clips you might see someone about to cross the road without looking, or a runner emerging from over a crest in the road, for instance.

You also need to pay special attention to children. They could be playing at the side of the road, or they could step out from between parked cars. It’s important that you react in time.

Remember, the hazard perception test will help you become a safe driver. When you’ve passed your test, make sure to take a look at our guide to safe motorway driving.

Emergency vehicles

An ambulance on the motorway

Emergency vehicles take priority over other road users, so in real life you’d need to indicate and pull over to the side of the road safely. Again, clicking as soon as you notice any activity will ensure you get top marks. For tips on how to react in this kind of situation, check out our guide to dealing with emergency vehicles safely.

Other cars

A car swerving across lanse

If you’ve spent any time behind the wheel of a car, you’ll know that other drivers can be just as unpredictable as pedestrians. You need to watch out for hazards like sudden braking, or cars pulling out of junctions without giving enough room. For advice on dealing with behaviour like this when you’re on the road, check out our article on defensive driving.

Cyclists

A bicycle courier

It’s really important to pay extra attention to cyclists, as they can sometimes be very vulnerable road users. This is because they often travel quickly and emerge from unexpected places. If you require more information, take a look at this advice on sharing the road with cyclists from the AA.

Poor visibility

A foggy road

Also, make sure that you take into account any adverse weather conditions, such as ice, snow, or fog when completing the hazard perception test. Any sort of bad weather can result in poor visibility and increased stopping times, so driving with extra care is crucial. The Highway Code provides useful information about driving in any sort of weather. If you want to know more about the Highway Code, check out this article.

Remember, this is just a general overview of the sort of hazards you might encounter. There’s no substitute for doing plenty of practice tests!


Think you’re ready to take your theory? Why not find out whether you’d pass the test today? Or, for some inspiration to help you get that pink licence, take a look at these 10 epic road trip ideas. Whatever your driving needs, at PassMeFast we’re here to steer you in the right direction!

By Ben Scott

Ben's had a keen interest in all things driving from a very early age, so is perfectly placed to offer you all the advice you need. When he's not behind the wheel you'll either find him stuck deep into a novel or riding his bike.