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How to pass the Hazard Perception Theory Test

Monday, July 14, 2008
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I failed this thing the first time I had a crack at it. It is an utterly stupid idea, because it bears no resemblance to driving (or anything else for that matter).

I think the biggest reason why people fail is not because the test itself is stupid. People fail:

  • because they fail to understand the poor (unclear) instructions given
  • because they have misconceptions about what the test is trying to achieve and
  • because they make incorrect assumptions about how the test works.

Traditionally I would rant and rave about how stupid the test is, about its shortcomings and uselessness, but rather than waste all my energy, here is a better idea. I’ll help you to pass the bloody test. Here is what I did, I think anyone else who was worried about it would pass too if they followed the recipe below.

It’s a game. Learn their rules and you should pass pretty easy.

I passed it today, and got a pretty decent 64/75.

How did I prepare?

I bought the The Official DSA Guide to Hazard Perception DVD. I also actually watched the whole bloody DVD, and practised the test until I regularly scored 5/5. It took < 1 hour.

There were other KEY bits of information I armed myself with:

Part A: How not to fail

Question
The roadsense video says you have to identify ‘developing hazards’ but you would not lose points for identifying non-developing hazards, however I clicked once on every ‘developing hazard’ and once on every non-developing hazard on my test and I failed. Why is that?

Answer
We have been told by the DSA that pressing the mouse button too much will result in you getting no score. This is resulting in a lot of people just clicking once on each hazard. Each scoreable hazard has a marking window and a score is awarded when you respond in that window. The earlier the developing hazard is identified and a response is made the higher the score. You won’t score any points if you respond outside the window and you could lose all the points already gained on the video clip.

We have been getting reports that the hazard window opens not when the hazard is first viewed but a few seconds after. This is resulting in many candidates not scoring because they are clicking just once (when the hazard is showing but the marking window is not opened.)

If you click a few times during each hazard you are likely to score, which will result in a pass. We already know of candidates who have failed the hazard test because they have just clicking once on each hazard. It would appear you have a better chance of passing if the mouse is clicked a few times when you see a developing hazard. BUT STOP CLICKING when the hazard has passed. ( you only lose points responding outside the window).

my note
I certainly clicked between 10-15 times for each video during today’s test, and that seemed to work pretty good. I did f*** up on the last question and scored a big fat zero. So do be careful!!!!

You do need to be careful though. Because if you make lots of unnecessary responses in a very short space of time, or throughout the clip, you will score 0 for that clip. If this happens you will see a warning message on screen at the end of the clip.

my note
The one criticism I would say of the Offical DVD is that it NEVER failed me, I deliberately over clicked the damned thing, but it never said that I had over done it. I think they want (need) to keep that part of the test a secret, or the test would become very formulaic.

Nicked from http://www.2pass.co.uk/faqhazard.htm#twelve

Part B: About the Hazard Perception Test

Introduction

This part of the theory test requires you to view 14 hazard video clips on the computer screen of approximately one minute each. You are required to watch these clips as if you were the driver. There will be 15 hazards to find – at least one on each clip. However, one clip will have 2 hazards. The hazard clips will not contain any sound – just like the old silent movies.

You click either the left or right mouse button whenever you think you can see a hazard developing. The speed at which you click the mouse button as a hazard develops will determine your score for that particular hazard clip. You can score between 0 and 5 on each hazard. Therefore the maximum you can score is 75 (i.e. 15 hazards x 5). To pass you need a score of 44.

The examination process

The hazard perception part of the theory test will start with a short video tutorial played on the computer screen that will explain how the hazard perception test works and what you are required to do. At the end of this clip you have the option to go onto the test or play the tutorial again.

Each hazard clip will start with a freeze frame of the start of the video sequence and a count down from 10 will commence. At the end of the count down the clip will start to play and you will be required to click the mouse button each time you see a developing hazard.

Hazard Percetion Clip

To let you know that the program has registered your click a red flag will appear on a grey band across the bottom of the screen – one flag for each click you make in any particular clip. At the end of the clip all the flags will be removed before you start the next clip.

Although each clip contains several potential hazards only the one that materialises into a real hazard and involves other road users is marked . This is known as a “developing hazard”. Therefore you will only receive a score if you spot a hazard before it fully materialises and is brought about by the action of another road user. You will know if the hazard materialises because the driver will have to take evasive action (e.g. slow down, stop or swerve out of the way).

How to score

The score you obtain will be dependant upon how quickly you spot the developing hazard. The time from when the developing hazard could be potentially seen on the screen to when the vehicle arrives at the hazard is the time frame or window used to determine your score.

Timeline

This window of time is divided into 5 equal segments. If you click the mouse while in the first segment (i.e. just as the developing hazard appears) you will obtain the maximum score of 5 points. If you click in the second segment of this window of time you will score 4 points, then 3, then 2 and then in the last segment just 1. This is accurate to one twenty fifth of a second.

If you click several times during this window of time the computer will always take your highest score and record that for that particular clip. If you don’t click the mouse button in this window of time you will score nothing in respect to that hazard.

If you try to cheat the system by clicking the button repeatedly throughout the video clip the computer program will pick this up. It does this by analysing the number of clicks over the clip as a whole and the pattern of clicks. There is a certain maximum number of permitted clicks for any clip and this is believed to bo around 20.

The anti-cheat will potentially be activated if you click rapidly in a burst of 3 or more clicks or if you click in a pattern. If the computer program determines that you may be cheating a message window will appear at the end of the clip letting you know that an irregular clicking activity was detected and that as a result the score for that clip will be zero.

When the clip ends the screen will turn black for a few seconds before the freeze frame for the next video clip appears and the count down commences again, warning you to get ready. This pattern is repeated until all 14 video clips have been shown.

At the end of the hazard perception part of the theory test you will be given the option to complete a customer care survey if you so wish.

You will then be directed to leave the room and collect your score for the two parts of the exam. The maximum score that can be obtained for the hazard perception part of the theory test is 75 (i.e. 15×5). To pass the hazard perception part of the car, moped and motorcycle theory test you must obtain a score of 44. To pass the theory test you must pass both parts. If you fail either part you are required to take both parts of the test again.

Hints and tips

When watching the video clips do not be frightened to click the mouse button whenever you see a potential hazard involving another road user (i.e. anything that you think may cause the driver to change speed, position or direction). Watch the hazard and if it continues to materialise continue to click the mouse button each time the situation changes. This is the advice given by the hazard perception test introduction video played before you start the actual test. By doing this you will ensure that you click within the scoring window.

Some of these potential hazards will not materialise and therefore you will not receive a score for spotting them. For example, if the cyclist shown in the developing hazard sequence on the previous illustration stopped at the end of the side road (i.e. at the 4 point stage) the hazard would not have materialised. In the actual clip the cyclist was travelling too fast to stop. This was the real clue to what was going to happen next.

In a few instances it is difficult to determine when a potential hazard becomes a developing hazard and therefore when the scoring window should start. This is why it is safer to click a few times as you see the hazard develop to make sure you don’t click too early and miss the opening of this window. However, don’t click in a pattern only click in responce to actual changes and avoid a rapid burst of clicks.

Hazard Perception Test Clip

In the example above (supplied by the DSA) you will notice a very young child riding a bike on the pavement. This alone may be classified as a potential hazard, particularly as the child is unsupervised.

However, the scoring window on this clip doesn’t open until the child starts to turn towards the road to cross it as shown below and highlighted by the red circle. This is the point at which the potential hazard becomes a developing hazard and the scoring window opens.

Hazard Perception Test Clip 2

Therefore if you had only clicked your mouse button once as you saw the child riding her bike along the pavement you would have scored zero. Therefore, remember to click the button a couple of times as the hazard develops to avoid this problem. More advice about this and how to deal with each hazard type can be found in the next section.

Nicked from http://www.theorytestadvice.co.uk/thetests/abouthpt.htm

Part C: Types of Hazards

my note
In other words, when you see one of these, it is almost definitely going to be your HAZARD. Be warned.

  1. Zebra crossings & traffic controllers
  2. Pedestrians: Children & young adults
  3. Pedestrians: Elderly & infirm
  4. Pedestrians: Adults
  5. Cyclists & motorcyclists
  6. Horse riders & other animals
  7. Vehicles: moving off or pulling up
  8. Vehicles: meeting
  9. Vehicles: emerging
  10. Vehicles: turning left or right
  11. Vehicles: reversing & U-turns
  12. Vehicles: larger Vehicles
  13. Vehicles: flashing lights

Get more details from: http://www.theorytestadvice.co.uk/thetests/hptypes.htm

Part D: Watch this video

I watched this YouTube video: How to pass the Hazard Perception part of the Theory Test .

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Wednesday, January 6, 2010 11:20 pm

    I find myself quite lucky to have found this blog. It has really given me a true in depth understanding of how the HPT really works and how the minds of the creators have forged the blasted thing.

    Hopefully, on my second attempt (tomorrow at 10am), I will get back the four points I missed out on and scrape above the mark…!
    For the greater understanding of the test alone, I say thank you very much.
    If I strike it lucky and gain the chance to move up a rung to the practical test, I shall write again expressing my gratitude.

    Thank you kind sir.
    UC

  2. melhuish permalink
    Wednesday, February 3, 2010 12:18 pm

    Definitely the most informative & sensible guide to passing the hazard perception part of the theory test available on the web… I feel like i should make up for you not ranting & go on about it being a total joke a of a test but I will follow your suite & leave something constructive. I highly recommend all to-be road users read this blog before attempting the test! Cheers bruvvvvvv :D

  3. Friday, March 16, 2012 7:12 pm

    You are a lifesaver! I failed my test (hazard perception only) first time round and haven’t been able to understand why. Now I know!

  4. Thursday, August 2, 2012 10:33 pm

    Wow, thank you. This in invaluable, and it explains a lot. I couldn’t understand why I had passed the practice hazard perception tests with 5/5 scores, but failed in the actual test today. I’m grateful for your excellent explanation, but at the same time angry for what seem like a ‘test’ that does nothing more than force you to play a game of luck as opposed to actually assessing driver alertness. What a joke. I suspect it makes the test centre a lot of money. I scored 48 out of 50 on my multiple choice, but need to pay another fee to take it again because of the hazard perception.

  5. Friday, September 7, 2012 10:44 pm

    I have been scoring 48-50 on the actual theory but haven’t been able to get the hazard perception stuff down. I have been in a complete panic over the low scores I have been getting I couldn’t understand why. My test is in the morning and I had paratactically given up for the night and excepted defeat when I stumbled across this page.

    Gave it another shot and scored 4-5/5 from then onwards! I can finally get some sleep and stop freaking out. Fingers crossed this actually works tomorrow on the actual test. :s

    To all that have posted useful info….THANK YOU!

  6. Tuesday, March 5, 2013 2:53 pm

    I just wanted to sat thanks for writing this blog! I read this 2 days before my theory (i have failed 3 times previously) today I passed my theory and can finally move on get pass my driving test! your blog changed my mind frame and understanding of the hazard perception, if it wasn’t for this blog I am sure I would have failed again!

  7. Friday, April 26, 2013 12:28 pm

    Awesome blog post! It is shame I wasn’t looking this one earlier. I passed multiple choice of questions with 100% and I failed on the hazard bit with big time! (btw I am driving with provisional license at the moment and I ride 2000+ miles every months… no accident in the past 14 months…).
    I am going to retake the test next Thursday, so fingers cross!

  8. Saturday, May 18, 2013 9:03 am

    Yesterday I failed my Theory Test for the 5th time, that in it’s own right feels pretty embarrassing when everyone around you is nailing it in the first go. First 2 attempts I nailed the HPT but was 1 point off on Multiple choice, but the last 3 seems to have swapped around completely and failed the HPT by 1-2 points and the 4th time decided to assume I was cheating (perhaps I clicked too much during the hazard? Perhaps too much coffee).

    I used the “1 second gap” when it comes to my clicking and found that it didn’t save me on attempt number 5, I see the hazard, click, then wait, click and when it came to my results it said I had multiple 3′s and 2′s, suggesting that I clicked either too soon, and the gap made me lose out that much in the score.

    Persisting though, I would’ve given up if I failed by massive amounts but by 1-2 points each and every time is aggravating, and how the problem seems to have switched sides to I something I had previously nailed no problem.

    Small advice also to anyone struggling, use that 3 minute break to calm yourself down. Deep breathing etc, I find the entire thing becoming a massively stressful ordeal because of the rising numbers of “close fails” I keep getting, and everyone judging you makes it worse. Keep it to yourself, keep calm, make use of all the time you have. Hum elevating music in your mind or whatever soothes you.

  9. Sunday, June 2, 2013 1:07 am

    if you understand the difference between a potential hazard and a developing hazard then you would not fail this test as they test for the latter while as the clip is full of potential hazards.Concentration and anticipation is the key.Dont click everytime on every potential hazard but having said that click in succession when you see the earliest visual contact with the developing hazard.The secret is multiple clicks on developing hazard which are usually only one per clip and thats is pretty much simple and avoiding being too generous with your clicks lest the programme will award you ZERO for that particular clip like it did in my two clips(i still managed to pass 1st time) but having said that you still pass if you dont get the 2 nd hazard which is only in one of the 14 clips.i would say restrict your clicks to 10-15 at max and never in a pattern that as that will invalidate your score to null everytime you do so.

    • Tuesday, December 17, 2013 6:16 pm

      Any potential hazard can turn into a developing hazard. Surely as a driver you would spot a hazard , note it mentally ( a click in this stupid test) and if it didnt turn into a potential hazard you would keep driving.

  10. cprassault permalink
    Tuesday, June 25, 2013 7:49 pm

    Almost failed, test never made sense to me back in 2007 when I first took it. Didn’t make any sense today, though I scored worse this time. I would say just go crazy with the clicks. The times where I was hesitant and clicked on 3 or 4 times are probably the times I did worst. Definitely seems a lot harder now so perhaps they are docking points for incorrect assessment, and I agree with the general sentiment- worthless test. If anything passing is motivation to pass the practical this time so I don’t have to do it again.

    Feel bad for those who fail it, awful value for money and the wait is horrendous here. Overpaid goons.

  11. Monday, September 2, 2013 5:08 pm

    i failed this part of the test today (i was 2 marks off) but i find myself clicking to early and then loosing marks. Thing is a can see the hazard developing really early so i click, then i end up scoring 0 because i clicked too early and was out of the scoring zone. Anyone got any advice on how i can get over this?

  12. Tuesday, December 17, 2013 6:12 pm

    Why isn’t anything official being done about this ridiculous test. Surely just spotting the hazard well in advance is enough. And if you pass Part A why can you not go back and take Hazard Perception at a cost of £15.50 ?! A government scam. Something needs to be done about this. Maybe when some PMs kid fails their HP test it will change?

  13. Thursday, March 13, 2014 9:34 pm

    I had to go through the annoying process of making a whole account to wire this comment! I just wanted to say thank you for writing this I have my first attempt at my theory on Wednesday and I was incredibly worried but this made it seem so simple. Why do they never say it like this on the apps and in the books!! Anyway thank you your awesome :D

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