What actually is a hazard?
A hazard can be anything that may cause a driver to change the speed, direction or even stop the vehicle. You will encounter hundreds of hazards in your everyday driving such as roundabouts, junctions, traffic lights – these are known as static hazards.
However, static hazards are not what you will be scored on in your Hazard Perception exam, but rather your ability to spot developing hazards.
What is classed as a developing hazard?
A developing hazard can be anything from a pedestrian stepping out into the road, a child running between parked cars, or a car exiting a drive way. As part of developing your hazard perception skills it’s essential that you learn to look out for the early warning signs of a developing hazard. But you must also be able to understand how different situations can potentially develop into a more serious hazard.
Example of a developing hazard
A good example of a developing hazard is you see a ball roll out across the road ahead of you. This could potentially be closely followed by a young child. The sooner you learn to spot a developing hazard, the quicker you can react and avoid unnecessary action that could potentially cause a serious collision.
When I see a hazard, when should I click?
You should click for anything that has the potential to develop in to a hazard, and then click again a second time, if it DOES develop. You may want to click a third time, if the hazard continues to develop and there is time to do so.
If the “thing” you saw (and which you acknowledged with a click) DOES NOT continue to develop, then simply don’t click a second time.
By following these rules, you maximise your chance of scoring 4 or 5 points (that’s what the first click is for), at the same time as minimising the chances of scoring 0 points and/or being accused of having cheated (that’s what clicks 2 and 3 are for and why we recommend a maximum of 3 clicks for any one developing hazard and a maximum of one for something that DOESN’T develop).
Why work like this? Read on to find out…
What happens if I click too early?
Well – there is a chance that with your first click, you will score 5 points but there is also a chance that you will score zero by clicking 100th of a second before the window opens. The second click may be the one that scores you 5, but more likely, it is going to score you 3 or 4 (unless you scored 5 with your first click – in which case it is simply ignored for scoring purposes).
Think of the second click as a safeguard against the first click being ahead of the opening window… It probably won’t get you 5 marks, but it should get you at least 3. You neither need to score 5 for every hazard, nor should you expect to!
Your final click is a long stop – and it might only score you 1 or 2 points – but in the event that your first two clicks were not successful, it will help to ensure you get at least SOME points for every hazard.
Beware of the cheat detection system!
There is an anti-cheat algorithm in our software (and in the DVSA’s test). This is intended to prevent people from passing by simply clicking lots of times. The algorithm can detect rapid, patterned or repeated clicking. i.e. if you click too many times, it will be detected and you will be given a score of zero.
However, if you are clicking only when there are developing hazards or potentially developing hazards on screen, you are VERY unlikely to trigger that response. That’s not to say that you should go clicking at every little thing you notice, but you should not be afraid to click 3 or 4 times during the development of a hazard if you are suspicious/confident that it is the scoring hazard (or one of the two scoring hazards).
Summary of when to click in the official Hazard Perception Test
So, by following these steps you should maximise your chances of achieving the best possible score in your Hazard Perception Test:
- If you see something that you can imagine might develop in to a hazard, then click IMMEDIATELY.
- If the road scene continues to develop as you feared (i.e. in the direction of a hazardous situation), then click a second time.
- When the situation has developed to the point where you would be doing something about it, click again.