New drivers are disproportionately involved in accidents, especially in the first few months after taking and passing their driving test. It has also been proven that drivers who have taken any hazard perception training have much better hazard awareness skills.
Why the hazard perception was introduced
By the year 2010 the government wants to reduce the number of people seriously injured and killed on Britain’s roads by 40%.
The hazard perception test was introduced into the driving test in November 2002 as one of the measures that should help achieve this target by encouraging training in the art of scanning the road ahead so as to be able to recognise at the earliest opportunity any clues that point towards a potentially dangerous situation that might arise, and then adopt a driving plan to reduce the risk.
How the HPT works
The HPT is delivered to you on a computer and you are asked to respond by clicking the mouse button. You will be shown a series of video clips which will feature a selection of every day road scenes. In each of the clips there will be at last one developing hazard, but one of the clips will feature two developing hazards, you will not know which clip this will be!
For you to achieve a high score you will need to respond to the developing hazard during the early part of its development and ideally within 5 seconds as this is the window during which you can score points. The maximum points you can score on each hazard is five.
To be able to recognise and see danger developing from the clues you see, is a necessary skill for all drivers what ever the vehicle you are driving. So the same version of the HPT is used for all categories of tests, just the pass mark changes.
An example of when and how to respond
This is an example of how to identify and respond to a developing hazard. There is a vehicle parked at the side of the road, when you first see the vehicle it is not moving, just parked at the side of the road. If at this point you were to click your mouse button you would not score any points, but at the same time you would not lose any points.
However, when you approach nearer the vehicle, you see the vehicle’s right hand indicator start to flash. This would lead you to think that the driver is intending to move away, therefore the hazard has now become a developing one and if you clicked your mouse now you would score points. The driver turning on his indicator has changed the situation from a potential hazard to a developing hazard.
When you get closer to the vehicle they will probably start to move off from the kerb, this is when another click is needed from you to. Each clip in the test will have different signs to indicate that the hazard is changing from a potential hazard to a developing hazard.
How the test is scored
The maximum points you can score for each developing hazard is five. You should respond by clicking your mouse as soon as you see a hazard developing that might make you, the driver, have to take some kind of action. This may be a change of speed or direction. Remember the earlier you see a developing hazard and then respond to it, the more points you will score.
At any time during the video clips you just click your mouse continuously you will score zero for that clip, and at the end of that clip a pop-up box will appear on the screen telling you that you have scored zero and then you will move on to the next clip.