Hazard Perception Test

How to pass the hazard perception test

Total Reading Time: 10 mins 21 secs; Author: The AA; Last Updated: 20 October 2023

Before you can book your practical driving test, you have to pass the driving theory test.

The first part of the theory test is a selection of multiple-choice questions to assess your knowledge of The Highway Code and rules of the road. The second part is the hazard perception test, which is what we’re concentrating on here. Here’s everything you need to know about the hazard perception test, and how to pass.

A person holding a smart phone using a driving theory test revision app

What is the hazard perception test?

The hazard perception test is all about identifying hazards as they develop. This section is made up of videos of everyday driving scenarios, and tests how quickly you can identify potentially dangerous situations.

The key is to identify hazards as soon as possible, which are situations which would cause you to brake or otherwise take evasive action. These might include things like:

  • Other vehicles pulling out of a junction without looking properly
  • Pedestrians stepping out into the road
  • Children playing around parked cars
  • Road conditions worsening

What do you do in the hazard perception test?

First of all, you’ll watch a short tutorial video explaining what to do in the hazard perception test. This part of the test is computer-based.

A series of 14 videos follows, each featuring typical day-to-day driving scenarios. These videos are each about a minute long, and you need to interact when you see a hazard developing. This is usually by clicking a mouse.

While most of the videos feature just one hazard, one will have two developing hazards to identify. You won’t be told in advance which of the videos features two hazards, so you’ll have to stay on your guard.

How the theory test works

There are 2 parts to the theory test:

  • Part 1 – a series of multiple choice questions.
  • Part 2 – a hazard perception test.

Multiple choice questions

The 50 multiple choice questions test your knowledge of The Highway Code and official DVSA guidance on driving skills. The questions are continually updated so they reflect current legislation.

There are 45 multiple-choice questions and 5 questions that relate to a case study.

The case study is presented as a short story which is based on a potential real-life situation. To pass, you need to answer at least 43 of those questions correctly within 57 minutes.

You can skip questions you aren't sure about and come back to them before the 57 minutes are up. Once you're happy with your answers, carefully check the test and then submit it.

Hazard perception test

The hazard perception test helps drivers develop their scanning skills and learn how to spot hazards early. The pass mark for this section is 44 out of 75 points.

Before you begin, you'll be shown a short explanatory video. You'll then watch 14 video clips of everyday road scenes. Each video scene has at least one developing hazard. This is something that would cause you to take action - like changing your speed or direction. As mentioned, one video clip will contain two hazards.

You score points for spotting hazards as soon as they develop. For each hazard, you can score up to 5 points. The sooner you spot the hazard, the higher your score. However, don't assume you can cheat the system. You'll automatically score zero if you continuously click the screen in an attempt to blindly 'find' the hazard.

Also, unlike part 1 of the test, you only get one attempt at each clip, and you can't go back to review or change your responses.

Why is the hazard perception test part of the driving test?

Simply put, hazard perception makes the roads safer. After becoming part of the test, the Department for Transport (DfT) estimated that the hazard perception test’s introduction could have contributed to an 11% reduction in crashes, and savings of £89.5 million each year in damage costs.

How long does a theory and hazard perception test take?

You've got 1 hour and 20 minutes to complete your driving theory test, although some people finish it sooner.

The times are:

  • Multiple-choice questions: 57 minutes
  • Hazard perception: between 15 and 20 minutes

Once you've submitted the first part, you can either have a 3-minute break or carry straight on with the hazard perception test.

Hazard perception test pass mark

When it comes to scoring hazard perception, the earlier you spot the situation developing, the higher the score.

If you’re taking the car or motorcycle test, there are 15 scorable hazards. Spotting a hazard in a timely fashion can earn you up to 5 points.

In order to pass, you need to score at least 44 points out of a possible 75.

What is a good hazard perception score?

As mentioned, the pass mark is 44, so it’s fair to say that’s a good hazard perception score. That’s an average of 2.93 out of 5 per hazard.

Don’t take it too hard if you don’t get too close to 75. According to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request made to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in 2014, only nine drivers had scored 75 over the previous seven years. So that’s just over one person a year, on average.

How many clicks are you allowed on the hazard perception test?

While there’s no maximum number of clicks you’re allowed as such, you should aim not to click excessively or too rapidly. The DVSA will not reveal how many clicks is too many.

Quick-fire or excessive clicking means you forfeit your score on that clip. So that could be 5 or 10 points in one go. As such, it’s important to be measured in your clicking.

A good strategy is to click once when you see what might be a hazard developing, and click again when it becomes an actual hazard. So, for instance, one when you see a vehicle approaching a junction, and then another if it pulls out too close to oncoming traffic.

Hazard perception test practice

When it comes to the question of how much you should practise for the hazard perception test, we think you can never have too much. After all, you can never know too much before a lifetime of driving.

And if you’d like to get some practice in how to pass the hazard perception test, you’ve come to the right place. Our new AA Driving Theory App contains extensive hazard perception test-style videos to practise on.

Prep for a pass, with The AA Driving Theory app

Available now for Android and iOS devices

Download The AA Driving Theory App on Google Play StoreDownload The AA Driving Theory App on iOS App Store

Mock hazard perception test

Not only does our theory test app contain numerous hazard perception practice videos, but also 700 multiple-choice questions. We’ve completely covered all of the 2023 DVSA revision content, so there’ll be no surprises on the day.

So if you’re looking for a mock theory test to increase your chances of passing the real thing, we’ve got your back.

What happens if I pass my theory but fail hazard perception?

If you fail either the hazard perception part, or multiple-choice questions beforehand, you’ll fail the theory test entirely. This means you’ll need to rebook the theory test, and take both parts again.

Getting your theory test results

You’ll be given your results at the test centre in a printed letter shortly after you’ve finished.

If you pass, you’ll get a letter with your pass certificate number on it. Keep this in a safe place because you’ll need the number when you book your practical test. If you lose it, you can find your pass certificate number on GOV.UK.

Passing your test is great news, but the hard work doesn't stop there. You'll need to apply the knowledge you've built through your theory study during your practical driving test, and maintain it throughout your driving life.

If you don’t pass, you’ll need to wait at least 3 working days before you can retake the test.

Hazard perception test tips

The best tip we have for the hazard perception test is to be vigilant! But also:

  • Learn exactly what constitutes a hazard beforehand, as the situations will vary.
  • Don’t just look for other road users. Keep an eye out for road signs (especially red ones), and also worsening road or driving conditions.
  • Don’t click too many times, or too quickly.
  • Don’t forget that one clip features two hazards, so stay alert.
  • Get plenty of hazard perception practice before test day.

When can I take the theory test?

You can take your theory test from the day you turn 17, once your provisional licence becomes valid.

You can take it from the day you turn 16 if you've applied for, or have, the enhanced rate of the mobility section of the Personal Independence Payment.

How to book your theory test

The easiest way to do it is book your theory test online.

You'll need the following in order to book it:

  • Your provisional UK driving licence number.
  • A valid email address. If you don't have one, book by phone. You can contact the DVSA on 0300 200 1122.
  • A valid credit or debit card.

What do I need to bring to my theory test?

You'll need to bring your photocard driving licence with you. You won't be allowed to take the test if you don't bring along the right form of ID, and you'll lose your booking fee.

If you only have the old paper licence, you'll also need to bring along your signed driving licence and a valid passport.

How long does a theory pass certificate last?

Your theory pass certificate is valid for two years. If you don’t pass your practical test within this time, you’ll have to retake your theory before you can book your practical test.