The driving theory hazard perception test has been updated this year to include extreme weather conditions, such as snow, wind, heavy rain, and evening or night settings. The test includes 14 video clips, each showing a number of hazards the driver must note on a computerised system. In a real life scenario, the driver may have to change their speed, change their direction, or make an emergency stop.
The exam aims to test prospective drivers’ reactions to ongoing or developing hazards, so they can competently respond when they’d passed their test in varying conditions. It’s been proven that the hazard testing process prevents and reduces accidents on the roads, and the Department for Transport states that it could be responsible for an 11% reduction in road accidents. Not only does that figure account for a large proportion of drivers, hundreds of lives could have been saved by this initiative.
Mark Winn, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) Chief Driving Examiner, stated that ‘DVSA’s priority is to help everyone through a lifetime of safe driving. Every year too many people are injured on our roads by hazards frequently encountered by drivers and we are determined to do more. We know the theory test helps saves lives, so we are using computer-generated imagery (CGI) clips to further improve road safety.’
Figures produced by The Department for Transport state that there were 16,406 accidents in rain, sleet, snow or fog on Britain’s roads in 2017 – highlighting the need for a variety of training. A whopping 205 fatal accidents took place during those weather conditions in the same year, heightening the risk posed to drivers. For example, stopping distances are doubled in rainy conditions; and in icy or snowy weather, it can be as much as ten times more than the normal stopping distance.
Jesse Norman, Road Safety Minister, said that ‘these new hazard perception clips offer more realistic driving conditions to test a learner driver’s ability, preparing them for overcoming the real-life challenges they will face on the road – something that should benefit all road users.’
These will be introduced from the 1st of December for the motorcycle theory test – while lorry, bus, and coach theory examinations will be introduced from early 2019. While these new features are being implemented, the pass mark and scoring hasn’t changed. More information including examples of the new test scenes can be found here.