Passage

The driving theory test went well. I only got 35 out of 35 for the multiple choice bit. For the hazard perception bit I got 63 out of 75. My mode score was 5 per hazard (the maximum is 5)! Crazy. Fair to say I nailed it then.

Not bad considering I didn’t get much sleep last night. It’s a bit of a pre-exam tradition for me. I spend so much time not getting out of bed until midday at the earliest that I can never get enough sleep if I have to actually get up early (9am in this case). Funnily enough, I felt absolutely fine. I often perform well if I haven’t had a lot of sleep, although I know from experience that it is unwise to deprive yourself of sleep.

The hazard perception clips can be pretty ridiculous. If you’ve never had experience of these, you are basically shown a short video clip of a car journey, and at some point something absolutely ridiculous — a “developing hazard” — will happen. Then you have to click to show that you’ve seen this hazard develop.

A lot of the clips are ridiculously staged. In one of the clips you see somebody getting boxes out of a white van. This happens for ages and ages, for the entire length of the road. And what happens as soon as you reach the van? The bloke suddenly decides to carry the boxes that he has been holding for ages; he steps out right in front of you to cross the road. Give that man an Oscar.

How this is supposed to test your actual perception of hazards I don’t know. For a start, with these hazard perception clips you know that a hazard is going to occur, whereas in real life you don’t. Your finger hovers over the mouse button when your foot could never hover above the brake like that. All of the instructors seem to hate it aswell — they call it an arcade game. Real hazard perception, they say, happens when you’re actually driving.

Here is a tip for anybody who happens to be sitting their theory test in Dunfermline. I might as well use my Google power for something other than 53X 74p3. The directions you are given in the letter are fairly vague. Most misleadingly they tell you that it’s in Dunfermline, which is technically true. I had been warned against going by train by more than one person — it’s too far away from the train station, and you’ll just get lost.

But which train station? Because it is in Dunfermline, most people only consider going from Dunfermline Town train station. But one person advised me that the centre is actually very close to Rosyth train station! It sounds wrong but it’s true. Rosyth train station isn’t actually in Rosyth, it’s kind of wedged in between Rosyth and Dunfermline. So the driving theory place is little more than a 10 minute walk away. It’s not difficult to find your way.

Now I’ve just got to do it all on the road instead of a computer screen. That could prove a challenge…

5 comments

  1. Did you ever see the official Hazard Perception Test DVD before you took your test? It gives sample videos of what to expect. The second clip I believe is a country road where a man is walking by the side of the road. Now you mention the acting – well this particular chap plays it up to the cameras all right, because as soon as the camera/car gets up close to him, he immediately starts walking in the most camp fashion ever. When you notice it, it’s ridiculous!

    I actually think the Hazard part of the test is a good idea though. Yes you know there will be a hazard in the clip, but you don’t know if the scoreable hazard will occur 5 seconds into the clip, or 1 minute 30. You are made to continuously scout the surroundings for the kind of things its easy to forget about or miss when you are actually driving. In addition, it tests your response time to hazards that unfold. I remember when I took my theory test, on the way to the test centre I took the bus in. Sitting on the top deck, I spent much of the journey looking out for the hazards. Up until that point I’d been much more casual about such things but now I was much more focused and aware, and when I took the actual driving part, I was much more confident.

    Congrats on passing though. It really is a piece of piss isn’t it. I assume the only people who struggle with the theory tests are the same types who watch shows like ITV’s The Mint and actually believe they’re going to guess the number and win £10,000 or whatever. Bunch of idiots the lot of them.

  2. The hazard perception test is one of the more ridiculous attempts by the DSA to get “hip” and up with the new technology. The clips are poor quality and don’t test the candidate’s perception skills one jot.

    As I’m retaking my ADI qualifications (having allowed my license to lapse some 15 years ago), I had to take this silly test. As it is designed to test learner drivers, it disadvantages experienced drivers who spot the “hazards” well before the scoring window. Consequently, they tend to score low. I managed to blow one complete clip. In this case, the clip showed the car on a dual carriageway approaching a junction. Now, come on, it’s blindingly obvious what the “hazard” will be – a car emerging from the left. Yup, sure enough, that’s what it was. As there was a truck overtaking on the right at the same time, I clicked for that, too. The computer said “no” as I’d clicked too many times.

    I still passed the test overall, and still have a very low opinion of the test. Hazard perception will only be carried out effectively out on the road with real hazards.

  3. Thanks everyone.

    Yeah, I saw that clip on the official DVD! At first I thought he was just playing a drunkard or something, but he’s much better at playing somebody who walks in a really camp manner.