The Hazard Perception Test Book 

Hazards and hazard perception

There are three basic hazard perception skills thatgood drivers use to stay safe:

  • Keeping a safe distance from other vehicles.
    Keeping a safe distance from other vehicles.

  • Selecting safe gaps when turning, crossing traffic or changing lanes.
    Selecting safe gaps when turning, crossing traffic or changing lanes.

  • Scanning for hazards ahead, behind and to the side.
    Scanning for hazards ahead, behind and to the side.

Information on how to develop these key hazard perception skills and other useful safe driving skills can be found in Part Two of this handbook (see section titled Part Two, p 19 onwards).

Developing hazard perception skills

It takes time to develop hazard perception skills. The best way to achieve them is to get plenty of driving experience across lots of different driving situations. This is how more experienced drivers have developed their hazard perception skills. Because they have these skills, these drivers are involved in fewer crashes than less experienced drivers (see section Why the Hazard Perception Test?, p 7).

The aim of this handbook is to help you develop hazard perception skills that will make you a safer driver and prepare you to undertake the Hazard Perception Test (HPT).

Because it takes time and practice to develop hazard perception skills, you should be working on them from the day that you get your P1 licence. This handbook will help guide you.

The Hazard Perception Test (HPT)

The HPT is part of the licensing scheme for new drivers that commenced in South Australia on 31 October 2005. It involves a touch-screen computer-based test which measures your ability to recognise potential dangerous situations on the road and react appropriately.

You must pass the HPT to progress from a P1 to a P2 licence. Information on the licensing scheme for new drivers can be found in the booklet 'The Drivers Handbook' which is available from Customer Service Centres and newsagents. You can also find the information on the website (

A summary of how the HPT works and what to expect when you take the test can be found in the section titled, How the Hazard perception Test works on p 12.

Why the Hazard Perception Test?

The aim of the HPT is to confirm that P1 drivers have enough hazard perception skills to "graduate" to the less restricted P2 licence. Research shows that these skills are important for safe driving and that drivers with poor hazard perception skills usually have more crashes. Research also shows that screen-based hazard perception tests can detect drivers with a higher risk of crash involvement.

The introduction of the HPT should help reduce thehigh crash involvement of young and inexperienced drivers in South Australia. Currently, drivers aged under 21 years are involved in around three times more crashes than those aged 21 years or more.

The HPT is based on the driving situations that lead to the four most common crash types for South Australian provisional drivers. More information on these crash types may be found in the section Crash Patterns of Provisional Drivers in South Australia (see p 9 and10).

The purpose of the HPT is not to "pick on" young and inexperienced drivers. It is to help reduce the high level of young driver crashes in South Australia by:

  • encouraging new drivers to develop hazard perception skills
  • testing P1 drivers on driving situations that are known to lead to the most common types of crashes involving new drivers and
  • only allowing P1 drivers with adequate hazard perception skills to "graduate" to less restricted P2 status.

Use this handbook to help you

Person sitting behind the wheel of a car

Use this handbook to help you get to P2 licence status and become a safer driver with sound hazard perception skills.The first part of the handbook provides background about the HPT. For easy reference, the pages in Part One have a yellow border. The second part helps you develop and practice hazard perception skills. The pages in Part Two have a red border. There is also an index at the back of the handbook and a glossary to explain words that you may not be familiar with. The index, glossary and content pages all have grey borders.

Creative commons licence 3.0