Theory Test – Hazard Awareness Questions & Answers
Section 4 of 14 of the DVSA driving theory test covers hazard awareness. The various types of hazards detailed in this section include static and moving hazards, hazards related to road and weather, plus hazards that can occur due to the driver not being fit to drive.
After you have finished revision, there’s a practice quiz to test your knowledge at the bottom of this page. It’s not a mock test but more a revision quiz as the correct answer is provided after each question to help you revise.
Links are provided in this section for further reading but are not required for revising this category. Before we take the quiz, we shall cover some of the topics in the ‘hazard awareness’ category that will important revision for the DVSA theory test.
There are many hazards that you’ll encounter whilst driving, some of these will be static and include:
- Hazards in the road such as parked cars and road works
- Junctions, roundabouts and crossroads
- Pedestrian crossings and level crossings
- Traffic lights
As you begin driving, you’ll be concentrating primarily on vehicle control. As you gain in experience, you’ll need to become more aware of hazards and spotting hazards early on. As you gain in experience, become more observant and become more aware of road signs and road markings that are often placed before hazards to alert you and to allow you to prepare.
Parked cars represent a hazard, in particular when they are a parked illegally and where they pose a danger to the public. Such instances are where driver park on the white zig zag lines at pedestrian crossings. Always try to leave sufficient distance from parked cars whilst driving in case doors open and in busy areas in particular, be cautious of children running out from between them.
Road works are required on any road type from time-to-time. Road works on dual carriageways and motorways represent a hazard due to the high speed of the roads. If you see a hazard or road works on a dual carriageway or motorway that involves you reducing speed, you may briefly use your hazard warning lights to warn following drivers. If your vehicle breaks down, use your hazard warning lights to warn other motorists.
Where road works are located on dual carriageways or motorways, slow moving vehicles may be used to inform motorists of the hazard and to change lane. Yellow signs may also be used where road works are present.
Junctions, Roundabouts and Crossroads
Junctions, including roundabouts and crossroads can be particularly hazardous in urban areas. Be careful when pulling out of a junction that has tree, bushes, fences or parked cars obscuring the road you intend on entering. Move out slowly until you can see the road is clear. Be cautious of cyclists that can be obscured by your vehicle door post when moving out from a junction.
When parking, avoid parking too close to a junction and creating a hazard. At junctions or crossroads that are light controlled and where the lights have failed, treat this as an unmarked junction where no one has priority.
There are many moving hazards that you’ll encounter as a driver. Some of these are:
- Pedestrians – especially vulnerable whilst crossing the road at junctions and pedestrian crossings. Some pedestrians may take time to cross, always remain patient and allow them time. Be prepared to allow a safe passing distance on country roads where pedestrians may be walking without a pavement.
- Cyclists – with little protection and difficult to see are vulnerable. Give cyclists plenty of room when passing as they may swerve to avoid drains and potholes and may wobble in windy conditions. Check mirrors before making turns as a cyclist may be filtering down the side.
- Motorcyclists – can also be difficult to see. As with cyclists, check mirrors before making a turn as a motorcyclist may be coming alongside. Motorcyclists can easily be concealed in your mirror blind spot, so ensure you check this and your mirrors before changing lanes.
- Horse riders – horses can be unpredictable. Approach slowly and allow for plenty of room when overtaking.
- Large vehicles – such as buses often pull into stops. When a bus signals to exit the stop, stop to allow the bus exit if safe to do so. Be cautious of passengers exiting the bus to cross the road, in particular school children. Large and tall vehicles may require extra room when turning or may drive into the middle of the road when driving under a bridge. Large vehicles of 13 metres in length or more will have red and yellow markings on the rear.
Road and Weather Conditions
Always take into account weather conditions and prepare for them accordingly. Bright sunlight, especially in the winter when it is low in the sky can make roads difficult to see. This can be especially hazardous on wet roads that reflect light. Stopping distances are affected depending on weather conditions. If it’s raining, double your normal distance from the vehicle in front to four seconds. In icy conditions, the distance should be extended to 20 seconds. Remember to use dipped headlights and illuminate your rear fog lamp in fog conditions.
Being a Hazard Yourself
Always be aware of what is around you. Your interior mirror provides an exact representation of what is behind you whilst the door mirrors are usually convex glass. Convex glass is curved to allow for a wider field of view.
Tiredness is a major cause of road accidents as if affects your ability to concentrate and reduces awareness. Avoid driving if you are tired. If whilst driving you begin to feel drowsy, open a window to allow in fresh air and if possible pull over in a safe and legal position to rest. If driving on a motorway, leave at the next exit to locate a suitable resting area.
Alcohol and Drugs
Always avoid driving if you have been drinking alcohol or under the influence of drugs (no matter how little). Certain medication or drugs prescribed by your doctor may cause drowsiness. Before taking, check the label or consult your doctor or pharmacist if unsure.
If you are unfit to drive due to alcohol or drugs and have been convicted, you’ll receive a substantial fine and penalty points on your licence. It’s likely that you’ll receive a driving ban and the cost of future car insurance premiums will increase significantly.
Your concentration can be affected by:
- Using a mobile phone – turn off your mobile whilst driving or switch it to silent to avoid distraction
- Looking a the Sat-nav or traditional paper map – plan your route in advance and if you need to look at a map, find a safe and legal place to stop
- Road rage – we all make mistakes and sometimes this happens whilst driving. If a road user angers you, rather than retaliate, remain calm else you risk making the situation worse