To get their full licence, your restricted driver needs to be able to identify and react to a variety of hazards.

Most experienced drivers identify and react to hazards without even thinking. But when you’re learning, it takes time and effort to master these skills and put them into practice.

Scanning for hazards and the hazard action plan

In order to identify hazards your restricted driver should be constantly scanning all around the car.

Check they’re:

  • scanning 12-seconds ahead
  • checking their blind spots and mirrors

Good scanning skills will build up a bigger picture of what’s going on around the car. It gives the driver time to use the hazard action plan:
Identify, Predict, Decide, Act.

If your restricted driver needs to work on their scanning skills or hazard action plan, they can review the Drive lesson Scanning for hazards.

Scanning for hazards

Coaching for the full licence test

As a coach, you’ll need to prepare your restricted driver for the hazard detection and response tasks in the full licence test.

Restricted drivers need to understand what is considered a ‘hazard’ in the full licence test and the type of response that the testing officer is looking for.

For the test, a hazard is "anything that is moving, or which might move, that you could realistically collide with or run over while driving".

Hazards include:

  • pedestrians
  • other motor vehicles
  • other road users, such as cyclists

During each assessed task, the testing officer will ask the driver to say out loud:

  • what each hazard is
  • where the hazard is in relation their car
  • what they’re doing about it

These responses don’t have to be detailed, a few simple words will do.

Here’s an example of how a driver might identify and respond to a hazard in the full test:

  • The driver spots oncoming traffic. They say to the testing officer “oncoming traffic”.
  • They then explain their response to the hazard by saying, “keeping left to keep a safe distance”.

You can find more examples of hazard detection and response in the Getting your full licence video:

Practising hazard identification and response

It can be difficult to describe hazards out loud, so build up confidence with easier practice sessions first.

  • Start by discussing examples of hazards with your restricted driver. Then get them to identify them from the passenger seat while you drive.
  • Next, switch places. Get your restricted driver to identify the hazards and where they are as they drive.

Once your restricted driver can to this, repeat the above, but this time ask them to tell you what they’re going to do about the hazard as well.

Coaching tips

  • If your restricted driver misses or incorrectly describes a hazard or response, make sure that you provide immediate feedback.
  • Begin practising in a quiet area with a small number of hazards. Gradually build up to busier areas with multiple hazards
  • Keep it simple. Don’t overdo the detail. Don’t worry about using complete sentences, as long as it’s clear what they’re meaning.
  • Practise at different locations and at different times of day. This provides your restricted driver with a wide variety of hazards.

As your restricted driver gains experience, identifying and reacting to hazards will become second nature to them.