Driving In London Is Like a Video Game

For those of you waiting on the edge of your seats, I passed my driving theory test. While I got a perfect score on the multiple choice section, the hazard perception section was a close call.

The Hazard Perception section is where they show video clips from the driver’s view and you have to click to identify “developing hazards”. For example, parked cars on the side of the road is just a potential hazard — no points for clicking. The same is true for a cyclist on the side of the road. But when the cyclist approaches the parked cars, then the hazard is developing because the cyclist is likely to pull out in the road (in front of you) and you must brake or steer around. The tricky part is that it is a bit subjective when exactly it changes from a potential hazard to a developing hazard.

While practicing for this part of the test, K commented that it looked like I was playing a video game. Indeed from my experience driving in London this weekend, it is like a video game — cars parked in the middle of the street, pedestrians coming at you from all directions, and dodging buses and road works. We didn’t have hazards like this in the States. You could pretty much expect your lane to be clear under normal conditions. Here, people park in the middle of the road and think nothing of it. No wonder they put such an emphasis on hazard perception.

The earliest available time to take my practical test is March 12. Hopefully that is when this saga will come to an end — though the pass rate is 35% so I could use a little luck. Until then, this is my last week as a licensed driver.

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