Road user hazard perception tests: a systematic review of current methodologies

Caroline Moran, Joanne M. Bennett*, Prasannah Prabhakharan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Poor hazard perception, or the ability to anticipate potentially dangerous road and traffic situations, has been linked to an increased crash risk. Novice and younger road users are typically poorer at hazard perception than experienced and older road users. Road traffic authorities have recognised the importance of hazard perception skills, with the inclusion of a hazard perception test in most Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) systems. Objectives: This review synthesises studies of hazard perception tests in order to determine best practice methodologies that discriminate between novice/younger and experienced/older road users. Data sources: Published studies available on PsychInfo, Scopus and Medline as at April 2018 were included in the review. Studies included a hazard perception test methodology and compared non-clinical populations of road users (car drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians), based on age and experience, or compared methodologies. Results: 49 studies met the inclusion criteria. There was a high degree of heterogeneity in the studies. However all methodologies – video, static image, simulator and real-world test-drive were able to discriminate road user groups categorised by age and/or experience, on at least one measure of hazard perception. Conclusions: Whilst there was a high level of heterogeneity of studies, video methodology utilising temporal responses (e.g. press a button when detecting the potential hazard) are a consistent measure of hazard perception across road user groups, whereas spatial measures (e.g. locate potential hazard in the scenario) were inconsistent. Staged footage was found to discriminate as well as unstaged footage, with static images also adding valuable information on hazard perception. There were considerable inconsistencies in the categorising of participants based on age and experience, limited application of theoretical frameworks, and a considerable lack of detail regarding post hoc amendments of hazardous scenarios. This research can guide further developments in hazard perception testing that may improve driver licensing and outcomes for road users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-333
Number of pages25
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • hazard perception tests
  • methodology
  • road user
  • Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) young drivers
  • novice drivers
  • older drivers


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