Posts about driving

Guide on how to adjust car mirrors to minimize blind spots

For drivers: A guide on how to adjust your car mirrors and minimize the blind spots. I’m not sure how useful this is until I experience it myself. Meanwhile, if you’ve tried it, do let me know!

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Licensed to drive…

a motor car! After numerous driving lessons and the amount of money I’ve “invested”, I’ve finally obtained my Class 3 driving license this afternoon. I’m in a state of mixed emotions at the time of writing this entry and no words can describe the sense of relief I felt when the examiner finalized my results.

My driving instructor was kind enough to give me last minute pointers just before I went to ballot for my test route. Time seems to tick by slowly as I waited anxiously for the balloting to begin. I looked through the list of testers’ name and the test route they are assigned to and prayed that I’ll be able to get my desire route and a kind tester. As I placed my hand into the ballot box, I simply picked one number and to my surprise, it was the test route and tester I’ve hoped for. I thought God was kind and luck was on my side now.

Everything went smoothly during the initial phase of the test and I could still hear my own heartbeat beating fast and furious. I managed to clam down and proceeded to clear my first obstacle. Next item was parallel parking. I was confident and managed to get the car parked neatly. Just as I was about to reverse the vehicle and get out of the lot, the vehicle struck one of the two poles! My heart sunk by a few thousand feet and I thought that’s it. I wasn’t too sure if that constitute an immediate failure or deduction of 10 demerit points.

I managed to steal a quick glance on the check-list and saw a tick on the 10 demerit point check box. My morale boasted a little and I carried on with the rest of the stations in the circuit uneventfully. The ride at the roads was relatively smooth except for a lane changing sequence which the tester thought was too abrupt. What’s more…I realised that generally, Singapore drivers are patient and kind enough to give way for vehicles taking driving test. The only exception was the very vehicle that refused to allow me to filter to the next lane and cost me demerit points.

I’m glad to have passed my driving test. Special thanks go to my family members and friends for their support and encouragement. Not forgetting my driving instructor for his guidance though I paid quite abit just for his coaching and time as well as to the tester for his kindness.

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Driving in rain

I was about to leave my house for driving lesson when the gloomy clouds decided that it had endured enough and started to give way by releasing its long accumulated load. I thought to myself “oh no, not again”. I dislike being outdoors when it rains and more importantly, I hate it when it rain during my driving lessons! Not only will the visibility be reduced, I find that it’s a great challenge for learner drivers like me whom have little road experience to properly handle a vehicle. I’ve had bad experience while driving in a heavy downpour condition and I was determined to avoid it.

Just as I guessed, my driving skills were a little rusty as I’m only able to attend lessons once a week due to work commitment. I barely moved the vehicle when my instructor applied handbrake because he thinks it’s unsafe to filter out of the lane when I was sure that there were enough clearance and time to move out. For that, he started to nag at me but I let it fall on deaf ears. I guess my cousin would echo my sentiments because he too had bad experiences with my instructor.

Anyway, I did screw up a little during my circuit lesson as I got mixed up with the orientation. For that, my instructor had an opportunity to give sarcastic remarks. Moreover, the circuit was packed with cars and I spent half the time waiting for my turn. Nevertheless, I still managed to make my money worth by at least practicing at all the various stations.

Driving aside, this long weekend was spent studying for the Avionics exam due on Tuesday as well as preparation for the Navigation module presentation materials. I didn’t even manage to hit the pool for a swim as planned and that certainly won’t happen next week because I’ll be busy studying for yet another exam and anticipating one of the most stressful and busiest weeks for the duration of my course.

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Lesson one

A few hours ago, I waited anxiously for the rain to stop. The last thing I would want is a heavy downpour on my very first lesson. As I stood by the shelter recalling the information I memorized earlier and waited anxiously for the target to appear, I can’t help but wonder how it feels being in control of it. Will I be able to hack it the first time or otherwise?

After eyeing for a few minutes, the vehicle I was anticipating finally appeared and drove towards the zebra crossing. I exchanged greetings with the instructor and took the passenger seat since I had no prior knowledge of practical driving. He took over controls and showed me basics of driving such as how to signal and change gears. He then drove to a remote area and handed over the controls to me.

I tried the various controls and had difficulty trying to control the accelerator initially. It is such a sensitive piece of pedal that triggers immediately when I stepped lightly on it. It took me a few tries before I managed to get the right position and gain control of it. Then came the clutch, which needs proper control or the car would stall. After a few practice, all seemed to be in order except for twice where I over-released the clutch and the vehicle stalled. I’ve even managed to drive on the road and interact with other road users!

From this session, I realized that it’s easier to fly a plane than to drive a car. Although there are many procedures and checks as compared to driving a car, it’s definitely easier in terms of control. I’ve also been reminded numerous times by the instructor to slow down, even though I felt that the vehicle is at crawling speed. It can be pretty easy to catch hold of the technique, especially having observed how others drive but this also translate to the bad habits of driving, which the instructor had to correct me.

It had been fun and I can’t wait for my next lesson where I hope to perfect what I’ve learnt and attempt to drive smoother.

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The route to obtaining a driving license

Many Singaporeans would know how expensive it is to obtain a driving license as compared to elsewhere in the world. It is known for the fact that one have to fork out a pretty sum of between S$800 for private coaching and up to S$1500 for professional school lessons — all of these does not guarantee that the candidate would pass the driving test on first attempt. So, one would asked that why does it cost so much to obtain a driving license in Singapore? One of the good reasons which I can think of is that this could be a good preventive measure put in placed by the governing authority to ensure that the drivers are professionally trained and accessed before allowing them on the road. It could also help to curb the number of people getting involved in accidents.

Now that I’ve reached the required age for obtaining a driving license, I’ve decided to start off with the theories (Basic and Final) before setting aside some time to take the practical lessons and eventually go for my driving test. Most of my friends obtained their license while studying in polytechnic but at that time, it wasn’t a priority in my list. So, what made me changed my mind? Well, I thought that since I’m now in military service and might need to drive in future, it seems logical to obtain a driving license now as I wouldn’t have any idea when I would need it and how to find time to learn driving when I have greater commitments in the near future.

Having passed my Basic Theory Test today, I’m looking forward to clear my Final Theory Test in less than a month’s time. Although I might not be able to (or will never) own a car, having a driving license is like an investment and it might come in handy, especially when travelling to a foreign country where public transport may not be as accessible compared to Singapore and driving may seem to be the best alternative.

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