first off, here are the steps on how to get a new Driving License in Singapore:
- first of all, you have to book for a Basic Theory Test (BTT) schedule. you will usually get a schedule that will be a month or so from the date you have decided to look for a schedule.
- after passing BTT, you can start to book for Practical Driving Lessons. and also should book the Final Theory Test (FTT). you will need to take around 25 to 30 sessions of Practical Driving Lessons, depending on how well you do on the lessons. a single session lasts for two hours at SSDC. and if you don't manage to pass the requirements of the session, you're going to have to retake it.
- and finally, you have to pass the Driving Exam after having finished all the required sessions of Practical Lessons. to pass the Driving Exam, you need to get less than 20 demerit points. and you must avoid the errors that will cause Instant Failure, such as not stopping on the stop line, crossing a double line, and not being able to do the parallel/vertical parking in time.
now, unlike the Theory Exams, which i have both aced without difficulty, the practical lessons have been really challenging for me. and here is a list of the things that made learning how to drive a complete nightmare for me:
- first of all, almost all the instructors are grumpy and impatient. and they really don't care so much at all whether you learn or not because they get paid anyway.
- it takes forever to travel from the city center where i live to the Driving Center, which is in Woodlands (the countryside). so it's always an effort for me to motivate myself to attend the lesson because i'm not really a masochistic person and i have a low tolerance for the rudeness of the instructors (and i pay 77 - 85 SGD per session booking for all this!)
- i was trying to learn to drive a manual car, which is not really as easy as an automatic one. even though most of the cars in Singapore are automatic, including the one that we have, i still need to learn to drive manual for when we go outside Singapore, particularly when we travel to, or if we ever need to go back to live in Europe
- driving a car was not a natural thing for me because i have very bad peripheral vision and i have very poor hand-eye coordination
- i am a little bit short. which makes reaching for the foot pedals not very easy. and also, when i do the parallel parking, i had to stand a bit to see through the passenger window while trying to do the clutch control... thankfully, i managed to find an instructor (towards the end of my classes) who gave me good instructions by looking at the side mirror instead of looking through the passenger window.
what advice could i give to people living in Singapore who are trying to obtain a new Driving License? below is my list:
- never make the mistake of putting up with grumpy instructors. find one that you go along with well because it's not only going to make the learning part difficult but it could also agitate and stress you while on the road, which could lead to accidents. i think it's best to be zen while driving. i have made this very expensive and regretful mistake of putting up with all the grumpy instructors who were randomly assigned to me each time i would book a practical lesson. i only realized this mistake after quite some time because i thought at first that this should be part of the training on how to be a good driver. totally not! and also, you need to pay extra cash to book an instructor. but it's totally worth it.
- wear comfortable clothes that don't restrict leg movement and best of all, wear comfortable shoes. i am so thankful i purchased a pair of foldable flat shoes that are super comfortable, it made controlling the foot pedals a lot easier. especially when you're doing two hours of parallel and vertical driving practice! it made a lot of difference.
- try to schedule your lesson dates close to each other. finish all your lessons as soon as possible. i think it goes without saying that the sooner you get it over with, the better. as for me, i had the misfortune of getting lazy halfway through my lessons. and also, there were circumstances beyond my control that made it impossible for me to have the time to take the lessons. and so, it dragged for more than a year. this is also because you have to book lessons a month in advance because the schedules get taken so fast.
- also, never give up (i know i almost did). even if you fail the Driving Exam on the first try. it just means that you're not good enough yet and you have to try harder. everything can be learned. and eventually, you will learn to drive properly. and i'm actually glad they are strict here when it comes to passing people at Driving Exams. it means they are seriously concerned for the safety of the people. because driving is no joke.
- to Mr. Chong Meng Leong of SSDC who managed to teach me properly how to do parallel parking when you are too short to look through the passenger window.
- to some of my thoughtful friends who kept encouraging me. and those who congratulated me. :)
- and lastly, i'm just glad i have a wonderful husband who kept on motivating me.
best of luck to those who have stumbled upon my blog and are persevering to get a Driving License! :)