Bonus - Driving Orientation Course
I waited a while after getting my license before booking Driving Orientation Course (DOC) lessons. To book a lesson, just head down to BBDC and let the staff at the gate know you are booking DOC lessons. Then head to the counter for a queue number for the booths inside the main building.
I think most people book two lessons, but the number of lessons is up to you, and you can book more anytime. Do note that payment is only by NETS (or Cash).
I booked two lessons spaced out one month apart thinking that I will other plans with friends and didn’t want to rush anything. However, covid phase 2 happened again and I ended up with more free time than expected haha. I did go ahead to try car sharing rental in between the lessons and that was pretty good TBH haha but that’s another topic all together.
Also, you will need to bring a cashcard along on the lessons but lucky me took lessons on Sundays and the ERP and carparks were free! Side note, I checked a lot about which cashcards were accepted, and I believe all you need to know is that old chipped cashcards are super hard to find these days and that BBDC staff said that new nets flashpay cards are accepted in their UI units.
Both lessons were on car 174, which I knew from lessons previously, - all-purpose car, no number at the side!
I was the only DOC lesson that session and I was hoping to learn Multi-storey carpark (MSCP) parking but… somehow, I relented, and we went on Expressway familiarisation.
We went on PIE, KJE, BKE, SLE (and maybe CTE but… I cannot really remember) and went all the way to Sembawang. Some tips I got for expressway is that staying on the middle lane is good (and if there are four lanes then stay on lane 3). As you head into the expressway via the acceleration lane, there is also no need to speed up so fast, just fast enough to get in and stay at a similar speed to the rest of the cars will do. From left to right lane, the instructor recommended a speed of 70kmh, 80kmh, and 90kmh. I think that the tricky part is definitely exiting as there are exits that split and you have to know which one to take really quick.
In terms of awareness, take only quick glances at the mirrors to know the surrounding situation. Note that going down slope will unknowingly increase speed and going up slope will require stepping on the accelerator to maintain speed. Also, once out of the expressway, remember to slow down to be within the appropriate speeds again.
We then went back to BBDC carpark to learn 45 degree parking. Spoiler alert, while I was able to do so during the lesson with adjustments, it is not the best and most efficient via this instructor’s sighting points. Hence, read on for better parking tips in lesson 2.
That day there were other cars having DOC as well, and the instructor said his previous session was also for DOC, so it seems many people do go for such lessons too!
This session focused on MSCP parking which was great! I told him I learnt the 45 degree parking last session but was still not good at it. So, he taught me his sighting points and oh my they were so much better imo! I could get into the lot following those sighting points in just one try without the need for corrections unless I deviated (which is perfectly okay). How I wish I got him for my first lesson haha.
Here’s the sighting points:
For parking on the left – drive up to the right line of the intended lot is aligned near shoulder, pay attention to the car directly on your left. Turn on hazard light. Full lock to the right and continue till the car that was on your left now reaches the bottom left corner of the back left window. Stop and straighten the wheel. Then full lock left and reverse back. Ensure that both sides are clear as you reverse nicely into the lot. Pay attention to the side mirrors too.
For parking on the right – drive up to the left line of the intended lot is aligned near shoulder, pay attention to the car directly on your right. Turn on hazard light. Full lock left and continue till the car is visible in the back right window. Now different sighting points will exist depending on your sitting position. For me, I sit rather forward so the car is now just slightly visible, about 6cm from the bottom left corner of the back window. The instructor mentioned about half the window at first so you can try from there and see what works for you. Stop the car and straighten the wheel. Then full lock right and reverse back. This will put you nicely in the lot.
Corrections can be done just like how you learnt in school to place the car more in the center. If there is a pillar, do not go as forward before reversing. For parking with no cars on the side, lower the mirror to see the ‘T’ corner of the lot that you want to get into and follow the steps like before, but paying attention to seeing somewhat a curvature to turn into the lot with the back wheel. Remember to change to ‘Park’ gear and handbrake once completed.
For parallel parking, we followed the school method and one thing to note will be to align the back of the car to the back of the other car/kerb before turning in. Tilt the mirror if necessary.
Also, we went to a carpark with angular bends up (except for the first level) and then spiral down! That was exciting HAHA the instructor even said think of it as a ‘S-course’ and you would know how ‘well’ I do for this section if you read the rest of the blog. But no problem, I definitely think experience helps and following the car rental session, I could better identify if the car can clear the side.
I read a little about DOC and here’s the general consensus in the forums that one lesson can be pretty good especially if you are able to get an instructor that can teach both expressway familiarisation and MSCP parking in one lesson. (The second instructor said he managed to do that for his previous session.) On the other hand, you might get more rigid instructors and not even learn about the 45 degree parking. Therefore, your experience might vary. There are others who advise on just renting a car and trying these out on your own for a more economical option, which I do agree on if you have someone who can guide you on parking etc.
With that, thank you for reading. Drive safe~ And as always, feel free to leave a comment on the chat page if you like!
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