12 Everyday English Phrases: Driving

Everyday English phrases for talking about driving

#1 – I’m heading to the university – I’ll give you a ride if you want.

The verb “heading to” is an informal way to say “going to” or “traveling to,” and the expression “I’ll give you a ride” means “I will take you in my car to the destination.”

#2 – Everybody buckle up, please.

The phrasal verb buckle up means to put on your seat belt:

English Phrases: Buckle Up

You can also use the verb “fasten” with a seat belt: “Everybody fasten your seat belts, please.” The opposite of buckling or fastening your seat belt is unbuckling the seat belt (opening/removing the seat belt).

#3 – There’s a huge traffic jam on the highway.

A highway (also called a freeway or expressway) is a wide street where the traffic goes fast. A traffic jam is when the traffic is stopped or slow.

#4 – You don’t want to be in this lane – it’s exit-only.

Most roads and highways are divided into lanes – for example, the road in the photo above has two lanes. An exit is a road to leave the highway, to get off the highway. If a lane is exit-only, it means that the cars in that lane must leave the highway.

#5 – Pull over – I think the car is overheating.

This phrasal verb means to drive your car to the side of the road and stop. The side of the road is sometimes called the shoulder. You usually pull over if you think there is a problem with the car – such as in this case, when the car is overheating – that means the engine is getting too hot.

#6 – Did you see how that guy just cut me off?!?

If another car cuts you off, it means the other car suddenly drives in front of your car. It is a dangerous movement because it can cause an accident.

#7 – I’m thirsty – let’s make a pit stop at the next service station.

When you are taking a road trip (a long trip by car), you’ll occasionally need to make a pit stop – that means to stop at a store or station to use the bathroom and/or buy food and drinks.

Image: Bidgee

#8 – Turn left at the light and then follow the signs for the airport.

The red, yellow, and green lights that control traffic are called traffic lights. However, when giving directions, some people simply say “at the light.”

Information and directions are posted along the road on signs:

Signs

#9 – I slammed on the brakes when I saw a child run in front of the car.

The word brakes refers to the equipment that makes the car stop. We can say “hit the brakes” to describe using this equipment to stop the car, but the verb to “slam” on the brakes means to stop the car suddenly, in the case of an emergency.

#10 – Slow down – the speed limit is 55.

There are two phrasal verbs we use to describe change in the car’s velocity – slow down to drive the car slower, and speed up to drive the car faster. Speed is another word for “velocity,” and most roads have a speed limit – the maximum velocity at which you can drive your car.

#11 – You forgot to turn off your blinker after you merged.

The yellow or orange lights on the sides of the car that indicate a left or right turn are called turn signals or blinkers:

English phrases - blinker

You need to activate your blinker to inform other drivers that you plan to turn left, turn right, or to merge – that means to move from one lane to another.

#12 – I wish you’d stop being a backseat driver!

A backseat driver is a person in the car who is not driving, but who criticizes the driver’s abilities or who makes lots of suggestions and gives lots of tips for the driver to improve. Most people think that backseat drivers are really annoying!

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