In this English lesson, you’re going to learn 73 phrases related to cars and driving.
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Phrases Related to Cars and Driving:
Find your keys / take them out of your pocket: I usually keep my keys in one place. But sometimes, I misplace them and have to find them. Here are more examples:
- I can’t find my keys!
- Have you seen my keys?
Unlock the car: these days, most cars are unlocked electronically.
- Can you unlock the car? I forgot to take my bag out.
- Do you lock your car at night?
Open the door: some of the newer cars have automatic doors but most don’t.
- Can you open the door for my grandma?
- Don’t open the door until we’ve stopped! (first conditional)
Get in the car: if you have young children, this can be challenging! To get back in the car is often used at service stations/rest stops.
- Come on, get in the car
- Let’s get back in the car
- I can’t get out of the car because I hurt my knee
Put on/fasten your seatbelt: Both of these terms are used.
- I can’t put my seatbelt on – it’s stuck!
- Come on, put on your seatbelt
- We’re not going anywhere until you put on your seatbelt
- Don’t take off your seatbelt yet
Take off / release the handbrake: this is called a parking brake in the USA.
- So, I was driving the other day and realized that I had forgotten to take off the handbrake. No wonder it was driving slowly.
- It’s hard to take off the handbrake!
Start the car: You can also turn it on.
- I’m sorry I’m late. The car wouldn’t start
- Come on, let’s go – start the car
- Turn the car off!
Automatic vs manual cars: automatic cars change gears automatically, whereas, with manual cars, you change gears manually
- I’ve never driven a manual car
- Automatic cars are much easier to drive
Put it into…..: this is how you talk about changing gears
- Put it into 2nd
- I put it into 5th as soon as possible on the motorway
- Drop it into 2nd at this roundabout (to go from 3rd to 2nd)
- Put it into drive
- Put it into reverse
- Put it into park
Step on the…: this is the verb used to talk about the various pedals in cars. You can also use hit.
- Step on the brake
- Step on the gas/accelerator a little more
- Hit the brake
You can also use the verb to brake or accelerate:
- I broke too late and ended up hitting the car in front
- Accelerate to get past that car
Turn/put on things: there are many buttons on the dashboard. You turn/put on or turn off these things.
- can you turn off the AC?
- let’s put on the heating
- should we put on the radio?
- turn on your hazards here
- Did you turn on your lights?
- is the AC on?
- You can turn your hazards off now
- Can you turn that off?
You can also turn up/down these things too.
- turn it down a bit
- can you turn up the AC?
- it’s roasting in here – I’m going to turn down the heating
Put the windows up/down: in the past, people also said wind the windows down but now, the verb is put.
- Want to turn off the AC and put the windows down?
- Can you put your window up? We’re on the highway now
- Let’s put the windows down
Indicators/turn signals: The latter is British English. Here are some examples:
- Is my left indicator working?
- No one indicates in America
- It’s important to indicate to let people know where you’re going
- put on your turn signal at this traffic circle (American English)
We’re doing/going 70 MPH: you can use both verbs here – MPH = miles per hour
- we’re doing about 70 mph
- he must be going at least 110 mph
- I was only going 73 mph and I got pulled over
- can you go a little faster?
Speed up and slow down: you can also go faster/slowers
- slow down a little – these are tight bends
- speed up a little – you’re only going 45 in a 60
- can you go a little slower? I’m getting car sick
Turn left – take your second right: Giving directions is always fun!
- turn left after this pub
- take this right
- go straight ahead at this roundabout
- you missed your turn again!
Rush hour traffic: Nobody likes getting stuck in traffic!
- I’m going to be a little late. I’m stuck in traffic.
- Has there been an accident? We’re just not moving.
- Try and avoid rush hour if you can
- It’s bumper to bumper
To set off: this means to start a journey
- Let’s set off at 7 AM
- Do you think we should set off early morning?
- Do you think we should set off before 7?
- Have you set off yet?
A long/short drive: this describes the length of the car journey
- It’s a long drive – let’s get a good night’s sleep
- It’s only a short drive – the kids should be fine
A backseat driver: someone who constantly talks to the driver telling them how they should drive.
- Stop being a backseat driver
- He’s a bit of a backseat driver
- You’re a bit close to that car in front
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