ESL Driving Vocabulary

English Driving Words

English words and expressions for driving on roads and highways:

Shoulder
Listen to the phrase »

The area on the right side of the lane where there is space between the land and the permitted driving area to the left. Drivers are not supposed to drive here. Police and disabled vehicles stop here.

“If your car breaks down pull over to the shoulder so nobody hits you from behind.”

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Break down lane
Listen to the phrase »

Another name for the shoulder, or the area to the right of the driving lane.

“I pulled over to the break down lane when I got a flat tire.”

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Guard Rail
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A safety barrier between the road and the land on the right hand side of the road. These prevent cars from falling of the road into a ditch or anything else that is dangerous.

“When you are driving up a mountain there are always guard rails on the side of the road. Nobody wants to see you fall off the mountain!”

Overpass
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A road or bridge that passes over the top of another road or highway.

“You will have to pull off the highway and take the over pass to change directions on the highway.”

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Passing lane
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The lane on the left hand side of the highway that is used for cars to go faster to pass other slow moving vehicles.

“Sometimes I stay in the passing lane if I am in a hurry and I want to go really fast.”

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Detour
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When the road or highway is closed ahead due to an accident or construction. An alternative route is provided so cars must exit the road.

“At exit 20 there will be a detour since they are fixing the road. There will be a lot of traffic.”

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Loose gravel
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An area in the road that is under construction and has rocks and pebbles on the ground. These can cause cars to slide, so there will be a warning sign that says “loose gravel”.

“Slow down up here ahead. There is a sign that reads “loose gravel”. You don’t want to crash.”

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Four way stop
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An intersection in the road where all four lanes that meet have to stop.

“In a four way stop the person on the right gets to go first.”

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Yield
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A driver will see a sign that says “yield” when he is to stop and let the car in the oncoming lane go first.

“When you enter a highway you have to yield to the cars that are already there driving.”

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Toll Booth
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An area on some highways where drivers must stop to pay a fee for using the road.

“Stop up here at the toll booth. We have to pay two dollars.”

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Right of way
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In an intersection, where two or more cars meet, the person who has the right to go first has the “right of way”.

He should have let me go. I had the right of way. I guess he didn’t know.”

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Drive Defensively
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To drive in a careful way.

You should drive defensively so you don’t get in an accident.

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Scenic route
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The way to a certain destination that has pretty scenery. This way is usually off the highway and takes longer.

“Let’s take the scenic route. We are not in a hurry.”

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Parallel Park
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To park between two cars that are on the same side of the street by backing in.

“It is not easy to parallel park when the space you have is tiny.”

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Back-seat driver
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A person who is in the passenger seat who tells the driver what to do and where to go in an annoying way.

“Don’t be a back-seat driver!”

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Carpool
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When a group of people, who are going to the same destination, decide to all drive together instead of driving individually. This is done to save money on gas and to protect the environment

My wife and the neighbor next door carpool to school. One week my wife drives and the next my neighbor drives.



Worksheets to Practice These ESL Driving Vocabulary Words:

  • Driving a Car Listening Activity
  • Driving Vocabulary Word Order
  • Driving Terms Reading Activity
  • Driving Vocabulary Matching
  • Driving Vocabulary Fill in the Blanks