The summer is the perfect time for an age old tradition for the young and free – the road trip. Even young families will load up the family car and go wherever the open road can take them. „Are we there yet mom?” constantly shouted from the backseat while dad plays his old-timey music and kids play on devices in the backseat. Whatever the demographic there’s no better time to talk about language connected to vehicles and driving, so let’s get to it. Quick Tip – We are going to cover a HUGE amount of vocabulary (mostly nouns) in this blog so if you aren’t sure what something is from the brief context provided then just pop the term into Google Images and you’ll get all sorts of pictures.
The Anatomy of a Car
(words in parentheses are North American terms)
Before the journey have a quick check under the bonnet (hood) to make sure your oil level is okay and you have enough windscreen washing fluid. Check your sideview and rearview mirrors to make sure they are properly adjusted and then throw your bags into the boot (trunk) and get ready to go. Is your tyre (tire) pressure alright? If your car is manual transmission, at your feet you’ll find the clutch, brake and gas pedals and the gear shift at your left hand (right hand for the rest of Europe). Maybe driving automatic transmission is more to your liking so you’ll only have the gas and brake pedals. Notice how brakes for a car is spelled ‚brakes’ and not ‚breaks’.
Your Vehicle of Choice?
In my humble opinion, the ideal road trip vehicle is the van for a larger groups of friends where everyone gets a turn to drive or an RV if you have the cash for that kind of thing. The really good ones have kitchenettes and bedrooms and a toilet all onboard. But if it’s just you and your partner maybe you’d like a smaller car – two-door or sedan, or a pick-up truck. You can also pull a small caravan (camper/trailer) if you intend to be in nature. If you enjoy biking you may need some roof rack or a tow bar for bikes. Just make sure the tow rack doesn’t block your license plate as it needs to be clearly visible.
What Happens on the Road?
Do you enjoy driving or is it a pain in the neck? Do inconsiderate drivers get you down? When driving out on the motorway it is important to always signal your intention to change lanes or overtake (pass) another driver by using your indicators. Obey the speed limits and never drive if you are feeling a bit sleepy – pull over to the side of the road or get to the nearest rest station where you can have a nap. Distracted driving is also one of the biggest causes of traffic accidents and deaths on the road so never use your smartphone when driving.
What about city driving? Are you one of these people who gets road rage while sitting helplessly stuck in a traffic jam. Do you honk the horn and slam the steering wheel or do you have techniques for remaining calm? So many cars in such close proximity to each other as well as looking at for trams, big lorries, cyclists and pedestrians can lead to a lot of anxiety and stress. That’s why we need road trips.
Once you’ve hit the open road and get to your destination it’s time to unwind from the stresses of city life. Just try to run over anyone on your way there?
Are you a big fan of road trips or driving to your destination? What are the more popular road trip destinations where you live? Let us know in the comments below.