Cars, roads and traffic
In this Pre-advanced Vocabulary Lesson about Cars, Roads and Traffic, you will learn about the various components of vehicles, road features, and common verbs and verb phrases used to describe driving actions and events. Check the pictures below and read the definitions and sentence examples.
Cars, roads and traffic
1 The turn signal/indicator is a light on a vehicle that signals the direction it will turn or move.
- The driver used the turn signal to indicate they were turning left.
2 A rear-view mirror is a mirror in a vehicle providing a view of the area behind it.
- She checked the rear-view mirror before changing lanes.
3 A roundabout is a circular junction where drivers move around a central island.
- At the roundabout, he took the third exit.
4 A pedestrian crossing (UK) or crosswalk (US) is a marked part of the road for pedestrians to cross. It is often also called zebra crossing.
- Cars stopped at the pedestrian crossing to let people walk across.
5 A lane is a part of a road marked for a single line of vehicles.
- He stayed in the left lane to make a turn.
6 A car crash or road accident is a collision involving one or more vehicles.
- There was a car crash on the highway this morning.
7 The speed limit is the maximum legal speed one can drive on a road.
- She was careful to follow the speed limit in the school zone.
8 A speed camera is a device that measures the speed of passing vehicles and is used to enforce speed limits.
- The new speed camera on Main Street has reduced speeding incidents.
9 A speed bump is a raised section of road designed to slow down traffic.
- Drivers have to slow down for the speed bumps near the school.
10 A junction is a point where two or more roads meet.
- There’s often heavy traffic at the junction during rush hour.
11 A rest area is a place beside the road where drivers can stop to rest, eat, or refuel.
- We stopped at a rest area for lunch during our road trip.
12 Rush hour is a period of the day when traffic is at its heaviest, usually as people commute to and from work.
- Traffic during rush hour can be very slow.
13 Oncoming traffic refers to vehicles approaching from the opposite direction in a separate lane or on the other side of the road.
- When turning left, always wait for a clear gap in oncoming traffic.
14 Delays refer to situations where traffic is slower than expected or stopped, often due to heavy traffic or accidents.
- Expect delays on the freeway due to construction work.
15 Road rage is aggressive or angry behavior by a driver towards other drivers or pedestrians.
- The driver exhibited road rage after being cut off in traffic.
16 DUI (US) or drink-driving (UK) is the act of driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. DUI stands for ‘Driving Under the Influence’.
- The police arrested him for DUI after he failed the breathalyzer test.
Driving actions and events
1 To turn on/start the car means to begin the operation of the vehicle.
- He started the car and began his morning commute.
2 To put on your seatbelt means to fasten the safety belt before driving.
- Before driving off, she put on her seatbelt.
3 To change gears means to shift the transmission to adjust the vehicle’s speed and power.
- He had to change gears as he drove up the steep hill.
4 To honk or honk the horn means to sound the horn of a vehicle.
- The driver honked at the pedestrians who were crossing slowly.
5 To brake means to slow down or stop the vehicle suddenly. If you slam on the brakes, it means that you are traveling fast and suddenly brake.
- She had to slam on the brakes when a dog ran into the road.
6 To put on/take off the emergency brake means to engage or disengage the brake that prevents the vehicle from moving when parked.
- After parking on the hill, he put on the emergency brake.
7 To stall means the engine stops running, often due to a mistake in gear changing.
- The car stalled when he forgot to press the clutch while stopping.
8 To signal right/left means to use the vehicle’s indicators to show an intention to turn or change lanes.
- She signaled left before making the turn.
9 If you have the right of way, you are legally allowed to go first before others in traffic.
- Pedestrians in the crosswalk have the right of way.
10 To give way (UK)/yield (US) means to allow others to go first, often at a junction or intersection.
- Drivers must yield to oncoming traffic.
11 To overtake means to pass another vehicle moving in the same direction.
- The truck was going slowly, so she decided to overtake it.
12 To speed means to drive faster than the legal limit.
- He was caught speeding on the highway and was fined.
13 To change lanes means to move from one lane to another.
- She checked her mirrors before she changed lanes.
14 To merge means to join another road, typically from a ramp or side road.
- He merged onto the freeway cautiously.
15 To be stuck in a traffic jam means to be caught in a line of slow-moving or stationary traffic.
- She was stuck in a traffic jam for an hour this morning.
16 To reverse means to drive the vehicle backward.
- He had to reverse the car out of the tight parking space.
17 To make a U-turn means to turn the vehicle around in a U-shaped course to go in the opposite direction.
- The road was blocked, so he had to make a U-turn.
18 To pull over means to steer the vehicle to the side of the road and bring it to a stop.
- The police officer signaled for her to pull over.
19 To get pulled over means to be stopped by the police while driving.
- He got pulled over for not using his turn signal.
20 To be fined/get a ticket means to receive a penalty, usually a monetary charge, for a driving infraction.
- She got a ticket for parking in a no-parking zone.
After completing the exercises in this lesson on Cars, Roads and Traffic, you can use the unit’s Vocabulary Flashcards to revise and help you memorize the terms.