Learn English While Driving or Being Stuck in Traffic




Hola amigos, you are listening to English Made Simple, this is episode number #82, numero ochenta y dos.
Hello, hello, how’s it hanging? Amigos, Qué pasa? Welcome to English Made Simple, my name is Milena from englishmadesimple.net. Welcome my dear listeners from all over the world, thank you for taking the time to join me today, hope you had an awesome weekend.

The weekend is over and now it’s time to learn some English. Let’s rock and roll muchachos!

I’ve just recently checked my iTunes reviews, first of all thank you to everyone who have submitted a 5-star review for the English Made Simple podcast. If you have an iphone, it really doesn’t take long to leave a review, it’s quite simple and it will mean so much to me. Thank you to everyone who have done it, every time I receive a review I do a happy dance around the house. It tells me that I am doing something right with English Made Simple.

This will help me reach as many people as possible and hopefully reach my personal goal of teaching English to 1,000,000 students. Wow, amazing!

And I’d like to thank Victoria from Santiago who left a 5 star review on iTunes recently, Victoria is doing a TOEFL exam soon, and good luck to you Victoria, I wish you all the best.

I am glad English Made Simple is helping you prepare for TOEFL exam. Awesome!

So we’ve been to the doctor’s and the pharmacy and we’ve also visited the supermarket. How did we manage to go to all these places? Some people can walk to the shops, some people can catch the public transport, and some people can even drive to the doctor’s or the supermarket.
They can drive! Yeey!

When I am driving to the supermarket, I am fast and furious, I also speak 5 languages…quite fluently actually. You know what I mean, when I am on my way to the shops and when I encounter some slow drivers or the ones that cut me off or even the ones that don’t indicate when changing lanes or turning left or right.

Basically, I can swear in 5 different languages…fluently. I can swear in Swedish, Finnish, Serbian, Spanish and Italian.

To swear in Spanish significa decir malas palabras o garabatos.

So guys, today we are going to learn how to drive, well not literally, but we are going to learn some new vocabulary including some phrases associated with driving and traffic.
I will try to be civilized, and behave like a lady and not swear in this episode, I promise.

First of all, I started with a simple story about how much I loooove driving to the supermarket, you can sense my sarcasm here, I mentioned some new phrases if you haven’t noticed earlier.

I get annoyed when other drivers cut me off – this is an expression, when someone cuts someone off – means to suddenly interrupt someone by changing lanes suddenly so that the driver would have to step on their brake.

To brake is a verb and in this case means you would have to step on the brake suddenly and slow down. In Spanish to brake means frenar.

I also get annoyed when drivers change lanes without indicating first or when they are turning without indicating – we have 2 things here, firstly, changing lanes and secondly indicating – in Spanish changing lanes means cambiarse de pista.

When you change lanes you must indicate, put your indicator on – which way are you going, left or right? The Indicator is also known as a blinker, I think in the US they say blinkers and in British and Australian English we say indicator, indicator lights or in Spanish luces de señalización.

On the cars you also have emergency indicators and this is when the lights blink intermittently. And in Spanish it is las luces intermitentes.

Let me introduce you to some useful terms related to traffic. Some basic stuff here, some basic stuff first.

You have to be licensed to drive, you have to have a valid driver’s license in order to drive on Australian and New Zealand roads. I assume this is the case almost everywhere in the world.
A driver’s license is Licencía de conducir in Spanish.

Well if you are coming from overseas, I recommend you obtain an International Driver’s license, this usually allows you to drive for 3-6 months legally without any problems.

If you are not confident driving on this side of the road, I recommend you take a couple of lessons with a driving instructor, through a driving school, obviously, that is, just so that you feel comfortable. It can be pretty scary in the beginning to drive on the left side of the road but once you start you will get used to it.

And some common road rules that are found on Austrlian roads, some common road rules to be aware of, to know are:

Give way sign – ceda el paso
Stop sign – disco pare, stop your car, don’t drive, basically.
Speed Limit – limite de velocidad, this sign is usually displayed to let you know what the maximum allowed speed limit is.

Road signs on the Australian and New Zealand roads are clearly marked and displayed and you shouldn’t get lost if you were to travel around here.

The word sign guys, has a letter G in it. We don’t pronounce the G, ‘g’ sound. We pronounce it as Sign.

In this case, road sign in Spanish means señal etica de transito, or just señal de transito.

The word sign can be a noun and a verb, it is a regular verb. Past tense signed and participle signed.

Please bear in mind, when used as a verb, to sign means firmar, to write your signature. The word Signature is firma in Spanish, for non-Spanish speakers, this is when we write our signature on official documents, for example in banks or legal documents, you will often see at the bottom of an official document words like, Sign Here or the word Signature and then you write your own signature.

Now back to road signs.

In Australia and New Zealand you will see signs with the words Keep Left. To remind you to keep left when driving. We always drive on the left side of the road.

There are also road signs to indicate there is wildlife, wildlife in the area and they might be crossing the road so you will have to take extra care so you don’t run them over. You might even have to slow down when driving there.

Run over is a phrasal verb and it means atropellar. To injur or even kill an animal while driving…that’s what it means.

For example, it is common to see when you are driving in Australia signs such as Kangaroos next 10km. Koalas next 4km.

Meaning kangaroos or koalas are close by and you should be driving with care.

When I was driving outside of Melbourne city, I had to slow down because there was a koala crossing the road, and these koalas they move extremely slowly! They are so slow.

Another sign you can see on Australian and New Zealand roads is the U-turn sign. To chuck a U-ey it’s an Australian slang, and it means just do a U-turn. Girar en U in Spanish.

Most major intersections will have traffic lights and roundabouts (rotondas) – they will also have pedestrian crossings (pasos de zebras).

The traffic lights have 3 distinct colours, there is a red light, yellow light and the green light. Green light means go, the red light means stop and the yellow light means it’s time to slow down and stop.
Don’t drive through the red light because you will get a fine. Yup, that’s what happened to me one day, oopsy daisy.

A fine, spelt the same way as the adjective fine: F I N E . In this case it is a noun and it means to get a ticket as you have committed a traffic offence, you broke the law.

A fine – in Spanish significa un parte o una multa. And to get a fine means que te sacen un parte o te multen.

I got a fine for running a red light – ooops, it’s really expensive here in Australia, I had to pay $300 dollars because I ran the red light. So now I have to be extra careful when I drive and just break and stop my car when I see a yellow light.

Speaking of fines, I also had a speeding fine, because I drive a bit faster than an average driver haha. Speeding fine is like a Multa por velocidad.

I got a fine for speeding, and that was about $200 dollars. $200 is probably better spent on shoes than paying a fine. I learnt my lesson.

It was quite a surprise, really, it happened a few times, what happened is that I didn’t know I was speeding, I got a letter at home from the Police, basically they sent an infringement notice. Una notificación policial.

Obviously, they will never send you a postcard to say hello and to see how you are doing. Nope, when you see that Police logo in the mail you know you’ve done something wrong haha.
Just saying from my experience.

I’ve been driving since I was 15 years old. When we moved to New Zealand back in the 90’s you kind of had to drive everywhere, public transport wasn’t that developed, you had to drive to go to the doctor’s or the supermarket. Also when I was there, you could get a learner’s license at the age of 15 after that you get something called, a Restricted license a couple of years later, and then you pass a driving test and get the full license. In Australia you get a Provisional license, and then you get the full license.

I had a car accident once in my life, fortunately it wasn’t anything serious but I was texting and driving and this is not a good idea.

They have recently enforced a law here in Australia, you are not allowed to hold your phone while driving. Your phone must be fixed, not easily moved.

We know phones are a distraction. As a matter of fact, it is prohibited to use, hold or touch your phone while driving in Australia. You will be fined $466, this is almost a weekly wage in Australia, it is a lot of money, even for Australians.

So, while I am on about driving, let me tell you about tooting your horn. In Spanish this is tocar la bocina. I have a tendency to toot my horn when I say goodbye to my friends as I am driving away, but guess what this is illegal in Australia. It is illegal to toot your horn – you know, beep beep. Toot is spelt as T O O T.

You should only beep in case of emergencies, and the traffic noises are reserved for emergency vehicles only such as the ambulance, the police and the fire brigade.

When I was living in Santiago, I noticed that tooting your horn is a common thing, sometimes there is a good reason to toot your horn but sometimes there is really no reason at all to toot your horn. I think people do it when they are bored being stuck in the traffic jam or traffic congestion, congestión vehicular. Sometimes, I have an urge to toot my horn at other drivers, but I have to stop myself, otherwise I would have to pay the fine.

Now guys, let’s go back to the supermarket and the doctor’s. When you reach your destination, you will need to park your car somewhere, normally big supermarkets will have something called parking area or parking lots – in Spanish estos son los estacionamiento o aparcamientos.
Even the doctors will have a parking area for their patients.

You just need to find a good parking spot, I usually park closer to the Exit, because it will be easier to get out. As fast as possible. I drive the same way I shop: fast and furious.

I think we had enough amigos for today, so many new words here I don’t want to overwhelm you. We might continue next week.

Hope you enjoyed today’s episode, thank you for joining me.
Stay classy and be safe out there amigos, hasta la proxima!

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