20+ Driving Terms

You’ve just been hired as a driving instructor and you’re excited to get started. You know all the rules of the road, but what about your students? Do they know all the lingo that comes with being a driver? Here are over 20 driving terms that will help your new drivers learn how to speak in code.

  • Accelerate: The process of accelerating your vehicle in order to get it going faster.
  • Decelerate: The opposite of acceleration, which is the act of slowing down or coming to a stop.
  • U-turn: A maneuver that involves turning the front end around so you’re pointed at an angle perpendicular (180 degrees) from where you started. This is a great move when you’re in the middle of an intersection and need to get out.
  • Car pool: A group of people who share their vehicle with one another on a regular basis, either by using it jointly or taking turns.
  • Driving Instructor: The person responsible for teaching others how to drive safely and pass driving tests. They usually work at established driving schools or private companies that provide instruction and exams.
  • License Plate Frame: One way to customize your car is with license plate frames which are available from stores like Walmart in various colors and styles – think sports teams, religious iconography, family photos, etc. You can use them as gifts too! It’s always good practice to check local laws before putting anything on your plates.
  • Handbrake: An emergency brake that’s typically installed at the rear of a vehicle and operated by pulling back on it with one hand or both hands. Often used in stunt scenes for its ability to produce dramatic skids and spins, which can be seen as exciting rather than dangerous when done properly. If you’re not confident in driving without using your brakes, use this instead!
  • Parking Brake: A device attached to a car chassis designed specifically for parking so the driver doesn’t need to rely solely on their foot or an automatic transmission (like most cars). They are often activated by pressing down hard while turning the steering wheel towards you – but some vehicles require pushing up from below instead.
  • Driver’s Ed: A type of driving instruction that is intended for people who are not yet old enough or experienced enough to drive by themselves. This often includes learning basic traffic rules, how to handle certain situations and what the various signs on the road mean (like speed limits).
  • Turning radius: The distance between a vehicle’s turning point and its corresponding pivot point in relation to where it started – also known as “turns”. If you have an SUV with a tight turning radius, this means you’ll be able to maneuver around corners more quickly than other vehicles without much fuss.
  • Road Trip: A journey taken by car from one city or region to another which can range anywhere from hours all the way up into days depending on the location.
  • Speed Limit: The maximum speed at which one may legally drive a vehicle on public roads – typically in miles per hour or kilometers per hour, depending on where you live and what type of car you’re driving. It’s always best to consult your local law enforcement websites for up-to-date information!
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): A series of 17 letters and digits that is present on all vehicles as their official identifier. You can learn about it more here if you need help with finding yours!
  • Crossing Guard: An individual who stands near a school crossing while students cross the street by either using traffic lights or stop signs instead of allowing them to do so themselves. In some instances this person will also stop traffic for those who can’t cross on their own.
  • License: The official document that authorizes one to operate a vehicle, which must be renewed periodically (every year). You will earn your first license from the DMV when you turn 16 years old – and it’s important to keep them updated as they expire!
  • Tandem Parking: A type of parking in which two vehicles are angled towards each other with at least one behind the other. This is easier than parallel parking because there’s more room between cars, but it may take longer if someone else has parked close enough.
  • Side Street: An alternate route that connects with an existing roadway or street network instead of just continuing onward like a highway would do. They’re often used as shortcuts for those who know them well, but can easily be confusing to others.
  • Overtaking: The act of passing one vehicle by driving on the right side and accelerating past it – or alternatively, a car that is passed this way from behind while going in the same direction
  • Straight Driving: A type of driving where you’re always following road rules and staying on your own lane without cutting anyone off. It’s also known as “keepin’ it real!”. This style will likely get you further than taking dangerous chances with other drivers!
  • Left Turn Lane/Lane Left Turn Only: The area designated just before an intersection which gives turning vehicles priority over straight-moving ones so they don’t block traffic trying to go straight.
  • Oncoming Traffic: A vehicle or group of vehicles that are traveling in the opposite direction as you on a roadway – also known as “the other side”. They’re typically not much more than peripheral vision, but can be dangerous when they get too close!

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