Directions (driving)

Useful vocabulary and phrases

Excuse me, how do I get to…?Excuse me, what’s the best/quickest way to…?
Excuse me, could you tell me how to get to…?Excuse, sorry to bother you, but could you tell me how do I get to (place)?
Excuse me, could you tell me how I get to…?
Take a left/rightHead along (street/interstate/motorway) for (time/distance)
Take a left/right on to (street)Take the (first/second/third) exit
Take the (first/second/third) left/rightTake the (place) exit
Go straight ahead until you see…
It’s on the left/rightYou can’t miss it
It’s straight in front of youYou can park at…, (then walk).
(Although) you’d be lucky to find somewhere to park


Dialogue 1

“Hi, excuse me. I’m a but lost. Can you tell me how to get to the bridge?”
“Sure. Actually, you’re not far. Head down this road for another 5 minutes, then take a left. You’ll see the turn off to the bridge on the right.”
“That’s great. Thanks a million.”

Dialogue 2

“Hi. Could you tell me how I get to Alford from here?”
“No problem. Head along this road for another 20 minutes, then take a right at the turn off to Aberdeen. After about 5 minutes you’ll come to a crossroads. Take another right there, and that will take you to Alford.”
“Ok. So, how long do you reckon from here?”
“I’d say about 40 minutes.”
“Ok. Thanks for your help.”
“Don’t worry about it. Good luck.”

Cultural Note

In America, highways that run east-west use even numbers (2, 4, 6…), and highways that run north-south use odd numbers (1, 3, 5…). Many major roads are prefixed with I (example I-95), which stands for ‘interstate’.

Britain has different levels of road: ‘M’ and ‘A’. ‘M’ roads are motorways (example: the M1), whilst ‘A’ roads are major roads but not as big as motorways (the A1 is the longest road in the UK, travelling from London to Edinburgh). ‘A’ roads are sometimes called dual carriageways, as they often have two lanes of traffic going each way (dual = 2).

Australia uses highways. Highway 1 in Australia is the world’s longest road within one country, going around the whole coast of Australia and into all but one state capital (the longest road in the world is the Pan American highway, travelling between South America and North America).