Sometimes, living in a country where your first language isn’t English can be difficult. When you know some basic English, it is helpful, especially in emergencies. Similarly, if you speak English but are involved in a near-miss or accident with someone who speaks Spanish, it may be hard to communicate.
While you haven’t been in an accident yet, now is a good time to learn some basic phrases to better communicate. Here are some to know in both English and Spanish.
English phrases to know for safer travel
Since many signs will be in English only, it’s important to know:
- Walk, or caminar in Spanish, means that it’s safe to cross at an intersection
- Exit, which is salida in Spanish, helps you know where you can exit a highway or walking path
- Crosswalk, which is paso de peatones in Spanish, identifies a crosswalk
If you want to cross and see a driver up ahead, it’s a good idea to wave and catch their attention before going into the roadway. Drivers who have stopped may wave to let you know that it’s safe to cross and that they see you. They may also say:
- Go ahead and cross, which is anímate y cruza in Spanish
- I’m waiting, which is estoy esperando in Spanish
While those who speak only one language may find it hard to converse with others who speak something different, knowing a few phrases like these may help you.
In an emergency, like if you’re involved in a crash, remember simple English-to-Spanish phrases like:
- Are you injured? ¿Está lesionado?
- Call 911. Llame al 911.
- I’m hurt. Estoy herido.
- Help me. Ayúdame.
If you don’t have the ability to communicate in a foreign language, another option is to keep a translation device or smartphone on you at all times. iPhones, for example, can translate for you. Just ask Siri to translate from your language by saying, “Hey Siri, what’s (phrase) in English/Spanish?” The device can do the rest for you.
Language differences don’t have to put you at risk on the roads. Get to know local phrases that you’ll see or hear often, so you can stay safer.