What to Ask Before Driving in a Spanish-Speaking Nation
If you're vacationing in a Spanish-speaking country and decide to rent a car, you may want to ask, in Spanish, a few questions about driving conditions. It can save you much time and frustration. Save yourself some hassle by trying to find out the typical driving conditions of the region in advance.
Here are a few helpful phrases you can use to get the info you need about driving conditions in the Spanish-speaking area you’re visiting:
¿Es difícil manejar por aquí? (ehs dee-fee-seel mah-neh-Hahr pohr ah-kee) (Is it hard to drive around here?)
¿Habrá mucho tráfico en la mañana? (ah-bvrah moo-choh trah-fee-koh ehn lah mah-nyah-nah) (Will there be much traffic in the morning?)
¿Cuál es la mejor hora para salir de la ciudad? (kooahl ehs lah meh-Hohr oh-rah pah-rah sah-leer deh lah seeoo-dahd) (Which is the best time to get out of the city?)
Don’t expect all the roads to be similar to the roads you’re used to. Some may be dirt roads; others may be paved with brick. The staff at the facility where you’re renting a car can help you get a better idea of the road conditions.
One fact you’ll want to know right away is whether the roads are paved where you’re going to be driving. To ask the question Are the roads paved? in Spanish, you’d say ¿Están pavimentados los caminos? (ehs-tahn pah-bvee-mehn-tah-dohs lohs kah-mee-nohs). In response, you may hear No todos. Estos son de tierra. (noh toh-dohs ehs-tohs sohn deh teeeh-rrah) (Not all of them. These are dirt roads.) Note, however, that if you’re in Mexico, the same response would sound like this instead: No todos. Estos son de terracería. (noh toh-dohs ehs-tohs sohn deh teh-rrah-seh-reeah) (Not all of them. These are dirt roads.)
Here are some of the other road-related tidbits you may be told:
Esos caminos tienen muchos baches. (eh-sohs kah-mee-nohs teeeh-nehn moo-chohs bvah-chehs) (Those roads have a lot of potholes.)
Estos caminos están excelentes. (eh-sohs kah-mee-nohs sohn ehk-seh-lehn-tehs) (Those roads are excellent.)
Hay autopista. (ahy ahoo-toh-pees-tah) (There’s a freeway.)
Son caminos de cuotas. (sohn kah-mee-nohs deh koooh-tahs) (They are toll roads.) [Mexico]
Son caminos de peaje. (sohn kah-mee-nohs deh peh-ah-Heh) (They are toll roads.)