Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

0886 Driving Through a Speed Trap

访问量:
Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 886: Driving Through a Speed Trap.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 886. I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is ESLPod.com. Become a member of ESL Podcast by going to the website.

This episode is a dialogue between Angel and Georgina about driving too fast in your car and what happens when you do. Let’s get started.

[start of dialog]

Angel: Why are you driving at a snail’s pace?

Georgina: This is an infamous speed trap. I don’t want to get a ticket – again.

Angel: I don’t see any squad cars along the road. Are you sure this is the right stretch of road?

Georgina: I’m sure. Those cops are crafty. They hide out behind big rocks or a bend in the road, and as soon as you let your guard down and go over the speed limit, they nab you.

Angel: But you’re not exceeding the speed limit. In fact, you’re driving way under the speed limit.

Georgina: You can’t be too careful. You never know if those speed guns are accurate, and I don’t want there to be any doubt that I’m being a law-abiding citizen.

Angel: But at this pace, we could get home faster if we walked!

Georgina: Don’t exaggerate. You might be able to run home faster, but not walk.

[end of dialog]

Our dialogue begins with Angel saying to Georgina, “Why are you driving at snail’s pace?” This is an expression – “at a snail’s pace.” It means very slowly. A “snail” (snail) is a small little animal that moves very slowly when it moves across the ground. “Pace” (pace) here means speed. So, “at a snail’s pace” means as fast as a snail, which means very, very slowly. Angel is asking Georgina why she's driving so slowly.

Georgina says, “This is an infamous speed trap.” “Infamous” (infamous) is an adjective meaning very famous for being bad or evil. “Infamous” is always a negative thing. If someone says, “He's infamous,” they mean that he's well known, everyone knows about him, but for the bad things that he's done. A “speed trap” is an area where the police typically look for cars that are driving too fast so that they can stop the driver and give him what's called a “ticket.” A “ticket” is not like a ticket to the movies or an airline ticket. It's a piece of paper saying that you broke the law and that you have to pay money to the government because you broke the law.

So a speed trap is an area on a road or a highway or anywhere that you drive, where the police know that people are often going to drive fast in that one area. For example, here in Los Angeles, there is a speed trap right as you drive into the city of Beverly Hills, where all the rich people live. There is an area on Santa Monica Boulevard that is a speed trap. I know because I've seen people there who have been stopped by the police. So, everyone drives very slowly through that section because they know the police are waiting for them. The best way to find a speed trap, if you are new to an area or a city, is to drive really fast on all of the major or large streets and wait until you get stopped by the police, and then you will know where the speed trap this. (You're welcome.)

Georgina is talking about an infamous, a well-known speed trap. She says, “I don't want to get a ticket again.” Angel says, “I don't see any squad cars along the road.” A “squad (squad) car” is another word for a police car, a car that police officers drive, usually around the neighborhood or part of the city in order to make sure there aren't any problems. You also have policemen and policewomen who drive motorcycles, but a squad car is a regular, four-door car. Angel says, “Are you sure that this is the right stretch of road?” “Stretch” (stretch) here means length of road or section of road – a part of a road between this point and that point, between this place and that place. Stretch has a couple of other meanings as well. You can see those in our Learning Guide.

Georgina says, “I'm sure.” I'm sure this is the right or correct stretch of road. She says, “Those cops are crafty.” A “cop” (cop) is a slang or informal word for a police officer – a man or woman who works for the police. “Crafty” (crafty) here means clever or sneaky, someone who may use some dishonest ways of cheating you or trying to catch you.

Georgina thinks the police are crafty. She says, “They hide out behind the big rocks, or a bend in the road, and as soon as you let your guard down and go over the speed limit, they nab you.” There are a couple of expressions to explain here – first, “hide out.” “Hide (hide) out” is a two-word phrasal verb meaning to go somewhere where no one can see you. It's a verb, “to hide out,” but it's also a noun, a “hideout” A “hideout” is a place where you go so that no one will find you. Sometimes we use that noun to describe a place where criminals, people who have broken the law, go so that the police don't find the. But it can also be used, for example, for a place where someone is hiding, someone is waiting for someone and they don't want to be seen. That's really the meaning here.

Georgina using the verb “to hide out” is talking about the police who don't want you to see them. They hide behind big rocks, or a bend in the road. A “bend” (bend) is a curve where the road turns a little either to the left or to the right. It doesn't continue going straight. That's a bend (bend) in the road. We would also describe it, as I said, as a “curve” (curve). “To let your guard (guard) down” means to relax, to not be worried, to not be cautious, to not worry about what happens or how other people are reacting to you. That's to let your guard down. We might say that, for example, about a man or a woman on a date. They're nervous about what the other person thinks of them so they don't want to let their guard down. They don't want to be normal, if you will, they don't want to relax.

Georgina is saying that the police “Hide behind rocks, or a bend in the road, and as soon as you let your guard down” – as soon as you relax – “and go over the speed limit,” meaning go too fast, go faster than you're supposed to – “they” – the police – “nab you.” “To nab (nab) someone” is to catch someone. Often, it means to arrest someone when the police come and take someone away. They nab them. But it can also be used, for example, if someone is kidnapping another person, taking that person away and asking the family to give them money in order to get the person back. We might use nab in that respect as well. But it's probably more commonly used in talking about the police.

Angel says, “But you're not exceeding the speed limit.” “To exceed” (exceed) means to go beyond some limit. In this case, we’re talking about the speed limit – the maximum speed that you can drive on a road. Angel says, “In fact, you're driving way under the speed limit.” The use of the word “way” here is as an adverb. It means very much or extremely. It's somewhat informal but it's very common in conversational English. People say, for example, “Oh, this is way too difficult.” This is much too difficult. This is very difficult.

Georgina says, “You can't be too careful,” meaning it's not possible to worry too much because you have to protect yourself. Georgina says, “You never know if those speed guns are accurate.” A “speed gun” is not a regular gun that you would kill someone with. A “speed gun” is also called a radar gun. It's a device that determines how fast a car is driving down the street. Georgina says, “I don't want there to be any doubt that I'm being a law-abiding citizen.” A “law-abiding (abiding) citizen” is a responsible person who follows the laws, who obeys the rules.

Angel says, “But at this space,” – at this speed – “we could get home faster if we walked.” It would be faster to walk than to drive in this car. That's what Angel is saying. Georgina says, “Don't exaggerate.” “To exaggerate,” (exaggerate) means to describe something as being bigger than it really is, or more serious than it really is, to try to make a situation more serious or more dramatic, perhaps, than it really has to be. So, if you say, for example, “It's so hot outside. It's a million degrees out there,” well, of course, it's not actually a million degrees. You're exaggerating. You're using language that makes something seem bigger than it really is. Georgina says, “Don't exaggerate. You might be able to run home faster but not walk.” So Georgina is sort of agreeing with Angel. Yes, she's driving very slowly, but it would not be faster to walk home, although it might be faster to run home.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue this time at a normal speed

[start of dialog]

Angel: Why are you driving at a snail’s pace?

Georgina: This is an infamous speed trap. I don’t want to get a ticket – again.

Angel: I don’t see any squad cars along the road. Are you sure this is the right stretch of road?

Georgina: I’m sure. Those cops are crafty. They hide out behind big rocks or a bend in the road, and as soon as you let your guard down and go over the speed limit, they nab you.

Angel: But you’re not exceeding the speed limit. In fact, you’re driving way under the speed limit.

Georgina: You can’t be too careful. You never know if those speed guns are accurate, and I don’t want there to be any doubt that I’m being a law-abiding citizen.

Angel: But at this pace, we could get home faster if we walked!

Georgina: Don’t exaggerate. You might be able to run home faster, but not walk.

[end of dialog]

Our scripts are way better than any other scripts here on the Internet in the world of podcasting. That's because they're written by the wonderful, the only, Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I'm Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2013 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
at a snail’s pace – very slowly; at a slow rate

* This report is coming together at a snail’s pace. We’ll never meet the deadline!

infamous – very well known for being bad or evil; with a negative reputation

* So this was the home of that infamous criminal?

speed trap – an area where police actively look for cars that are traveling too quickly

* Slow down! These next few miles are a speed trap on the weekends.

ticket – a citation; a piece of paper stating that one has broken a law and must pay a fine or receive another punishment

* If you park in front of a fire hydrant, you’ll get a ticket.

squad car – a police car; a car that police officers drive when monitoring activities in a neighborhood or responding to emergency calls

* Why are there so many squad cars in front of the museum? Did something happen?

stretch – a length of road; a section of road between two points

* There’s a lot of slow traffic on the stretch between the bridge and the tunnel.

cop – a police officer

* Crosby has always wanted to become a cop so that he can protect people who are in danger.

crafty – clever and sneaky, using somewhat dishonest ways to get what one wants

* Larry is a crafty old man. Don’t believe everything he tells you.

to hide out – to be where one cannot be seen by other people, waiting for something to happen

* Larisa is hiding out in her room, worrying about what will happen when her parents see her report card.

bend – a curve; where a road turns a little to the left or right

* Turn right on River Road, and you’ll see our house after the second bend.

to let (one’s) guard down – to stop being cautious; to relax and stop being so aware of one’s behavior and other people’s reactions to oneself

* Jesse really seems to care about you. Why don’t you try to let your guard down, go out on a date with him, and see what happens?

to nab (someone) – to catch someone; to arrest someone

* How long did it take for the police to nab the thief?

to exceed – to be more than some amount or limit; to go over an amount or limit

* With this new job, our income might finally exceed our expenses!

speed limit – the maximum allowed speed; the fastest speed at which cars are allowed to move under the law on a particular road

* The speed limit near the school is just 20 miles per hour when students are there.

way – very much; extremely; too

* We have way too much work to do. Can’t we hire another assistant?

speed gun – a radar gun; a device that, when pointed at a moving car, can determine how quickly that car is moving

* The police officer said that his speed gun showed I was going more than 80 miles per hour, but that doesn’t seem possible.

law-abiding citizen – a responsible person who follows the rules and never breaks the law

* I thought you were a law-abiding citizen! Did you really cheat on your taxes?

to exaggerate – to make things bigger or more important than they actually are

* Trenton said it was the best meal he had ever eaten, but I think he was exaggerating.

Comprehension Questions
1. According to Georgina, where do the police hide?
a) Behind trees in forested areas.
b) Where the road turns.
c) Underneath bridges.

2. According to Angel, how quickly is Georgina driving?
a) Below the legal limit.
b) At the legal limit.
c) Above the legal limit.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
stretch

The word “stretch,” in this podcast, means a length or section of road between two points: “There are a lot of beautiful homes along this stretch of the road.” The phrase “the final stretch” means the last part of an activity or event: “Don’t give up now! We’re entering the final stretch.” The phrase “by any stretch of the imagination” emphasizes a negative statement: “We aren’t rich by any stretch of the imagination, but we live comfortably.” A “stretch limo” is a very long, fancy, and expensive limousine: “Gerald surprised his wife by renting a stretch limo for their anniversary.” Finally, a “stretch mark” is a line on one’s skin where the skin has been stretch, especially during pregnancy: “Rachelle has lost all the weight she gained during her pregnancy, but she still has a lot of stretch marks.”

way

In this podcast, the word “way” means very much, extremely, or too: “She prepared way too much food for the party.” The phrase “way back” means a long time ago: “Justin started working here way back when the company was founded.” The phrase “to go (someone’s) way” means to go in the same direction as another person: “If you’re going my way, could you please give me a ride home?” The phrase “to go out of (someone’s) way” means to do something that is inconvenient and requires extra effort: “He went out of his way to help you, and you didn’t even say ‘thank you.’” Finally, the phrase “to be in (someone’s) way” means to be blocking someone, so that the person cannot do what he or she wants or needs to do: “I can’t see you, because this vase is in the way.”

Culture Note
Traffic Camera Controversies

Police departments often use “traffic cameras” to take “detect” (find or see) “traffic violations” (instances where people are breaking the laws related to driving) automatically, without the presence of police officers. These cameras can read “license plate numbers” (the identifying letters and numbers shown on the rectangular piece of metal on the front and back of a car) so that the police department can send a “citation” (ticket) to the address shown on the car’s “registration” (record of who owns a car registered with the state’s department of motor vehicles).

The cameras are especially good at detecting cars that “speed” (are driven too quickly), drive in a “bus lane” (the part of the street that should be used only by busses), “run a red light” (does not stop when the light is red), or do not stop at a stop sign. Often the cameras are “mounted” (held up; attached to something) at busy intersections, but they can also be mounted to police cars.

“Critics” (people who do not like something) argue that traffic cameras “violate” individuals’ right to privacy. They believe that the cameras could be used to “track” (follow; observe and monitor) where individuals are. Other people argue that the cameras are unreliable and that the “evidence” (proof) they collect cannot be “admitted in a court of law” (used in court).

Other people argue that traffic cameras are installed as “revenue-generating” (designed to bring in money) “devices” (tools). They argue that it is more important for police officers to “patrol” (be present on a route) an area and maintain public safety, rather than just having machines detect traffic violations.

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - a