Learn Spanish On the Road

Make the most of the time you spend behind the wheel and learn Spanish on the road! Get tips and tricks from experienced drivers.


Harriet Daniels
July 26, 2021
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Driving freight across the country or navigating a regional route means lots of time behind the wheel. Why not use that time to learn Spanish on the road? 

Did you know that Spanish ranks as one of the top languages that people want to learn? There are a lot of benefits to speaking Spanish, especially for truck drivers who frequently transport freight through ports of entry along the southern border of the US. 

Gone are the days of sitting in Spanish class trying to follow along with the teacher or fellow classmates. Technology has made learning Spanish while driving easily accessible with a variety of apps and other interactive tools designed for users to be fluent, more advanced than just a nervous greeting of “hola.”  While driving truckloads of freight from a warehouse, you can learn greetings, popular phrases and practice speaking a foreign language.

Communication is key when it comes to moving freight and learning Spanish can certainly be an advantage if the company is looking to hire bilingual drivers for specific routes. Americans spend a lot of time on their devices whether it’s for business or entertainment. Let those devices help connect you to the vast world of language learning. It can be a fun adventure to learn a new language and for sure will help pass the time more quickly across the miles.

What is the Best Way to Learn Spanish While Driving?


Everyone learns differently. Whether you need to enroll in a structured language course that you can login to on the go or want a more casual approach, there are many options to help accomplish your goal.

  • Tips to learn Spanish while driving includes:
  • Sing along to music on Spanish language radio stations
  • Follow popular podcasts in Spanish
  • Check out audiobooks
  • Subscribe to on-the-go language courses
  • Practice with other fluent or native Spanish speakers
  • Translate road signs
  • Set your GPS to Spanish

Explore the various options that may work best for you to stay engaged. And remember to be patient with yourself; being safe behind the wheel is the top priority to ensure the shipment is delivered on time. Set a goal to maybe practice greetings during a trip and then during the return use that knowledge in conversational settings like greeting a truck stop clerk or fellow driver.

Learning a foreign language takes time with some able to gain proficiency quicker than others. So if it takes you longer, you are not alone. According to the U.S. Foreign Service Institute’s Language School that estimates it takes about six weeks to gain a “Professional Working Proficiency” in Spanish.

Find Spanish radio stations

Tuning into a Spanish language radio station is quite easy today, especially with the growth of satellite options on SiriusXM and other streaming services. Depending on what part of the country you are driving, there is bound to be a station to pick up on either AM or FM stations in the region. Pandora recently added a whole new category for music in Spanish.

Traditional or satellite radio also offers Spanish sports coverage to follow along with play-by-play action or the latest topic of the day on sports talk shows. If keeping up with the news is important to you, most major news outlets have a Spanish version.

In addition, a variety of Spanish language podcasts are available to include:

  • Radio Ambulante from NPR
  • 5 Cosas from CNN
  • News In Slow Spanish
  • El Misterio de la Calle de Cervantes by Babbel
  • Latin American Spanish by Pandora

Check out a variety of things that can help reinforce what you are learning in an audio language course. Some options may work for you better than others, it’s all up to you and how you prefer to learn.

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What is a Good App to learn Spanish while driving?


The use of a smartphone makes it super convenient to become comfortable speaking Spanish with the wide variety of apps available to download. Once the app you like is downloaded, sync the phone via Bluetooth to the sound system in the cab or your ear pods and you are ready to go.

All apps are not for everyone, so be sure to seek out the one that fits our learning style. The more user friendly the app is for you to use, the better you are likely to engage with it and actually retain what you have learned so far. The thing that most foreign language learners enjoy is that it’s at your own pace, it’s flexible and you can repeat a section as needed or advance if you feel comfortable.

Download apps like Duolingo and follow along with a lesson. The app also allows users to play fun quizzes to see how much you learned and practice with Spanish conversation prompts. It’s a user-friendly app, intended to make you proficient in speaking Spanish.  

Popular apps to learn Spanish include:

  • Duolingo – interactive app with games, practice sessions
  • Rosetta Stone – structured course companion to traditional program
  • Tandem – connect with others learning Spanish too
  • FluentU – features videos, music and other options to teach
  • Babbel – quick lessons with conversation practice
  • Memrise – engages the user to memorize words in Spanish
  • Busuu – users communicate and practice with others

This is just a sample of the variety of apps available to help learn Spanish. It is not uncommon for some to use a mix of apps based on what works for them. Many of these apps can be downloaded for free and used on an unlimited basis. Check out what other features are available to enhance your experience.

Remember, this is your independent study to learn Spanish. The more you practice and use resources designed to reinforce the basics and advance your lessons, you will have a good grasp to build upon toward becoming fluent.

And don’t overlook help from Google to translate words and phrases on the go. If you have not tried out this feature, here is your chance.

Translate a phrase from English to Spanish via Google:

1.        Grab your phone

2.        Turn up the volume on your phone (if you need a voice translation, you want to hear)

3.        Type in a brief phrase in the search bar. Example: I am search for this location

4.        Hit enter

5.        Translation: “Estoy buscando esta ubicación.”

6.        Now hit the sound icon to hear your translation and repeat it

7.        Replay the translation several times to continue practicing.

If that’s too many steps, then just activate the microphone on your phone and speak the phrase you want to translate and press enter. It will produce the written translation and produce an audio clip. This feature can help you in a pinch when you need help or can be utilized as a practice tool to make sure you are pronouncing each word correctly. Copy and paste the translation into a text message or email to put your knowledge to the test on a daily basis.

 Ready to Immerse in Spanish Conversation?


While on the road driving freight, drivers can use other ways to learn Spanish too. During rest periods while streaming a movie, discover the subtitle and language feature and switch it to Spanish and follow along.

Study a map in English alongside one in Spanish to learn to recognize the translation like Ciudad Juarez which when translated is City of Juarez and is a border community of El Paso, Texas. Although some phrases are simple to pick up, others may take a bit to learn.

Another tip is to find a Latin restaurant to dine during your trip and try your hand at reading the menu and then ordering in Spanish. Plan to dine during off-peak hours, when the servers, who are likely to be native speakers, may find it fun to help you practice. They may even challenge your knowledge to see what you know. 

Start simple with asking for a glass of water or a list of daily specials in Spanish. In most cases, you will get a big smile in return upon recognition that you are learning to speak the language and offered a few helpful tips. 

Ready to test your Spanish in other ways? Consider audiobooks in Spanish to help you immerse yourself in the language. A popular audiobook app is Audible which features different genres of books to listen to and have a variety recorded in Spanish. Learn what options truck drivers have to obtain free audiobooks while on the road.

 Learn Spanish While Driving with ABCO Transportation

Truck drivers are always learning new skills to set them apart for career advancement. There is more to the job than just getting from pick up to delivery with ABCO Transportation. Taking the initiative to learn Spanish on the road is one of those things to set drivers apart when open routes are available and being able to speak another language is an asset.

Considering a career with ABCO means a supportive and experienced team to help drivers be successful regardless of the route. The turnaround time from hire to hitting the road is about a 2-day process of orientation.
In addition, ABCO offers great benefits including exclusive driver-only resorts around the country. Take a look at the full list of driver benefits and submit an application for any of the open truck driver jobs. Take the first step to join our team.

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