Last updated at 10:44 BST, Tuesday, 05 July 2011

Transport idioms: Drive

The Teacher


In this episode The Teacher introduces you to three idioms connected with driving:

1. In the driver's seat

2. A backseat driver

3. A Sunday driver


Teacher's Homework

Are you always 'in the driver's seat' or more of 'a backseat driver'? How do you react when you see a 'Sunday driver'?

This topic has now closed. Thanks for all your homework.


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    • 1. At 2:05pm on 05 Jul 2011, Les wrote:


      Thank you, Teacher, and the verb ‘drive’ :) for the idioms!

      I’ve been driving for a while, and I’m usually in the driver’s seat in my car. But as for my family, my dad is almost always in the driver’s seat - he’s in charge of making serious decisions in our family.

      When my mom doesn’t drive, she likes giving some advice on how to drive :). Honestly, sometimes, when I’m in my dad’s car, I behave like a backseat driver, but I’ve been putting a lot of effort into not doing that :). So has my mom :).

      But in general, I prefer to make decisions, not to wait for someone to do it instead of me.

      Sunday drivers don’t annoy me at all, because when I see them, I remember myself learning to drive :). If there is any opportunity, I just overtake them.

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    • 2. At 2:19pm on 05 Jul 2011, szes60323good wrote:

      I would like to organize a farewell party for my cousin, who is going to join the 2-year national service next week. So I'm in the driver's seat that makes me busier than usual. One afternoon, one of my friends, who knows about my plan, calls me and keeps telling me how to do it. She's really a backseat driver who makes me very annoyed! I hung up her call and go out. I'm driving my lovely car in order to get my happy mood back. Unexpectedly, I meet a Sunday driver, who is really driving me crazy again! What a unlucky day!

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    • 3. At 2:38pm on 05 Jul 2011, Wendy wrote:

      I am a money savvy, however I am not always in the driver's seat.

      I don't know how to drive, but I like give some advice while my husband drives, I am really a back seat driver.

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    • 4. At 2:46pm on 05 Jul 2011, Elkagirl wrote:

      I love my mum so much but we've a love and hate relationship. As a backseat driver she often tries to be in the driver's seat. Every now and then I let her get the chance and she is being a Sunday driver :D

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    • 5. At 3:16pm on 05 Jul 2011, Tereza wrote:

      I must confess, I am a Sunday driver - I got driving licence last year and I am still afraid of a high speed. I am more calm when there is a backseat driver in the car with me who tells me the way, so I can concentrate on the driving. But, outside the car, I don't like that backseat drivers who keeps advice you this and that... A want to be in a driver's seat alone!

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    • 6. At 4:19pm on 05 Jul 2011, mayaly wrote:

      I have never been in a driver's seat i am always treated like a child. I once had put in charge of my niece's i was really annoyed because they were always telling me lots of things to do it for them so they were in a backseat drivers . I love being a Sunday driver , but sometimes i hate a Sunday driver, when i am late for my appointments .

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    • 7. At 4:32pm on 05 Jul 2011, Mary wrote:

      Wow, I like this program. It's so easy to understand the English idioms. Also it's so funny.

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    • 8. At 8:17pm on 05 Jul 2011, Gustavo wrote:

      Hi Teacher,
      It's always a pleasure to hear some news from you. Today the subject chosen was wonderful! I mean, most of us men like cars. So, thats the reason I said the topic was wonderful!
      So, here at house who is always in the driver's seat is my wife. She gives me orders...She has got the control. But, when the bills need to be paid, I'm in the driver's seat!
      The last expression called my attention because even in Portuguese we have got the same expression for Sundays driver. The are annoying and if we call their attention, they dislike, don't they?

      Take care,

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    • 9. At 10:45pm on 05 Jul 2011, Jov wrote:

      These idioms are very interesting because we can use it for two different situation;one where somebody in really in charge of the situation then one can say "I am in the drivers seat."The other situation where actually the person is not in charge of the situation but they are trying to control the situation.I remember once my friend saying to her grandmother that I am the one who is in the driver's seat not you so don't try to be a backseat driver.

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    • 10. At 04:03am on 06 Jul 2011, Juan wrote:


      In the activities of my work I like to be in the driver´s seat because help me to be alert any situation that can affect the development of our proyects.

      Anyway, there a few partners who are in the backseat driver. I like people who express respectably their ideas, but there are others so rude to express their thoughts.

      After work, when I want to arrive fast at my home to rest (and learn English with BBC) I usually found a big traffic jump. Some are caused by sunday drivers.

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    • 11. At 05:11am on 06 Jul 2011, SHRIKANT KUMAR wrote:

      A new project is going to start in my company.So,my honcho has called for a meeting to distribute the responsibilities of various departments to various individuals.Till now,Rakesh,one of my colleagues would take the responsibility of being in the driver's seat, but this time something surprising may happen.A little bird has told me the news concerning alteration in the responsibilities of individuals.The news says that this time I am going to bag the responsibility of the driver's seat for the project.Rakesh,being a Sunday driver, in his tenure, as the head of the project steered the project with very slow speed, could act as a backseat driver.

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    • 12. At 06:36am on 06 Jul 2011, Joanne wrote:

      After stepping down as chairperson, Sam still controls over the company as if he was the one in the driver’ s seat. He is indeed a backseat driver in the process of decision-making and this adversely affects the morale of the staff members. What is more, Sam recently fires a chauffeur who is a Sunday driver without giving a warning. He is then notoriously viewed as a bad egg and has a bad reputation among the colleagues.

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    • 13. At 07:14am on 06 Jul 2011, Vera_Kuzub wrote:

      I drive my car sometimes. When I do it my husband is sitting with me. He is really a backseat driver. He tells me what I must do and how to drive. If we have another helm in our car he would drive.

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    • 14. At 3:01pm on 06 Jul 2011, kyntire wrote:

      Hello teacher and everybody! I'm taking some important decisions for my life at the moment, so I think I am really in the driver's seat. It is rather disappointing though to realize that when you are to make a decision, there's always a crowd of backseat drivers around you doing their best to confuse you.
      In this case the best thing I can do is to take my old car and drive along a quiet and relaxing country road ... hoping not to find a Sunday driver ahead !

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    • 15. At 3:03pm on 06 Jul 2011, marco-it wrote: really depends on the situations. For instance, when I take up doing something I have never tried to do before or even when I understand something isn't actually "my cup of tea", I willingly take my parents' or my friend's advice.

      Nevertheless, I want to be in the driver's seat whenever I have to take some very important decisions regarding my school, my relationships and my future.

      As far as "Sunday drivers" are concerned, I think sometimes they're a real "pain in the neck", but at the same time I can't complain about them: in my experience of moped driver I have been taken over hundreds of time :)
      I try to be understaning.

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    • 16. At 3:42pm on 06 Jul 2011, Irina Mladova wrote:

      I am in the driver's seat at my work. I teach maths. My students are Sunday drivers at first. Then they try teach others and become like backseat drivers. But at last a lot of them in the driver's seats. These students to be proud of.

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    • 17. At 07:53am on 07 Jul 2011, mabé wrote:

      Janine and Jean-Claude have been married for 20 years. Everybody knows that SHE is in the driver seat within the couple. He does all the household chores but she thinks it's never good enough and he has to listen to her advice for hours. She's such a backseat driver! Even when they play golf together, she calls him "a Sunday driver" everytime he drives the golf cart! Poor Jean-Claude!

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    • 18. At 08:57am on 07 Jul 2011, miklos wrote:

      I like exploring new countries and places when I am on the web. I am in the driver's seat and I drive really fast. I'm not afraid of being lost, so I don't need anyone as a backseat driver. But when I get my car and driving license it will be useful having one, so that I can drive properly as a good Sunday driver.

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    • 19. At 10:24am on 07 Jul 2011, amimz5 wrote:

      When I was young, I was a backseat driver; I didn’t have my own project of my future. So I found myself doing things that I don’t like doing. So, I decided to be a driver’s seat to control my life.
      Sometime, when I have free time, I take my car and I drive like a Sunday driver near the beach, really I like it.

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    • 20. At 11:14am on 07 Jul 2011, Serhiy Donin wrote:

      1) Well mostly in such branches in which I'm absolutely confident and automatically strong to solve tasks and problems (jurisprudence, anime, sport, computer science, tidying up etc), I'm definitely in the driver's seat. I don't like being as a backseat driver. Even when I see that a branch of a human activity is a whole new ball game for me, I try not to speak a lot and try to listen and to learn from an experienced driver little by little.
      2) As form me Sunday drivers aren't so annoying to bang your head against a break of wall. You just need to wait a convenient moment to overtake their car successfully and then to copy their driver's style for a while so as to make them feel like you were some time ago till you overtake them.

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    • 21. At 2:26pm on 08 Jul 2011, Nataliia wrote:

      One day my dream has come - I bought a flat. I am so happy that I can live in my own flat. I decided to decorate it in my own taste but unfortunately this idea was taken by my dad because he did a lot of things alone in the flat so I was as a backseat driver. My father did everything as he considered it necessary.

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    • 22. At 03:58am on 09 Jul 2011, Jessica0911 wrote:

      My husband really hates those Sunday drivers, so every time he would overtake their cars immediately. At work, he is not in the driver's seat so he has to listen to his boss even some backseat drivers which annoys him a lot.

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    • 23. At 09:52am on 09 Jul 2011, dilanqs wrote:

      After I was appoint as the Chief QS in our company, I have to act as a backseat driver when my supporting staff working as Sunday drivers. However I have to do it since I'm on the Driver's seat.

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    • 24. At 10:15am on 09 Jul 2011, Huỳnh Quang wrote:

      Hello, Teacher and everybody. I'm taking some important decisions and carrying them out for my life, so I think I am really in the driver's seat.
      In my family, my father is always in the driver's seat. He's in charge of making the final decisions, however all of them are summarized from all members.

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    • 25. At 10:36am on 11 Jul 2011, Antonella wrote:

      Hello Teacher,

      my mum definitely fits in the backseat's driver profile. She is always fretting and bossing when someone else is driving even if it is an experienced bus driver. "Halt, slow down, the lights are green, there's no parking, take this turn, etc." she would shout at you.

      The Sunday drivers too are very annoying and dangerous as well especially on a main road or if you are driving in the mountains. Though I try not to fly off the handle as you, Teacher.

      To be in a driver's seat instead it is the right attitude towards
      taking responsibilities for your life and making decisions. It needs a clear vision, confidence and will power which sometimes unfortunately I lack, in fact it is my weak side.

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    • 26. At 4:08pm on 11 Jul 2011, Elic wrote:

      Hello Teacher and everyone...^^

      I really want to be in the driver's seat in my life. and I don't want to be a man like being a backseat driver and a sunday driver.
      That is very stressfull to the others.

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    • 27. At 04:26am on 14 Jul 2011, CuteCactus wrote:

      My mom always says the key to a happy marriage is to respect each other's opinion. You can't always be in the driver's seat. Your partner would feel weak and like we don't need him/her!

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    • 28. At 05:46am on 14 Jul 2011, jenny wrote:

      i am a new comer. today i am happy here, l red your all views and i want to konw one easy way for driver.

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    • 29. At 10:35am on 17 Jul 2011, Candice Lin wrote:

      Hello Teacher,
      I happened to find the idiom section on the website recently, and now I really like it and enjoy learning idioms !!

      In my family, only my dad can drive a car, so of course he is always in the driver's seat. However, my dad is not very patient all the time while driving. Especially when there is a Sunday driver in front of him, he will get upset and speed up to try to drive past the driver. If someone tries to be a backseat driver, he won't take the advice all the time. We still respect him. After all, he is the only one who has the driver's license in our family. :-)

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    • 30. At 3:01pm on 17 Jul 2011, Paixao wrote:

      Hello teacher and colleagues !

      Thanks Teacher! My name is Paixao , I'm from Brazil but I live in Italy . Well, I am always in the driver's seat , everyday , from may house to work .
      When I see a Sunday driver''s, I go to them because it has so far experinece necessary for this are dangerous and can cause accident. I'm sorry but I'm afraid the driver of the weekend. Nthat I know I was once one of them but ...

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    • 31. At 3:18pm on 17 Jul 2011, Paixao wrote:

      Hello Teacher and colleagues !

      My name is Paixao . I'm always in seat driver's , from house to work ... eveyday.

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    • 32. At 12:43pm on 18 Jul 2011, Elham wrote:

      I personally don't have any problem with Sunday's drivers, I can overtake them easily.
      But If they became backseat drivers, I would be mad and be in the driver's seat.

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