English can drive you crazy! Idoms about cars and driving!

Ενημερώθηκε: 10 Νοε 2019



There's a slogan in English popular with teachers when trying to answer why in a learner's question. It's ''Because English'' ... Expressions and phrases can be tricky to comprehend but indeed really helpful to learners. Here to your convenience, my best compilation of driving related idioms!


1. to be in the driver's seat

If you are in the driver's seat you are the person in charge or you are in control of the situation.

"Just relax and let me handle this, OK? I'm in the driver's seat!''


2. to live in the fast lane

If you live your life in the fast lane, you make the most out of you life. Often referring to extreme or dangerous situations.

''Don't you ever feel like breaking out of the routine? Let's have an adventure and live our lives in the fast lane!''


3. to carpool with somebody

This expression has nothing to do with cars in pools. It actually means to share the cost of journey with somebody else, or even with more than one people, using just one car.

A: ''Let's carpool next Sunday. You're going to Jake's wedding too, right?''

B: ''Sure, why not. It's a long way to Portland. Let's share the gas.''



4. to be on the road

Also: on the way. Being on the road most commonly means you are already travelling from your place or workplace.

A: ''Where on earth are you?''

B: ''I'm on the road. I'll be there in a few minutes.''


5. Something to get me from A to B

By saying that, people express their intention not to buy an expensive or sophisticated vehicle. Instead they are interested in something practical that litterally fulfills its purpose.

In a car show ''Hi, I'm looking for a used car. You know, nothing special. Just something to get me from A to B.''


6. The roads are chock-a-block

That's a nice way of describing traffic jam. In cases where there is way too much traffic, which is really inconvenient, you can use the phrase!

'' Hi! I'm calling to let you know that I won't make it on time. Even the highway is chock-a-block. Can we put our appointment off? Call me back as soon as you get this.''


7. to drive somebody up the wall

If you say that someone drives you up the wall, you indicate your annoyance or irritation caused by this person.


8. to hit and run

Errrmmm...let's focus on one of the possible meanings here. This refers to the inacceptable case of a car accident when the driver who caused the collision drives away without helping the injured or even reporting it to the police.

Police are investigating a hit and run driver leaving two injured after collision this morning.


9. port of call

A place where you stop to rest and tank for a short while when on a long journey.

In the car: ''I feel a little sleepy. Let's get a coffee. What's the next port of call?''


10. to go off the rails

To start behaving in a way that is socially unacceptable or even illegal.

Mike went off the rails in his teenage years and dropped out of school.



11. One for the road

Image yourself being out in a bar with friends. Though you want to leave your friends insist on one last drink. Not advisable.

''Come on! It's too early to go home. Just one for the road, OK?''


12. drive it home

People beat around the bush often enough. Whether not saying directly what they intend to, or just giving a lot of unneccessary details and useless information missing the point. (rather informal)

'' What are you talking about? I can't follow anymore. Can't you just drive it home?''


13. Don't be the backseat driver

We've all experienced people giving us advice or even reprimanding us when we are in the driver's seat. That'S when this phrase can come in handy.

''Don't be the backseat driver, dad. Can you just let me drive at ease?''



14. designated driver

Again, in a bar, a group of friends want to speand their night out and enjoy themselves, drinking alcohol included. So, who is going to drive them home? Certainly one of them needs to stay sober to drive safely. That person is the designated driver. (rather informal)

'' You are the youngest Mary. You're the designated driver for tonight. I really need a drink!''


15. to call shotgun

The first to call shotgun is the one who gets to seat in the front passeger's seat. (It reminds me of my brother)

B: ''No, no. You can't call shotgun before you see the car. That doesn't count.''

A:''Well, let's see who's there first.''



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