driver


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

backseat driver

1. A passenger in a vehicle (not necessarily in the backseat) who attempts to instruct the driver or criticize their driving skills. John quickly became annoyed at Mary's tendency to become a backseat driver whenever he drove her somewhere, so he just began to let her drive.
2. By extension, someone who tries to establish and maintain control over every situation. Primarily heard in US. Although Mary was capable of completing the project on her own, John couldn't stop himself from being a backseat driver and telling her what to do.
See also: backseat, driver

designated driver

A person who stays sober during a social gathering and is responsible for safely driving others from one location to another. Since Kara never drinks alcohol, she always offers to be the designated driver for her friends.
See also: designate, driver

in the driving seat

In control of a situation; in a position of power. Primarily heard in UK. Make sure to get good grades now, so that you're in the driving seat when it comes time to choose a college. We're still leading in the polls, so nobody panic—we're in the driving seat here.
See also: driving, seat

backseat driver

Fig. an annoying passenger who tells the driver how to drive; someone who tells others how to do things. I don't need any backseat driver on this project. Stop pestering me with all your advice. Nobody likes a backseat driver!
See also: backseat, driver

in the driver's seat

Fig. in control; in charge of things. (As if one were driving and controlling the vehicle.) Now that Fred is in the driver's seat, there is a lot less criticism about how things are being done. Joan can't wait to get into the driver's seat and do what she can to turn things around.
See also: seat

Sunday driver

a slow and leisurely driver who appears to be sightseeing and enjoying the view, holding up traffic in the process. (Also a term of address.) I'm a Sunday driver, and I'm sorry. I just can't bear to go faster. Move over, you Sunday driver!
See also: driver, Sunday

backseat driver

A passenger who gives unwanted and/or unneeded directions to the driver; also, a person who interferes in affairs without having knowledge, responsibility, or authority for doing so. For example, Aunt Mary drives us all crazy with her instructions; she's an incurable backseat driver. This term originated in the United States in the 1920s, when it was first used for a passenger legitimately directing a chauffeur, and it was quickly transferred to figurative use. Also see the synonym Monday-morning quarterback and the antonym take a back seat.
See also: backseat, driver

in the driver's seat

Also, in the saddle. In control, in a position of authority. For example, With the boss on vacation, Mr. Burns was in the driver's seat and enjoying it, or She waited until after the election, knowing that she'd be in the saddle then. The first expression dates from the 1800s, the second from the early 1600s. Also see at the helm.
See also: seat

a back-seat driver

COMMON
1. If you call a passenger in a car a back-seat driver, you mean that they keep telling the driver what to do. My mother is a terrible back-seat driver, especially when my sister is at the wheel.
2. If you call someone, especially a politician, a back-seat driver, you mean that they are trying to influence or control a situation that should be controlled by someone else. They accused the former prime minister of being a backseat driver. Note: This expression is used to show disapproval.
See also: driver

in the driving seat

BRITISH or

in the driver's seat

AMERICAN
COMMON If someone is in the driving seat, they have control of a situation. The radicals were in the driving seat, much to the anxiety of the moderates. Howe has warned against Britain not being in the driving seat as Europe takes important decisions. Those who had access to money were in the driver's seat.
See also: driving, seat

a back-seat driver

1 a passenger in a vehicle who constantly gives the driver unwanted advice on how to drive. 2 someone who lectures and criticizes the person actually in control of something.
See also: driver

in the driver's (or driving) seat

in charge of a situation.
1998 Times The deal would propel the no-nonsense Lancastrian into the driving seat at the UK's biggest generator.
See also: seat

a ˌback-seat ˈdriver

(disapproving)
1 a passenger in a vehicle who keeps giving advice to the driver about how he or she should drive
2 a person who wants to be in control of something that is not really their responsibility: There are too many back-seat drivers in this department. This is my project and I’m the one who’s in charge!
See also: driver

in the ˈdriving seat

(British English) (American English in the ˈdriver’s seat) managing or controlling something, for example a business: With a younger person in the driving seat, we can expect some big changes in the company. OPPOSITE: take a back seat
See also: driving, seat

backseat driver

n. an annoying passenger who tells the driver how to drive; someone who tells others how to do things. I don’t need any backseat driver on this project.
See also: backseat, driver

in the driver’s seat

mod. in control. I’m in the driver’s seat now, and I get to decide who gets raises.
See also: seat

Sunday driver

n. a slow and leisurely driver who appears to be sightseeing and enjoying the view, holding up traffic in the process. (Also a term of address.) Move over, you Sunday driver!
See also: driver, Sunday
References in classic literature ?
Some poor, broken-down horses, whose mouths have been made hard and insensible by just such drivers as these, may, perhaps, find some support in it; but for a horse who can depend upon his own legs, and who has a tender mouth and is easily guided, it is not only tormenting, but it is stupid.
He said to the driver, "You are early tonight, my friend.
The strange driver evidently heard the words, for he looked up with a gleaming smile.
Then the driver cracked his whip and called to his horses, and off they swept on their way to Bukovina.
I would have liked to have asked the driver what this all meant, but I really feared to do so, for I thought that, placed as I was, any protest would have had no effect in case there had been an intention to delay.
At the first howl the horses began to strain and rear, but the driver spoke to them soothingly, and they quieted down, but shivered and sweated as though after a runaway from sudden fright.
The driver again took his seat, and shaking his reins, started off at a great pace.
The driver, however, was not in the least disturbed.
At last there came a time when the driver went further afield than he had yet gone, and during his absence, the horses began to tremble worse than ever and to snort and scream with fright.
When I could see again the driver was climbing into the caleche, and the wolves disappeared.
Suddenly, I became conscious of the fact that the driver was in the act of pulling up the horses in the courtyard of a vast ruined castle, from whose tall black windows came no ray of light,and whose broken battlements showed a jagged line against the sky.
expostulated the driver, becoming more chafed in temper,
And the big brown elephant catchers, the trackers and drivers and ropers, and the men who know all the secrets of breaking the wildest elephants, passed him from one to the other, and they marked his forehead with blood from the breast of a newly killed jungle-cock, to show that he was a forester, initiated and free of all the jungles.
And at last, when the flames died down, and the red light of the logs made the elephants look as though they had been dipped in blood too, Machua Appa, the head of all the drivers of all the Keddahs--Machua Appa, Petersen Sahib's other self, who had never seen a made road in forty years: Machua Appa, who was so great that he had no other name than Machua Appa,--leaped to his feet, with Little Toomai held high in the air above his head, and shouted: "Listen, my brothers.
When Paul Dana, Indy Racing League driver for Rahal Letterman Racing, died in a two-car crash during the Sunday morning practice session for the Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it was a reminder of how dangerous the sport of auto racing is.