On this page, we will look at the 20 most useful idioms about driving. Although some of the idioms below use words related to driving or cars, that’s not necessarily what they mean!
As you may know, there are thousands of different idioms in English, but many of them are no longer used in common English conversations. Our focus in the section of our English course is to focus only on those idioms which are still commonly used and you can expect to see or hear when talking to native English speakers.
|something to get me from A to B||a cheap, basic vehicle, often used for commuting.||My car isn’t very nice, but it’s something to get me from A to B without going on the bus.|
|A Sunday driver||a slow or not very good driver||The roads are very narrow so it can take a long time if you get stuck behind a Sunday driver.|
|the roads are chock-a-block||When there is a lot of traffic on the road||I’m not sure when we’ll get there. We’re on our way, but roads are chock-a-block today.|
|Need some wheels||When you need some form of transport of your own||I’m 18 now, so I need some wheels to visit friends and start looking for a job.|
|In the driver’s seat||To be the person making the decisions||He always used to laugh at the boss, but now he’s got the job he’ll find it’s not so easy being in the driver’s seat.|
|A backseat driver||Someone who offers advice that they were not asked for (it can refer to driving a car, but also in a more general meaning)||He’s such a backseat driver – he kept telling her when she should brake and when to speed up even though she knew the roads.|
|Driving (someone) up the wall||Doing something that another person finds annoying||Can you PLEASE stop whistling? The sound is driving me up the wall!|
|U-turn||A complete change of direction or opinion.||The government made u-turn on their decision to offer free university education for all. Now they say there isn’t enough money.|
|Living life in the fast lane||To live an exciting but possibly risky lifestyle||They went to parties almost every night and would try anything new.|
|Down the road||Something that will be considered at a later time||We can take more work now, and if we need more staff down the road we can advertise for them.|
|A third wheel||An extra person that goes somewhere with a couple||John and David decided to go to the movies together, but then John’s girlfriend came along so David felt like a third wheel.|
|Middle of the road||An opinion that is moderate and unlikely offend either side.||In some countries, governments can be left leaning or right leaning in their politics, but some people think the best option is to choose a Prime Minister who is more middle of the road.|
|To drive at (something)||To hint or indicate something without directly saying it.||What are you driving at? If you have something to say, just say it!|
|The driving force behind (someone or something)||The main motivation||Microsoft was the driving force behind getting computers into schools in the 1990s.|
|Driving blind||Not having enough experience or knowledge to see ahead||When I first took the job I had no idea what I was doing – I was driving blind and I had to learn as I went on.|
|On the road||Refers generally to travelling, often for extended periods||Some musicians spend years on the road, going to different countries and holding concerts.|
|The end of the road||The end of a an action, process or relationship (often one that has been going for some time)||When the band started arguing and fighting while on the stage, everybody know it was the end of the room for them as group.|
|The squeaky wheel gets the oil||The person who complains the most / the loudest gets the attention||The flight had to be cancelled, so most people went home apart from one business man who kept arguing until they put him on a later flight that night. I guess the squeaky wheel gets the oil, but I don’t think it’s fair.|
|One for the road||A final alcoholic drink before leaving||“Right, I’m leaving.” “Oh – have one for the road with me before you go then!”|
|Drive the point home||To make your point forcefully and clearly so people remember||I was explaining to my daughter why you shouldn’t drive if you have been drinking alcohol, and to drive the point home I showed her some pictures of accidents that drunk-drivers have caused.|
|Reinvent the wheel||To waste time finding a solution to something that has already been solved||The government should use the research that has already been done – there’s no point in spending millions trying to reinvent the wheel.|
Now click the link in the box below to take the practice exercise.