Being a “Back Seat Driver” | China232.com Blog
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Being a “Back Seat Driver”

July 20th, 2011

41 Comments »

This is a pretty funny phrase that I thought about the other day when I was in the car with my mom.

She’s a wonderful woman but her driving is sometimes a bit ridiculous. Add was sitting in the passenger seat (also known as “shotgun”) and I was in the back seat.

My mom drives differently than I would. She’s pretty safe but I feel a bit scared because I think that she always stops later than she should. Sometimes from the back of the car I will yell something like “slow down” or “stop” or “what are you doing!!!!!”

That’s called being a “back seat driver”. I’m not actually driving the car because I’m in the back seat. I’m a “back seat driver” in this case because I’m sitting in the back seat of the car and giving my mom instructions on how to do a better job driving. Everyone hates back seat drivers when they are on the road but I admit to being one sometimes.

I’m sure you’ve had or seen this experience sometime in your life. You might even see it everyday! Now at least you know what it is and what to call this kind of person.

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41 Responses to “Being a “Back Seat Driver””

  1. Delia Says:

    July 20th, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    It’s a good expression, thanks for sharing.

    I see this kind of situations pretty often…surprisingly, if I remember correctly, I witnessed at 2 similar situations in the last few 5 days…mmmm…On one hand, some passengers can be disturbed by the unruly behavior of other passengers in the car and you can’t blame them. Some people function properly in highly regulated environment and can’t handle unusual behavior of others. On the other hand, a good collected driver knows how to handle unexpected driving situations, which exactly happened in those situations I witnessed recently. I liked it. However, even though these back seat drivers can be annoying, there is a bright side of the situation: they care about what’s happening around them.

    I think your mother is a very cool mom because if I were in her shoes, I would be very distressed. My driving performances would diminish instantly! Not everyone is born with good driving skills…

    It’s interesting that my native language we doesn’t have a specific phrase for this type of behavior, even though it’s a pretty often human behavior. This expression reminds me of a text about global advertising I read a while back: English language is very economic compared to other language. “Ads in English require less print space and airtime because English is a more efficient and precise language than most others.” Hm! These English speakers thought about everything before others! ;)
    While I researched a bit I found a similar idiom with similar meaning: armchair quarterback. Funny expressions, I like them both, but I’m already fond of this back seat driver expression. I will definitely use in my real life. Thank you for sharing.

    When I hear a new expression, I try to associate with various things in order to remember them easily. In this situation, the expression “backseat driving” you explained reminds me of one of the million songs I enjoy listening. The band is Canadian and it is one of the fewest new bands that piqued my curiosity. I am not only person who likes the band; they won Album of the Year at Grammy Awards last year.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpvCN-5yfAU&feature=related

  2. Delia Says:

    July 21st, 2011 at 12:31 am

    reading my words, I realized I’m really addicted to the delete button…I really miss it :D

  3. charlie Says:

    July 21st, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Hey Delia

    The song “in the backseat” in the link you posted here is so touching. Arcade Fire band was great performing the song. It seems like a terrible car accident is flash-backing before my eyes and I can relate to how suffering the singer go through when she lost her relative in that car accident. The way they perform in this video clip make me feel thrilling
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTKLIv3SiRk&feature=related
    the song is same as your link but in a different stage

  4. charlie Says:

    July 21st, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Thanks for good song you posted link here

  5. charlie Says:

    July 21st, 2011 at 1:05 am

    Hey Delia

    “if I were in her shoes, I would be very distressed”, I think you mean distracted when you say distressed in the above comment, right?

  6. Delia Says:

    July 21st, 2011 at 1:41 am

    Hi Charlie,

    Thank you for the question. What I tried to say was I would be very stressed out or nervous and why not, distracted. For some reason the word “distress” came to my mind instead “stress out”. In fact, in my mind I have a couple of words close to “stress” (which is the most common in my language) but I have also eustress (a psychological term meaning positive stress, healthy stress that gives you the feeling of fulfillment) and distress (negative stress, destructive stress). I don’t know why my mind chose “distress” instead “stressed out”, while the last is the most common. However, I found the following definition that might be slightly close to what I meant to say, but “stressed out” is the best choice here.

    DISTRESS: to subject to pressure, stress, or strain; embarrass or exhaust by strain: e.g.to be distressed by excessive work.

    There is another meaning that is too strong for what I wanted to say: DISTRESS: great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering; affliction; trouble.

    I like words and nuances very much though…

  7. Delia Says:

    July 21st, 2011 at 1:58 am

    and yah, associations of words can be very intriguing, especially when it comes slang expressions.

    for instance “shotgun”= passenger’s seat gives me a kind of weird thrill. in Romanian, shotgun means “locul mortului” which in a rough translation “dead person’s seat”. but it’s interesting too!

  8. Delia Says:

    July 21st, 2011 at 2:13 am

    Charlie, interesting comments on singer’s feeling. Personally I didn’t think about something sad like car accident or something else. To me this song is just relaxing. I love traveling in the “shotgun” while my husband drives. I listen to music, see new places, I go to a new place, etc. But this song being a piece of art, we all can understand exactly what we want to.

  9. Bcandid Says:

    July 21st, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    This is the first time I hear about the ‘shotgun’, it is really sounds cool to me :)
    And being a back seat driver is really anoying, reminding me of my nephews when they never stop yelling for candies lol!
    hey Delia you’re doing good!

  10. Delia Says:

    July 21st, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Bcandid, you are doing good too :)

  11. Delia Says:

    July 21st, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    I luv u Maical Giacson!

    Hot In The City

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_brVtFvZQfw

  12. Delia Says:

    July 22nd, 2011 at 12:49 am

    Hey Andy,

    I found that dialogue from Two and A Half Men. What I couldn’t understand the joke “Don’t feed me straight lines”. Can you please help me?

    Alan: I had a thought about the ice sculpture.
    A lot of people go with cupid, but you got to remember, the bow and arrow melts first,
    and what you’re left with is a fat kid dancing in shrimp.
    Jack: There’s gonna be shrimp?
    Eveline: For the guests.
    Jack: So, what am I?
    Eveline: Don’t feed me straight lines, dear.
    Jack: Why would I feed her straight lines if there’s shrimp?
    Courtney: I’ll be out in a minute.

  13. china232 Says:

    July 22nd, 2011 at 2:08 am

    Hey Delia,

    Sorry, I don’t really get it to be honest. I forget that episode. I can tell that it’s not that funny though. It seems like it’s one of those jokes that only old boring people would laugh at. I might be missing something (but I don’t think so)

    Andrew

  14. Delia Says:

    July 22nd, 2011 at 2:48 am

    Thank you, Andrew. In fact, this is the only joke I didn’t understand in the TV show, so it’s not bog deal. I’m looking forward to watching the new series in fall with Ashton Kutcher, I’m very curious how it’s gonna be the show without Charlie Sheen.

    In case you noticed my previous joke with Michael Jackson, please don’t take it seriously. It’s just an old internal joke between my brother, my husband, and I, and trust me, it’s hard to explain it but it’s a very innocent one. It’s something similar to “oh fo sho”. Written jokes via internet plus in a foreign language can be tricky. Please trust me that I have only the best thoughts and admiration for you guys.

  15. charlie Says:

    July 22nd, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Hi Andy

    I know the writing section is not ready yet, but I can’t wait for it any more, lol. Please have a look and check my letter that I’ve just sent to my company’s partner.

    “Dear Sir,

    Currently, 620 Long An Construction Unit is now executing construction works in mass at Thong Nhat Passover, and Railway Flyover Bridge. For ensuring the due payment, the finance for the construction unit to execute the construction continuously, our company hereby sends the statement for payment quantities – installment 01 for the period 20/03 – 20/06 (second time), statement for payment quantities – installment 02 for the period 20/06 – 20/07 to Hanshin company. Please check and send us your verification on the actual quantities of construction works (The statement for detail construction quantities is included with this letter).

    We look forward to your soonest feedback so that we are able to make the statement for payment values – installment 01, and installment 02 on time.

    We hope the cooperation of your company

    I hope you don’t mind, and again, please check if my letter makes any sense to you, and where I should correct the sentence. Thanks in advance

    Regards,
    Charlie

  16. Bcandid Says:

    July 22nd, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Thank yoy Delia, :)
    Hmmm if I’m not wrong, to feed sombody straight lines, means to tell him something that is not completely true, often as an excuse, you may supposely know they will believe it :)

  17. Bcandid Says:

    July 23rd, 2011 at 2:46 am

    Hey guys!
    Checking out my post I found that I made a lotta typos lol
    First I wrote yoy instead of you :)
    And, I wrote you may supposely know they will believe it, instead of:
    you may supposely know they WILL NOT believe it :)
    Sorry guys it must be because of this killing hot weather!

  18. Delia Says:

    July 23rd, 2011 at 3:40 am

    Hey Charlie,

    I’m having a feeling that we both exaggerate with questions and other stuff. These things are not part of the initial deal. He’s been a great guy answering so many times. I hope Andrew won’t get tired with us and our stuff.(Unless he has already has). I hope not, I personally enjoyed these dialogues and I will be more careful from now on. We should be able to find some answers by ourselves.

    Delia

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