Backseat driver

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A backseat driver is someone who offers unsolicited advice concerning the actual driver’s methods of piloting the vehicle. The term backseat driver has, with time, become a term to describe anyone who gives unsolicited advice. Calling someone a backseat driver is a mild insult, as backseat drivers are considered pests who are fond of giving advice that they cannot be held responsible for. The term backseat driver became popular in the 1920s, when automobiles became more common. The phrase backseat driver is sometimes seen hyphenated as in back-seat driver, but the Oxford English Dictionary only lists the unhyphenated spelling as correct.


Jung observed that the unconscious plays a “compensatory” role, acting as a sort of backseat driver whenever the conscious aspects of the personality get too extreme. (The Elko Daily Free Press)

But Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said: “This backseat driver wants to take the SNP down the road of rerunning the referendum he just lost. (The Daily Record)

Everyone has at least one backseat driver in the family, and some are worse than others. (The Globe and Mail)

Cars could soon feature the ultimate backseat driver, an artificial intelligence technology that aims to make roadways safer by telling you when your mind is wandering.  (The Christian Science Monitor)

Like a backseat driver, Zendrive observes whether the actual driver breaks too forcibly, makes a hard turn, uses the phone while driving or even gets into accident. (The San Diego Union-Tribune)

“We may not have disagreed with Turabi on the religious ideas side,” Ghazi reported, “but the application to the state, how he treated the state — the role of a backseat driver — was unacceptable.” (The Wilson Quarterly)