Sunday driver

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The term Sunday driver is derived from a practice that for the most part, has fallen to the wayside. We will look at the meaning of Sunday driver, the origin of the term and some examples of its use in sentences.

A Sunday driver is a person who pilots a car inexpertly, driving erratically, slowly or extremely cautiously. The term Sunday driver is derived from a practice of early automobile owners. In the 1920s and 1930s, many car owners did not depend on their automobiles for transportation. Taking a leisurely and largely aimless drive in the country on Sunday afternoon was a form of entertainment, as gasoline was cheap and abundant. Drivers who indulged in this practice were in no hurry, enraging other drivers on the road who were trying to get somewhere. The term Sunday driver became a popular epithet. With the gas rationing and rubber rationing that occurred in World War II, the Sunday drive became a pursuit of the past. A slight resurgence of Sunday driving happened in the 1950s, but as families found other forms of entertainment, the Sunday drive all but disappeared. The fuel crisis of the 1970s and the accompanying rise of gasoline prices all but killed the pursuit of the Sunday drive. Note that the word Sunday in Sunday driver is capitalized, as it is the name of a day of the week.


“It was made for horses and carts and it has been perfectly conditioned for the odd Sunday driver or pig hunter, and cyclists. (The Gisborne Herald)

No matter what day of the week it is, if you’re behind a car going 25mph in a 30 or 40mph zone, it’s likely that you’re stuck behind a Sunday driver. (The Daily Record)

Why is it that when we are driving and in a hurry to get somewhere, everyone in front of us is an idiot and must be a Sunday driver with nothing better to do than to hold us up? (The Ukiah Daily Journal)