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Car & Travel Idioms with Patrick

Posted in English Language by Patrick on 17 Jan 2017

Car & Travel Idioms. In this video, Patrick discusses some of his favorite expressions including "down the road", "hit the road", "pull over", and his favorite, "backseat driver".

TRANSCRIPT: Hello, ladies and gentlemen. It’s Patrick again. It is lovely to see you. Today, I’d like to talk about some car and travel idioms - some that we put together over the weekend when we were driving back to Chicago from Wisconsin.

The first one I want to talk about is down the road. Imagine that you are driving your car and you see a McDonalds about 200 feet ahead. You can say, I see a McDonalds down the road. Now that makes sense, right? That preposition of direction makes perfect sense. Oh, it’s just down the road.

Um, can you tell me how to get to Solex? Yes, it’s just down the road about three blocks. But we also use this to indicate time. I might say something like, down the road, I hope to be married but right now, I’m not seeing anybody. Down the road also means in the future. I hope to have a lot of money down the road, but I don’t have a lot of money now. Down the road, everything will be fine. Don’t worry about what’s happening right now. Down the road.

Speaking of the road, when you are ready to travel, you are getting ready to hit the road. To hit the road literally means to get in your car and start driving… to get your backpack or your suitcase and go to the train or the airplane. Even if you’re flying, you’re hitting the road. To hit the road means to go somewhere but it also means to leave. Imagine you’re at a party and you’re with your friends and you’re getting bored, you might say to your friend, hey, do you want to hit the road? That means do you want to leave the party? Perfectly acceptable, informal phrase to use. Hey you guys, I’m hitting the road. Have a great day.

Now, you’re on the road, you’re driving, And I want to explain this: I want to explain… you’re driving, you’re driving, you’re driving, and now you want to slow down and stop. So what do you do, you turn your wheel, and you slow down - this action is called pulling over. To pull over. Why is it pull over. It’s pull over because think about that feeling of holding the wheel. As you turn the wheel it’s like the car is being pulled in this direction. PULL… OVER…. to the side of the road.

We say pull over a lot, we might say also if you are at a drive-through let’s say we went to that McDonald’s down the road. So you go and you place your order, Hi, can I get a hot apple pie and a large coffee please? And they will say, “[inaudible] please pull forward.” What I said was please pull forward. To PULL (that’s a “p”) FORWARD or PULL UP means to move forward a little bit. That’s PULL OVER, PULL FORWARD AND PULL UP. Now, the one time you never want to hear pull over is from the car behind you. If you hear PULL OVER it means there is a police car behind you and then we all start to get nervous.


You’re in your car and I want you to remember this for part 2…You’re in your car, you’re driving - this is the DRIVER’S SEAT. Hi. Over here, I’m sitting next to the driver now, I’m in the PASSENGER SEAT. Now I’m back in the DRIVER’S SEAT.

Now I want you to imagine that in the BACK SEAT is somebody who doesn’t really like the way that you are driving. We’ve all been in that situation. You are driving up here and in the back seat, someone is saying, slow down! Oh, please, slow down. Turn right. Turn right here. Why didn’t you turn right? Do you even know where you’re going? And you’re up here, going, what’s going on?

This person in the back seat is also called, a backseat driver and we hate them. We hate backseat drivers! A backseat driver thinks they know how to drive your car better than you do! And we use this phrase anytime someone is trying to tell us how to do something we already know how to do. Example: have you ever been on a website and you’re trying to… maybe you’re buying tickets for a concert and so you’re like clicking on a screen and you’re clicking here and there’s someone standing next to you going don’t click there click that! That’s a backseat driver. They want to be in control.

I love using backseat driver and I love you and I love Solex. Listen, if you like this video, click LIKE which is down here. if you’re in Chicago, please come see us. We have a lot of fun things going on this fall. We’re going to the Museum of Science and Industry this week. We’d love to show you around. My name is Patrick. Thank you so much for your time. Have a wonderful day.