Car and Driving Idioms: Part 2 Upper Intermediate

Car and Driving Idioms 2

This post is the second post about car and driving idioms.  It is written for higher level students.  There is a vocabulary check at the end.

Hitchhike or thumb a ride = to stick out your thumb to passing motorists* because you want them to stop to give you a lift* somewhere. 

Young Man Hitchhiking on a Country Road

‘Let’s get this show on the road!’ = An expression used to encourage* people to start work or an activity.

‘Right, this restaurant opens in an hour. We need to clean up. Let’s get this show on the road.’


Have a blowout = This is when a tyre (tire – US) loses air quickly whilst driving.


‘I had a blowout on the motorway today.’

A blowout = an occasion where people eat and drink a lot.

‘We’ve worked so hard this week I think we should have a big blowout on Saturday night.’


Backseat driver = someone who keeps telling the person driving the car how to drive.

‘Slow down, don’t hit that car!’     ‘Will you stop being such a back-seat driver!’


Middle-of-the-road = describes something or someone well-known* that is liked by most people. Something that is not usually offensive*.

‘His taste in music is very middle-of-the-road.’


The inside track = To have information other people do not have because of who you know.

‘My husband works for Smithson & Cranbrook so I get the inside track on any new offers coming up’


To race through something – which means to do something quicker to finish it earlier.

‘If we race through dinner we will still have time to watch the 8.00 film.’


Step/move up a gear = start to do something better

‘Jim has really moved up a gear with his training*. He’s going five times a week now.’


On track = successfully working towards something, making progress

‘The building work is on track and the factory should be finished by September.’

Race car on track speed and sport

Lose track = lose concentration or forget something. Also to no longer be in contact with someone and not know where he/she is.

‘Can you turn the music off? I’m trying to finish this report and I keep losing track.’

‘I’m afraid I lost track with my old school friends years ago when I moved to Australia.’


Cover your tracks = hide your actions from other people so they will not discover what you have been doing.

‘He ended the affair because he hated having to cover his tracks all the time.’


Put the brakes on = slow down or stop something you are doing.

‘Our company decided to put the brakes on buying the new factory because they didn’t have enough money.’


Race against time = work or act quickly to finish something before a particular time.

‘Hurry up, we’re in a race against time. The plane leaves in two hours.’

Car and Driving Idioms: Vocabulary check

Motorists = people driving cars

Lift = when someone drives you from one place to another, they give you a ‘lift’.

Encourage = to say something to someone to make them feel better about doing something

Well-known = famous

Offensive = something that upsets someone because it is rude or impolite

Training = (usually sports) practice to improve your skills



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