Back-seat driver


      • criticize or give unwanted advice
        To criticize or offer advice to someone who is in control of a situation, despite not being directly involved or in a position of authority.

      • meddle or interfere
        To interfere or meddle in a situation, often with unwanted or unnecessary opinions or actions.

    Examples of Back-seat driver

    • Ever since retirement, my father has become quite the back-seat driver whenever I take him for his appointments, constantly providing unsolicited advice on the route I should take.

      The father is being compared to an interfering passenger who instructs the driver, even though he is not driving himself.

    • "Quit being a back-seat driver and let me handle the negotiation strategy," Sarah snapped at her colleague.

      Sarah's colleague is criticized for giving unwanted advice about how to conduct the negotiations, similar to a passenger telling a driver how to operate the vehicle.

    • As I prepared the report, I could feel John's back-seat driving approach bearing down on me, his suggestions more disruptive than helpful.

      John is giving unsolicited advice on the report preparation, which is not helpful, likened to an annoying passenger interfering with the driving.

    • The project manager needs to step up; we can't succeed with a committee of back-seat drivers undermining every decision.

      The phrase criticizes a group that is offering unwanted advice and controlling a project without being in charge, similar to passengers giving driving instructions from the back seat.

    • I hired a new assistant, but instead of helping, he's turned into a back-seat driver, telling me how to organize my files.

      The assistant is giving unhelpful and intrusive advice on file organization, similar to a non-driving passenger instructing the driver.

    • My mother-in-law's tendency to back-seat drive every aspect of our wedding plans is driving me insane.

      The speaker is frustrated with their mother-in-law’s interference and excessive advice on wedding planning, similar to how a back-seat driver behaves.

    • While appreciating your perspective, I would prefer it if you didn't back-seat drive my decision to study abroad, Grandpa.

      The speaker is politely asking their grandfather not to give unwanted advice about the speaker's decision, likening it to someone instructing the driver from the back seat.

    • The coach could see the potential in his team, but the constant back-seat driving from parents was not making his job any easier.

      Parents are interfering with the coach’s methods by giving constant unsolicited advice, comparable to back-seat driving.


    The idiom "back-seat driver" is typically used to describe someone who is overly critical or offers unwanted advice in a situation where they are not directly involved or responsible. It can also refer to someone who interferes or meddles in a situation without being asked to do so.

    In both cases, the intention behind the idiom is to discourage the person from continuing their behavior and to convey the idea that their input is not needed or appreciated.

    Origin of "Back-seat driver"

    The origin of the idiom "back-seat driver" is believed to come from the early days of automobiles, when the driver sat in the front seat and a passenger would sit in the back seat. The passenger would often offer unsolicited advice or criticism to the driver, hence the term "back-seat driver."

    Over time, the idiom has evolved to refer to any situation where someone is offering unwanted or unnecessary input, regardless of their physical location in relation to the actual driver of a vehicle.

    The idiom is also often used in a figurative sense, where the "driver" represents the person in control of a situation and the "back-seat driver" represents someone who is trying to exert control or influence without actually being in a position of authority.