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CAR Idioms: Useful Car, Speed and Driving Idioms & Sayings


Idioms about car, speed and driving! Learn frequently used car idioms and phrases in English with meaning, ESL picture and example sentences.

Car Idioms, Speed and Driving Idioms

List of Idioms and Sayings about Car, Driving and Speed

Car Idioms & Driving Idioms

  • 3-On-The-Tree
  • All Roads Lead to Rome
  • Amber Gambler
  • Backseat Driver
  • Chop Shop
  • Down the road
  • Put the Brakes On
  • Put the Pedal to the Metal
  • To carpool
  • To have one for the road
  • U Turn
  • You’re driving me nuts

Speed Idioms

  • Run Out of Steam
  • Hell for Leather
  • Quick-and-Dirty
  • Quick as a Flash
  • Dead Heat
  • Dead Run

Driving and Car Idioms with Meaning and Examples

List of car idioms with meaning and example sentences.


  • Meaning: On an automobile (especially those produced from 1939 through the mid-1970s), a three-speed manual transmission whose gearshift lever is mounted on the steering column
  • Example: Three-on-the-tree was a common way of mounting the gearshift lever on old pickup trucks.

Note: Rare nowadays, largely because few three-speed transmissions are being produced.

All Roads Lead to Rome

  • Meaning: There is more than one effective way to do something; many different methods will produce the same result
  • ExampleIt doesn’t really matter which part of the project you start with – all roads lead to Rome.

Note: A colloquial U.S. equivalent is “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

Amber Gambler

  • Meaning: Someone who accelerates to try to cross an intersection before a traffic light turns red
  • Example: I don’t like riding in a car with Susan – she’s an amber gambler.

Note: This idiom is British.

Backseat Driver

  • Meaning: Someone who likes to give (often annoying) advice to the driver of a car, or the leader of some other enterprise
  • ExampleNick is sort of a backseat driver. He’s full of suggestions for the project, but he avoids taking any responsibility for his suggestions.

Chop Shop

  • Meaning: A shop where stolen cars are disassembled for parts
  • ExampleMy car was stolen earlier this week, but I didn’t notice it was missing until today. I’m sure it’s in a chop shop by now.

Down the road

  • Meaning: In the future (in your lifetime)
  • ExampleIf you don’t do your homework now, it’ll be a problem down the road when you don’t know the material for the exam.

Put the Brakes On

  • Meaning: Slow something down
  • ExampleHigher coal prices put the brakes on industrial activities in the second quarter.

Note: In UK English, this is sometimes “put a brake on.”

Put the Pedal to the Metal

  • Meaning: Drive as fast as possible
  • ExampleI’m late for my best friend’s wedding. Put the pedal to the metal!

To carpool

  • Meaning: To travel to the same place with a group of people in one car. e.g. work/school
  • ExampleThey still carpool to work and room together on the road.

To have one for the road

  • Meaning: To have one last (alcoholic) drink before you go home
  • ExampleBefore I went home, she persuaded me to have one for the road.

U Turn

  • Meaning: A complete change of opinion, direction, etc.
  • ExampleMy father has always invested conservatively, but this month he made a U turn and backed a completely speculative company.

You’re driving me nuts

  • Meaning: To make someone giddy or crazy
  • Example: I’ll sit there and yell and point and drive you nuts, ’cause you’re driving me nuts, Adrian.

Speed Idioms with Meaning and Examples

Run Out of Steam

  • Meaning: Lose momentum, become tired
  • ExampleThe president’s tax plan is running out of steam in the legislature as business lobbyists attack it.

Hell for Leather

  • Meaning: Very fast, as fast as possible
  • ExampleAfter work I drove home hell for leather, but I still missed my daughter’s birthday party.


  • Meaning: Approximate, hastily done
  • ExampleIt will take time to get the final cost, but a quick-and-dirty estimate would be $45,000.

Quick as a Flash

  • Meaning: Very fast
  • ExampleI’ll have the order done quick as a flash – probably by the time you get back to your office.

Dead Heat

  • Meaning: An exact tie in a race or competition
  • ExampleThe two racers finished in a dead heat, and they both received gold medals.

Dead Run

  • Meaning: Running as fast as possible
  • ExampleThe guards came at a dead run, but the burglars were already gone.

Car Idioms, Speed and Driving Idioms | Image

Useful CAR Idioms in English

List of Frequently Used CAR Idioms in EnglishPin

(CAR Idioms: Useful Car, Speed and Driving Idioms & Sayings)

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