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Backseat Driver

When a passenger gives constant advice or orders to the person behind the wheel. The Henpecked Husband's wife or mother-in-law will do this a LOT. The Logical Extreme is a passenger who actually grabs for car controls (usually the wheel). In Real Life, there are legal consequences for this.note 

The role can occasionally be played by the Guy in Back, reminding the Ace Pilot not to burn up all of their fuel, or warning him of enemies coming up on their six. Of course, this is part of his job, but too much implies a lack of trust between them, or a certain fresh inexperienced quality about the guy in back.


Examples

Anime
  • Yusei constantly gives this to Crow in the 2008 Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds show. Which Yusei tends to always show that Big Brother Instinct attitude of his. And that he had more experience turbo dueling than his buddy; Crow.

Comic Books
  • A severaly injured and distressed Dwight McCarthy becomes one in the Sin City story A Dame To Kill For. Subverted in that Marv, the driver, takes his advice.

Film
  • Driving Miss Daisy - Daisy starts off like this because she is angry about needing a chauffeur.
  • In Broadcast News, Jane gives specific, practically turn-by-turn directions to cabbies on a regular basis as part of her "need to be in control at all times"-ness.
  • Independence Day has the space ship variant where Jeff Goldblum constantly shouts orders to Will Smith who tells him not to be a "side-seat driver".
  • Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted:
    Marty: Stop backseat driving!
    Alex: I'm passenger seat driving!
  • A plane varient in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, where Polly and Joe argue on the best route through town during rush hour.
  • It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World - Milton Berle's character has his mother-in law (Ethel Merman) taking this role to heart in a race to buried treasure. She bellows "We're the ones in the Imperial and we're in last place?" Later, she continues barking orders to different drivers in different vehicles.
  • Quite literally in Cannonball Run 2 when two of the characters participating go in a car with a very visible driver seat that has a orangutan suppose chauffeuring them. Turns out they're really driving the car from the backseat.
  • Thor: The Dark World: Loki, of all people, is this to Thor:
    Loki: Don't hit the buttons, press them gently.
    Thor: [hitting the buttons harder] I am pressing them gently!
    [...]
    Loki: Look, why don't you let me take over, I'm clearly the best pilot.
    Thor: Is that so? Of the two of us which one can actually fly?
    [...]
    Loki: Now they're following us. [shots] Now they're firing at us!
    Thor: Yes, thank you for the commentary, Loki! It's not at all distracting!
  • Two chase scenes involving the hero not driving:

Live-Action TV
  • Very prevalent and always Deconstructed in Canada's Worst Driver. At times, the nominator needs more rehab than the driver does.
  • Perhaps the epitome of a Henpecked Husband, Richard Bucket (pronounced "Bouquet") suffers this from his wife in Keeping Up Appearances.
    Hyacinth: "Mind the pedestrian, Richard."
    Richard, panicked and braking: "Where?!"
    Hyacinth: "On the pavement, Richard."
    • As this is a British show, "the pavement" means the sidewalk.
    • Hyacinth has also been known to reach over and honk the horn. At a policeman.
  • Happens all the time on The Amazing Race when teams are tasked with driving themselves. As a bonus, because of the way the camera crew positions themselves in the car, the non-driving teammate is always positioned directly behind the driver.

Radio
  • A sketch on the British radio show Week Ending featured the car itself as this. The Austin Maestro featured a voice synthesiser to issue warnings to the driver - a supposedly amazingly futuristic innovation which was universally derided by the public. The sketch portrayed the synthesiser as a Backseat Driver which continually nagged and hassled the driver, annoying and distracting him so much that he ended up wrecking the car.

Tabletop Games
  • The Warhammer 40,000 Gaiden Game Gorka Morka had a skill called Backseat Driver. When a character with the skill was in a vehicle the driver could use their stats instead of his own for some driving checks.

Video Games

Western Animation
  • Master Splinter in the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show.
  • The Tex Avery cartoon "Cars of Tomorrow" features a car (currently the page image) specifically built for Backseat Drivers... with the steering wheel and controls literally in the backseat!
  • An early episode of Kim Possible, Mr Barkin is driving several students in the school's Driver's Ed car, who keep commenting on his driving.
    Don't distract the driver!

Real Life
  • Implied — some vehicles, notably the Toyota Yaris, have the instrument cluster mounted in the center of the dashboard, between the driver and front passenger. While there's no proof that any manufacturer's implementation of this design is to explicitly support backseat drivers (though it does simplify manufacturing left and right hand drive models), there's no proof that it isn't either.
  • The valid case of the trope is a driving instructor to assist new drivers. Their vehicles are equipped with passenger-side controls in case the inexperienced driver is about to make a collision. Similarly, many airplanes are designed with this trope in mind, with two sets of pilot controls so that the crew can divide the work of flying the aircraft between them, or to aid in instruction of newer pilots. In the case of tandem-seat aircraft, the Guy in Back can literally be a Back Seat Driver if he takes the controls from the guy in front.
    • And some types of attack helicopters, such as the AH-64 Apache, are designed so the pilot sits in the back seat (elevated so he can see over the top of his Guy In Front), leaving the Gunner up front with an unobstructed view of his targets.
  • In a very literal form of this trope, cars like the page image did exist early on in automotive history. One such vehicle was the Woods Spider.


Automobile OpeningMotor Vehicle TropesBack Seats are Just for Show
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