Mickey: Hey, who's drivin'?The characters are in a larger vehicle and the driver comes back to where the passengers are in order to have a conversation, leading to the obvious question of who is driving now. Once the you-know-what has been hung (often with an Oh Crap! from at least one character), the vehicle crashes. Surprisingly often it's revealed that an animal has taken the wheel, though this doesn't make the crash any less likely, because, well, it's an animal. Alternatively, a particularly clueless character may have engaged "cruise control" under the impression that it will function as an autopilot and allow the vehicle to drive itself for a while. Compare Drives Like Crazy.
Donald: Yeah, who's driving?!
Goofy: (sitting at the table with them, eating popcorn) Why, I'm driving!
Donald: Yeah, who's driving?!
Goofy: (sitting at the table with them, eating popcorn) Why, I'm driving!
— The Mickey Mouse cartoon Mickey's Trailer
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- This NBA commercial, with Jeff Van Gundy as the one who's supposed to be driving.
- One Trix commercial had an engineer (who looked like the Rabbit) ask this before he realized he was suppose to.
Anime And Manga
- Pokémon: This happens with a blimp at the beginning of the Orange Islands arc. Twice. With the same blimp.
- In the European comic Timothée Titan, after the hero is transported to the alien starship, both crewmember gather around him and proceed to describe the situation. Only halfway through one of them realizes that nobody's at the helm, and the ship crashes down on a planet moments later.
- Happens in Danger Girl: The Chase #2, when Anastasia attempts to kill Valerie in the back of the van Sonya is driving (having already shoved Sydney out of the van). Sonya dives into the back to save Valerie, leading to this exchange:
Valerie: Sonya?! What are you doing?!Sonya: What does it look like? I'm kicking her ass!Valerie: But if you're back here—WHO'S DRIVING THE VAN?!
Films — Animated
- In Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, the Crazy Awesome Buck captures a pterosaur and proceeds to commandeer it like an aircraft, with the possums Crash and Eddie in tow, in order to rescue Sid - which leads right into this trope as all three of them check on Sid. Apparently the pterosaur can't be trusted to fly by itself.
- In Astro Boy his friends catch him out of the air in a flying car. They all start asking if he's okay. Then he wonders who's driving. Cut to the robot dog at the steering wheel.
- In An Extremely Goofy Movie, On the way to college, Max and PJ are trying to read the map, but Max is confused about which way is the right way to go and PJ admits that he has no sense of direction, so Bobby decides to help them read the map by pointing to the correct locations. Thing is, Bobby's supposed to be driving the van, and ends up driving it right through a cornfield.
Films — Live-Action
- Happens on The Muppet Movie when Fozzie helps Kermit try to find the route to Hollywood on a map. Kermit asks who's driving, and they nearly crash into the abandoned church where they meet the Electric Mayhem.
- Happens in the second Cannonball Run movie. For some unknown reason, Mel Tillis has switched places with the chimp who was "driving" the limo. The chimp then gets into a fight with Tony Danza who eventually climbs up front with Tillis. Tillis invokes the trope and Danza points out that the chimp is. That's when they drive through the trailer home.
- In the Three Stooges short "Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise," the boys somehow all end up in the back seat of a moving car, the driverless condition of which is only noticed as they approach a cliff, and Curly calmly and chirpily remarks, "Hmm...don't look now, but I think we're about to be killed!"
- In Resident Evil: Afterlife, Alice (the real one) manages to get the drop on Wesker as he taking off in a plane. Wesker stabs her with some kinda antidote that takes away her powers and proceeds to beat her up and gloat. However in his little moment. he seems to have forgotten that there are only two people on said plane: Alice and him...And he was driving. Cue him trying to rush back to the controls and the plane flying directly into a mountain.
- Variation: In Its A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Mickey Rooney and Buddy Hackett find themselves in a small plane with an unconscious pilot. As Buddy clings to the controls, Mickey gets ground control on the radio. They assess the situation and ask "Who's flying the plane?" Buddy gestures to himself; Mickey looks at him and calls back "Who's flying the plane?? Nobody's flying the plane!!!"
- Congo. After their plane is fired on by Anti-Air, the passengers start strapping on parachutes, except one man who refuses to go because it's too dangerous.
Munro: Do you know how to fly this plane?Elliot: No...Munro: Well the pilot and copilot have already gone, so what are you going to do?
- Played for Drama in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three when the passengers suddenly realise that all the hijackers have left the train, which is racing down the line at an ever-increasing rate.
- A variation in The Courtship of Princess Leia. Han is captured by the Big Bad and is about to be killed in an extremely egregious fashion when the Falcon comes to the rescue, guns blazing, and nearly takes the villain's head off (a feat of considerable precision for a freighter). Okay, he figures, it must be Isolder flying and Luke on the guns. Then when the Falcon picks him up, he walks in to find Luke flying (and acting as co-pilot), and Isolder and Leia rubbernecking about his Improbable Piloting Skills. So, he wonders, who's the gunner? It turns out that's on the guns, too, thanks to the Force.
Live Action TV
- Get Smart Baddie of the Week Leadside asked this question of his Evil Minions when they were tooling about in his secret lair (which was a truck). No crash though.
- Happens at the end of another episode when Maxwell knocks out the pilots of a plane (who happen to be KAOS agents). He calmly informs the passengers that there is nothing to fear and that they will arrive in Miami shortly. Then he asks if any of them know how to fly a plane.
- Happened once on Firefly, with Wash hanging out with the rest of Serenity's crew until the ship's proximity alarm goes off:
Wash: Oh my God, what can it be? We're all doomed! Who's flying this thing?! ..oh, right. That would be me. Back to work.
- Happens in the Scrubs episode "My Road to Nowhere" when several characters go on a road trip:
JD: Ted, who's driving?Ted: Oh, my bad.Elliot: Maybe I should drive so we don't all die. No offense, Ted.Ted: (Taking both hands off the wheel and turning completely to face her) None taken.
- In the The Adventures of Pete & Pete episode "Yellow Fever", driver Stu's crazy-trigger song is sung by a frustrated student...causing Stu to start singing along, eventually dancing down the aisle with deranged glee. At first, the class is just relieved that he hasn't flown into a rage, but after a minute, everyone but Stu realizes there's nobody driving the bus anymore.
- The Search For Psalty's Missing 9: Psalty and the kids are on a plane, trying to find Risky Rat, and Charity Churchmouse tells them she's pinpointed the rat's exact location. After hearing where he is, Psalty realizes that Charity was the one flying the plane. But Charity assures him it's all right, since Blooper, Psalty's pet dog, took over.
Psalty: My dog is flying the plane?!Charity: I'm a mouse, what's the difference?
- In King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human, if you use the sleep spell in the pirate ship too early (Before land is sighted), Gwydion will realize that he just put the only people capable of navigating to sleep, resulting in the ship wandering aimlessly across the ocean and a game over.
- Played for Drama in Bravely Default's prologue chapter. When the party pursues the fleeing Heinkel onto his airship, he informs them that they've just walked right into his trap - there's no escape but down, and only Heinkel and his men know how to pilot the airship, meaning that even if they overcome him, they'll die when the airship crashes. Except, not quite - after the party fights and defeats Heinkel, Ringabel takes the helm of the airship and lands it safely, to the surprise of everyone present, including himself.
- Eight Bit Theater; The Light Warriors and Dark Warriors are on a sailboat at sea. At one point Fighter calls both sides inside to announce that he's solved a non-existent mystery, and Black Mage gets fed up and leaves.
Black Mage: "My point precisely." Gimme a break. If I knew how to steer this thing, I'd drive us right into... Wait a second. Who Is steering this thing?
(Note on helm says, "Back in 10 -Bikke (Yar)"
- Also happens in I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space with the rocketship crashing into a planet moments after someone asks this question during a crew conference.
- Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: Occurs many times on the bus. Yumi hangs it in "Number Please".
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy "Fear and Loathing in Endsville" where Grim and Dracula are in the back of truck with the truck driver while the truck is in motion. Grim hangs it.
- One of the episodes of Clerks: The Animated Series involved an anime-inspired sequence with this famous statement by the overenthusiastic narrator: "Who is driving?!...Oh my God! Bear is driving! How can that be?!"
- The Simpsons:
- In the Treehouse of Horror segment "Nightmare at 5 1/2 Feet", Otto is seen with the students at one point. Once Milhouse points this out, he immediately rushes back to the wheel.
- It's not the only time Otto has done this. "Who's driving the bus?" "What bus?"
- In the episode "Bart on the Road", Bart gets a fake driver's license and goes on a road trip with Milhouse, Nelson, and Martin using Martin's recent stock market earnings to rent a car. At one point, Bart joins them in the backseat. When they ask who is driving, Bart casually answers "cruise control", mistaking cruise control for some form of auto-pilot. The car then plows right into a cornfield.
- The Classic Disney Short Mickey's Trailer (1938) had a scene where Goofy, who was driving, stepped back into the trailer to have lunch with his pals. All sorts of near-misses and almost-crashes occurred.
- Johnny Bravo Christmas Special had Johnny, Little Suzy, Donny Osmond, and a pilot flying on a plane to the North Pole. At one point, the characters begin to break into song including the pilot, at which point Johnny asks "Who's flying the plane?" To which the pilot answers "Duh! I am!", while he is most obviously not. The plane drops out of the sky like a rock. (Though not before Donny Osmond tells everyone to buckle up.)
- Has occurred more than once on Totally Spies!.
Sam: Uh, girls? Since we knocked the pilot unconscious, who is flying this plane now?
- The Spectacular Spider-Man: Sandman is driving an armored truck, Spidey jumps in the cab and the two fight. Sandman asks; "Gee Webhead, if I'm over here... Who's driving?" No one is, and the truck plows right into a gate.
- Happens when Chef decides to join Chris in the main body of the plane during Total Drama World Tour.
- On an episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes, thanks to some less than brillant moves of the cast, Jimmy is left trying to fly a plane. It takes Lucius a few seconds of conversing with him in the passenger section before realizing that no one is flying the plane.
- My Gym Partner's a Monkey: "Slips, if you're here, then who's flying the plane?" Cue the inevitable crash.
- All over the place at the end of the Wacky Races episode "Speeding For Smogland." A chain reaction crash causes Luke and Blubber, Red Max, Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth, the Gruesome Twosome, and Dick Dastardly and Muttley to be jettisoned from their cars into each other's cars. Dastardly is in the lead in the Arkansas Chuggabug, but the announcer informs him that he'll be disqualified for not being in the correct car. He stops and another chain reaction crash sends everyone back into their correct cars.
- Muttley has been seen driving the Mean Machine whenever Dastardly is otherwise pre-occupied.
- In "Race Rally To Raleigh," Sgt. Blast winds up in Penelope Pitstop's car, the Compact Pussycat.
- Happens to a speedboat in Almost Naked Animals in the episode where Howie runs into his Imaginary Friend.
- In the first episode of Codename: Kids Next Door, Sector V hijacks a ice cream truck to grill info on the driver (ice cream men are Mooks work for the Big Bad in this cartoon). They soon come across a blockade and Numbah 4 goes to Numbuh 1, who are on top of the truck, to tell him this:
Numbuh 1: Tell Numbuh 4 to turn the truck around.
Numbuh 4: I am Numbuh 4.
Numbuh 1: Then whose driving the... (CRASH)
Lizzie: Hi, Nigie! Bet you're wondering why I'm here, huh?Numbuh 1: Yes, that and why no-one seems to be driving this ship... (Cue Oh Crap! from everyone before it crashes.)
- Also in Operation: C.A.K.E.D.T.W.O., where Numbuh 1 boards the Delightful Children's airship, only to find that it's a decoy, with Lizzie and four other kids posing as the Delightful Children:
- In one episode of The Critic, Jay's parents, Franklin and Eleanor, are on vacation and flying on their private plane. Franklin goes to check on the pilot and discovers its a penguin... who's been drinking.
Franklin: Wait a minute, penguins can't fly! PENGUINS CAN'T FLY! (The plane drops like a rock)
- One episode of Thomas the Tank Engine had Thomas realize that he's moving all by himself without a driver and crashing into a house at the end of the track he's on.
- Scooby-Doo handles the Mystery Machine in the made-for-video movie Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare. He also drives a forklift and destroys the Fright Hound in episode 10 of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.
- Danger Mouse leaves Penfold in the Mk. III driverless for a spell while he battles Count Duckula in "The Great Bone Idol." Later in "Beware Of Mexicans Delivering Milk," he has his Mk. III on autopilot after his strength is sapped drinking spiked milk (he's so weak he says "If I'd had the strength, I'd blow my nose").
- "What A Three-Point Turn-Up For The Book" is even more bizarre. The Mk. III takes off without our heroes and assumes mischievous and even sinister traits. When DM finally corrals it, he finds the wirings of a washing machine installed.
- In Pinky and the Brain, while Brain and Snowball are flying a plane, they leave the controls to settle a grudge match only to realize their mistake 3 seconds later:
Brain & Snowball: Who's flying the plane!?Pinky: I'm a birdyyy!
- In an episode of Freakazoid!, we see Air Force One caught in a bad storm. Upon being told that the pilot has bailed (whether that means he abandoned the plane or succumbed to motion sickness is left unclear), then-President Bill Clinton asks who's flying the plane. The answer: Everyone. In that everyone left on the plane was fighting over the wheel.
- Later that episode, after Freakazoid alters history by averting the Pearl Harbor attack, we see the same situation unfold, only with The Brain as the President of the United States. Much like a similar incident in his own show, Pinky took the wheel.
- Futurama plays with this without even asking the question. In Benderama, Bender creates two smaller clones of himself. During the obligatory montage showing all the fun the three of them are having, one shot shows Bender riding a three-seat bicycle, reclining with his feet up in the air (not on the pedals). Behind him is one of his clones, also in the same reclining pose. Behind HIM is the other clone, also reclining. A couple seconds after it's made clear nobody's actually pedaling or steering, the bike loses balance and the three of them crash.
- The Ren & Stimpy Show: The episode "Road Apples" has Ren, Stimpy and their owners sleeping in a large bed in their RV. Ren hangs it:
Ren: Wait, if everyone's asleep...THEN WHO'S DRIVING THE R.V.!?!?!?
- Happens in an episode of Jackie Chan Adventures when Jade knocks out the pilot of a plane and has to take the wheel.
- Parodied in an episode of King of the Hill, where Dale (while driving) suggests that everyone take off their shirt. Including himself. Hank has to grab the steering wheel, leading to:
Dale: Wait, Hank. If you're driving...then who's taking off your shirt?!
- The New Scooby-Doo Movies episode "The Ghost Of The Red Baron" (with the Three Stooges) has the Baron sending Velma airborne in a biplane. She doesn't know how to operate it and is flying around the airfield wildly.
- At least one episode of Uncle Grandpa had one of these involving the UGRV.
- There is an Urban Legend / Darwin Awards / Stella Award about various people who have gotten out of the driver's seat on an RV thinking that the Cruise Control was a form of autopilot.
- Similarly, there is a joke about a bus driver crashing his vehicle, and explaining to the inspector that he can't say what happened because at the time he was upstairs collecting passengers' fares.note