Donald: Yeah, who's driving?!
Goofy: (sitting at the table with them, eating popcorn) Why, I'm driving!
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.
- 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 supposed to.
- 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?!
- Maybe You Can Hire Your Family (a Stargate-verse / The A-Team crossover and sequel to The Family Team): At one point, three of the four A-Team members (including an unconscious BA) are in the back of their plane, when their pilot Murdock comes back to join them. Face's immediate reaction: "If you're our pilot, who's flying the plane?" The "cue the crash" part of the trope, however, is subverted when Murdock explains that he let his nephew Daniel Jackson, who's also a capable pilot, take over.
- Three More Things! (a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic / Jackie Chan Adventures crossover): The conclusion of the ''And He Does His Own Stunts" arc has all five human characters (Jackie, Jade, Uncle, Tohru and Viper) and the Cutie Mark Crusaders in the back of their vehicle, when Viper suddenly wonders who's driving. Cut to a shot of Apple Bloom's pet, the magically mutated Venus Flytrap Audrey III, wearing a cowboy hat and mustache and singing "On the Road Again" as he steers them through traffic.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Fred tells Shaggy to drive the Mystery Machine while he and the girls try to fend off the Pterodactyl Ghost chasing them.
Fred: This is bad!Shaggy: No doubt.Fred: Shaggy?Shaggy: Yeah?Fred: Who's driving?Shaggy: Uh...(the gang looks behind and notices that Scooby is the only one sitting in front)
- Variation: In It's 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.
- In Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues the news team are driving to New York in a van, and talking and laughing. When Brian asks Ron if he was supposed to be driving, and Ron explains he has cruise control on. Brian then explains that isn't how cruise control works and they crash.
- A non-comedic example in Thirteen Women. When Burns sees the police car behind him, he bails out of the limousine and leaves Laura trapped in the speeding car. Sgt. Clive has to jump from car to the other to steer the limo off the road.note
- 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 Luke's on the guns, too, thanks to the Force.
- 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.
- 8-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)"
- I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space does a spoof of The Main Characters Do Everything trope in sci-fi with the rocketship crashing into a planet moments after someone asks this question during a crew conference.
- In Slightly Damned, after a battle against demons in the back of a wagon, Rhea points out that if the enemies are on the ground unconscious, and her allies are in the back talking, that means there's nobody driving.
- Happens to a speedboat in Almost Naked Animals in the episode where Howie runs into his Imaginary Friend.
- 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.
- 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?!"
- Played with in the sixth episode (Homecoming: A Shot in D'Arc) of Clone High when Gandhi and Attila the Hun attempt to kidnap a rival high school's mascot. After the duo drag the mascot into the back of Attila's van and drive off Gandhi calls Attila away from driving to help him remove the costume by force. Upon undoing the mascot's zipper a pile of internal organs fall out and the following exchange occurs:
Gandhi: Oh my God! This isn't a kid in a costume, it's a living thing!
(Gandhi and Attila both scream)
Gandhi: Oh my God! He was genetically engineered with a zipper!
(Gandhi and Attila both scream)
Gandhi: Oh my God! Who's driving the van!?
(Everyone screams as the scene cuts to the exterior of the van, which stops at an intersection and signals before making a left-hand turn.)
- Codename: Kids Next Door:
Numbuh 1: Tell Numbuh 4 to turn the truck around.
- In the first episode, 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 Numbuh 4 goes to Numbuh 1, who are on top of the truck, to tell him this:
Numbuh 4: I am Numbuh 4.
Numbuh 1: Then who's 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.)
- 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:
Numbuh 1: Numbuh 5, find the nearest item on the list! 3 and 4, prep all weapons so we're ready for anything! And Numbuh 2...Numbuh 2: Yes, sir?
- In the series finale "Operation: INTERVIEWS," Number 1 starts to feel depressed while they're in one of their flying machines, and his teammates rally around him to give him a successful pep talk. Number 1 immediately springs into action giving everyone their orders.
- 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)
- 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 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 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.
- Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: Occurs many times on the bus. Yumi hangs it in "Number Please".
- Happens in an episode of Jackie Chan Adventures when Jade knocks out the pilot of a plane and has to take the wheel.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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?!
- My Gym Partner's a Monkey: "Slips, if you're here, then who's flying the plane?" Cue the inevitable crash.
- 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!
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- The end of the Snooper and Blabber cartoon "The Lion Is Busy" has Snagglepuss driving Snooper's car after Snooper and the Major are left handcuffed to each other at the adventurer's club. When Snooper's secretary Hazel tries to radio him:
Hazel: Hazel to Snoop. Hazel to Snoop.
Snagglepuss: Snagglepuss to Hazel. Snooper's not available. He's having tea with the Major.
Hazel: (surprised) Well! Who are you?
Snagglepuss: If I told you, you'd think I was a-lion...and you'd be right! Ta-ta!
- Star Wars Rebels: "Fire Across the Galaxy" has a variant: After the crew has been successfully rescued from Mustafar by Chopper, the Ghost, and some Rebel reinforcements, Ezra has a question: Since Chopper was flying the stolen Imperial transport, who was flying the Ghost? The answer turns out to be Fulcrum herself, Ahsoka Tano.
- 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.
- Happens when Chef decides to join Chris in the main body of the plane during Total Drama World Tour.
- Has occurred more than once on Totally Spies!.
Sam: Uh, girls? Since we knocked the pilot unconscious, who is flying this plane now?
- At least one episode of Uncle Grandpa had one of these involving the UGRV.
- 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.
- There is an Urban Legend / Darwin Award / 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
- There was a case of three men holding up a jewelry shop, running out with the loot and piling into the getaway car, yelling "Drive!", only to realize all three were in the back, and arrested shortly thereafter.