Who Put You In the Driver’s Seat?

The reason we left Scotland and started our nomadic life (of sorts) is because my late husband worked for an international car rental company whose tag line was”Let Hertz put you in the driver’s seat.”  Are you old enough to remember this?  Click here for an ad of the times.

Hertz ad

Hertz advertisement early 1960s

Because of this my family used the phrase ‘who put you in the driver’s seat?” when somebody was being bossy or trying to lay down the law.  Do you have phrases and comments peculiar to your family?

And when thinking of this it came to me that the men in our family Always want to be in the driver’s seat when driving the car.  When my husband was alive he always picked up the car keys when we were leaving the house – even if the keys were to my car.  Once he had his license my son assumed that he would drive us if his father were not around.

My son and son-in-law do the same thing still.  And this week, my grandson picked up my car keys.  But he didn’t get to drive as my car isn’t insured for anybody under 25.

I wondered whether this was a male thing generally or just peculiar to our family.

When I queried several friends they agreed that this was what happens in their families.  So why I have to ask myself.  And have no answer.

  • Do men think nobody else capable of driving?
  • Do they think we can’t find our way, with or without a map/satnav?
  • Does it give them a feeling of power?

Perhaps you have an answer.

“If everything comes your way
You are in the wrong lane”  Unknown.


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26 responses to “Who Put You In the Driver’s Seat?

  1. I always drive our car…I only let my husband drive if he is going somewhere without me OR in the case that I am feeling so bad that I can’t drive, which is pretty much NEVER. 🙂
    He willingly lets me drive, too….I LOVE to drive and he knows better than to refuse to let me!

  2. I can drive. But, I was spoiled by my employers who provided me with a chauffeur in 1973, and till I finally retired in 2002, I always had a paid driver to drive me around. I would drive only when I had to do some errand close by or when someone to drive me around was not available. Now, my son drives me around and if he is not around, I generally hire a temp for the duration of my need. I have no problems not being in the driving seat, literally and metaphorically.

    • I think it would be great to have a driver. Now that I do all the driving and have to find parking spots, etc I would really appreciate my husband or my son doing the driving.

  3. Ha, I think men being in the driver’s seat is very much like them wanting the remote control! I found it kind of funny this weekend when my youngest son and his girlfriend were visiting…he let her have control of the remote…I told her to enjoy it because it probably won’t last forever (I remember the struggles between him, his brother, and dad over it; needless to say, I almost never had it!)

  4. Maybe women just like to be chauffered around . . . because they have better things to think about than traffic? :lol::

  5. First a confession–I remember the ad.

    I don’t have an answer to your question but I know that in American society women drivers have been much-maligned all my life. I’m happy to say that among the younger people today this seems to be changing. My daughters and their spouses tend to share the driving equally for the most part. And I was discussing with friends last night how young fathers these days know how to change diapers and nurture children in a way that was almost nonexistent when my babies were born. Good changes for all concerned!

  6. Whenever we all went somewhere together, My brother and I would always fight to sit in the front. Of course, my mom always won out because she would end up in the front. As I got older, I would get nauseous sitting in the back as would my brother, but by that time, neither of us went anywhere together at the same time, so we got to sit in the front seat anyway.
    Oh, I do remember the ad. Am I dating myself here?
    But nobody ever just grabbed the keys. Dad always had them in his pocket or mom had hers in her purse. So grabbing wasn’t an issue.

    • The age old cry of who will sit in the front seat. And now of course we know how dangerous that front passenger seat is. My grandchildren always sit in the back.

  7. Yes, they all assume they will always be the driver, just like they always assume they were divinely appointed to hold the remote.
    It is infuriating.

  8. My mother never drove, so Dad always did the driving. When I married and we moved away, we shared the driving on road trips back home. Around town, it could be either of us. If hubby has worked all day, I usually volunteer to drive. As to the remote, it’s all his!

  9. My husband does the driving – and hogs the remote, too. I’m okay with him driving when we’re together because I don’t like dealing with traffic anyway (I drive fifty miles a day just to go to work – that’s enough :)) I would like to have the TV remote, though.

  10. All of the above and some… So it doesn’t surprise me either. 🙂

  11. Because of some health issues my husband cannot drive right now. But of course he is still sort of driving. I haven’t received so much instruction since driver’s ed. The other day, on the way to my mother’s, he said, “Turn left here.” Good thing he told me, because I was unsure of where my mother lived!

  12. My grandmother didn’t know how to drive. I think back in the day – it was common for the woman to not know how to drive. Hence the man did all the driving. And, women – well, women took the backseat. Literally and figuratively.

    In my family – it depended on the car. If my parents were taking the car my Mom used, the she would drive. Actually, I just assume that is the case. I am trying to visualize my Mom driving while my Dad was in the car… Gosh, Judith. I honestly don’t remember.

    Two phrases that are repeated in our house by everyone (including my Mom) are:
    “Drive carefully”, whenever anyone leaves, regardless if there is a car involved. And, “Thanks for calling.” Which is typically said by the person who DID the calling. We’re a wise family, can you tell?

    • Oh a very wise family. And there is another phrase posed by my sisters and me a la my Jewish mother – ‘Have you eaten?’ regardless of the time.
      And thinking back my Mother didn’t drive so it was always father. 🙂

  13. Must be a strange feeling having your grandson pick up your car keys! My granddaughter will be there in three years. Oh, no! I do not enjoy driving, so my husband always drives when we’re together. He would be delighted to have me do some of the driving, but he doesn’t mind sitting in the driver’s seat. My sister-in-law always drives my brother-in-law, so I think it goes both ways, though I think you’re right about more men than women want to be the driver.

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