behind the wheel

idiomatic phrase

: in the act of driving
I was nervous my first time behind the wheel.
He urged drivers to stop and rest if they feel tired behind the wheel.Yaron Steinbuch
… will start enforcing a requirement for commercial truck drivers travelling between provinces to track their hours behind the wheelKarina Zapata

Examples of behind the wheel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But the benefit isn’t just big numbers on the spec sheet; the vehicle’s driving dynamics impart confidence and a sense of supreme control behind the wheel. Sean Evans, Robb Report, 25 Nov. 2023 Cops always can tell when a billionaire is behind the wheel. Nick Canepa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Nov. 2023 Jose Luis Macias, 25, was slumped behind the wheel. Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times, 25 Nov. 2023 Haddish fell asleep behind the wheel in the middle of Beverly Drive, TMZ reported, around 5:45 a.m. Pat Saperstein, Variety, 24 Nov. 2023 The responsibility of the driver Henri Paul, 41, was the deputy head of security for the Ritz hotel in Paris and the man behind the wheel of the Mercedes S280 that crashed into the 13th pillar in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris. Karla Adam, Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2023 Jury selection for the lone remaining suspect, who prosecutors said was behind the wheel when Frickey died, got underway after the three girls' guilty pleas were entered. CBS News, 21 Nov. 2023 The Grammy-winning rapper allegedly was behind the wheel of a Dodge Charger in June 2019 when the muscle car slammed into the rear of another man’s vehicle on a ramp of the 110 freeway in Los Angeles. Nancy Dillon, Rolling Stone, 14 Nov. 2023 All those thousands of miles behind the wheel of his car in pursuit of his vision showed Strachwitz an America nobody else saw. Joel Selvin, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'behind the wheel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1906, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of behind the wheel was in 1906

Dictionary Entries Near behind the wheel

Cite this Entry

“Behind the wheel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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