Is there no a specific verb in English for "going by a vehicle" like there is in some languages*? In some languages (especially Russian and Ukrainian, Albanian and Hebrew) there's a word that is specific for those who are going by a vehicle -whether they're the drivers or the passengers or even the car by itself.

For example:

  • I'm going now on the way.

  • "Imagine a car going on the way and then it stops gently."

Are "hitchhike", "trek", "swan off" commonly used in that sense?

  • other languageswhich other languages? I know Russian has a large number of 'movement' related verbs.
    – Glorfindel
    Nov 29, 2018 at 9:32
  • For example: Russian (=ехать), Ukrainian (їхати), I was told also in Hebrew (לנסוע). Nov 29, 2018 at 9:43
  • Your question doesn't make sense. You ask for a word that means "going by a vehicle" yet in your example sentence the subject of the verb going is "car". How can a car go by a vehicle? (I hope no one will say "on a car-carrier".) The phrase by a vehicle refers to a vehicle as the mode or means of travel. They went by camel into the desert. Do you mean as a vehicle? Are you asking for a word to describe what a car does?
    – TimR
    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:24
  • I added a new example and edited the question to make it understood. Nov 29, 2018 at 10:39
  • Now are you asking for a verb for what a passenger or driver does? The sentence you added has a person ("I") as the subject of the verb.
    – TimR
    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:39

2 Answers 2


If you are looking for a verb to refer to what a car does (as it moves along the road):

The car motored down the highway.

The car rolled along.

The car sped off into the sunset.

The car trundled down the bumpy dirt road.

We can also use these verbs for what a driver of a car (and/or passenger in the car) does:

I | we motored down the highway in my new car.

I | we rolled along in my car.

I | we sped off into the sunset in my new Mercedes.

I | we trundled down the bumpy dirt road in my old jalopy.


I | we drove down the highway.

If you're looking for a generic verb that can be used of passenger and driver alike:

We rode along in silence.

You can even use the verb ride transitively with the road as the direct object:

We like to ride the highway in silence.

We like to ride the highway with the radio blaring and the windows rolled down.

  • Thank you. I edited the question and added an example to make it more understood, because according to your answer I saw that you understand my question a little bit differently from what I asked. Nov 29, 2018 at 10:40
  • B.t.w. What's about the passive form of "We are driven now by a car / bus / train" or "They were driven by a car / bus / train"? How does it sounds for the native English speaker ears? Dec 1, 2018 at 8:48
  • The vehicle does not do the driving, so that passive form with by a car is not idiomatic. But you can say They were driven there by car. meaning that someone (who is not mentioned) took them to that location with a car. The absence of the article in by car indicates a mode, here a mode of transport, as in by train, by wagon, by ship, etc
    – TimR
    Dec 1, 2018 at 9:19
  • Thank you. Can I ask how you personally would say that you use a car for you travel from home to the university for example: "I'm going by car now so I can't talk now." or "When I went to the university - by bus, I saw something interesting on the way." Would you say it that way? Dec 1, 2018 at 9:45
  • For the first: I'm driving now and can't talk. For the second: On my way to the university I saw something interesting or When I was riding the bus to work I saw something interesting. or When I was taking the bus to work ... or When I was on the bus I saw something interesting
    – TimR
    Dec 1, 2018 at 9:50

Drive performs this function in English, it can be used both for persons

2 a : to operate a vehicle
// learned to drive at the age of seventeen
b : to have oneself carried in a vehicle
// drove to Canada as a kid

(source: Merriam-Webster)

and for the vehicles themselves:

  1. To move along or advance quickly: We could hear the trucks driving along the highway.

(source: The Free Dictionary)

For some persons/vehicles, ride works as well:

1 a: to travel on
// ride a bike
// ride the bus

(source: Merriam-Webster)

but, as Tᴚoɯɐuo notes in the comments, we do not ride a car; we ride in a car.

Your examples would become:

  • I'm driving/riding on the way now.

  • Imagine a car driving down the way, and then it stops gently.

Words like "hitchhike", "trek", "swan off" have very specific meanings and are never used in a general sense.

  • "Drive" performs it in English even if I'm not the driver, like in other languages? As for your last paragraph, in other language the specific word is used for both: for the car and for the people who are inside. Nov 29, 2018 at 9:30
  • Yes, it's less common but I found another dictionary entry to support this.
    – Glorfindel
    Nov 29, 2018 at 9:39
  • Ok, thank you. What's about the other words that I brought in my question? (I took them from google translate as translated words for my request.) Nov 29, 2018 at 9:46
  • Those have very specific meanings, e.g. hitchhiking when you're trying to get a free ride.
    – Glorfindel
    Nov 29, 2018 at 9:55
  • We ride in a car. There, ride is intransitive.
    – TimR
    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:14

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