Idiom:  asleep at the wheel


Idiom:  asleep at the wheel

  • not paying attention to problems or something that's important
  • failing to fulfill one's duties

Note:  This idiom alludes to the danger and problems that can happen if a driver of a car, bus or other vehicle falls asleep (at the steering wheel) while driving.

Example sentences

  • We're out of photocopier toner and paper and I need to print a report. Whoever's ordering office supplies is asleep at the wheel.
  • I fired my secretary because she fell asleep at the wheel and forgot to purchase my ticket to Friday's conference so I had to buy one at the last minute for $3,500.
  • My 85-year-old mother's doctor has been asleep at the wheel monitoring her medications so now I have to go to every appointment with her.
  • Be careful not to fall asleep at the wheel with your taxes or you could have serious problems down the road.
  • The environmental safety department was asleep at the wheel and failed to enforce the clean water standards the government set.
  • I was asleep at the wheel and forgot to renew my insurance.
  • There will be an investigation into why maintenance were asleep at the wheel and didn't ensure fire extinguishers were serviced annually.


  • asleep on the job
  • out of it
  • out to lunch
  • like an absent-minded professor

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Your turn to use the idiom "asleep at the wheel"

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