Signs for DRIVE

"How do you say 'drive' in American Sign Language?" Whether you mean to move one's car or vehicle or someone drives you crazy, they are different words in ASL.

ASL signs for "drive"

The verb "drive" is a base. In sentences, the verb can be inflected in agreement with the subject, object, and/or pronoun. The verb can be modified to convey different subtle meanings, such as a long road trip, to hurriedly drive, and many others. Here is a few base signs.

Definition: To operate and control the direction and speed of a motor vehicle.

Pronunciation (sign description): Two "S" hands or fists with palms facing signer held apart in space moves up and down alternately few times. Think of a steering wheel as a mnemonic.

For learners, don't confuse this similar sign with CAR (one of variations).

Usage examples: "just bought a new car", "who will go by car?".

Related signs: NAVIGATE, STEER.

Opposite: WALK.

Grammar-wise, this verb should be appropriately inflected, depending on the referential structure in a sentence. E.g. I drive from [place] to [place].

Meaning: To drive a long journey (long distance) on road.

Usage/context examples: "we went for a drive in the country".


Related signs: distracted driving, DRIVER, VEHICLE, HIGHWAY (also FREEWAY and EXPRESSWAY), PASSENGER.

Idiomatic "drive someone crazy"

For other meanings, use different signed words in contexts. For example, for the English phrase "drive someone crazy", use AFFECT, CAUSE or MAKE, depending on contexts.

Deaf Studies

Can Deaf people drive? Did you know that Deaf people are generally safer drivers?


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Written ASL

[Note: ASL writing is not an official standard. This sign language writing remains in a state of open space to allow room for experiment, evolution, and improvement.]

ASL written for DRIVE

Written ASL digit for "DRIVE" contributed by Jolanta in the ASLwrite community, 2018.

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