A Guide to Trucker Lingo & Slang
CB Radio is how truckers communicate with one another on the open road. If you turn one on and tune, you may be confused from all the trucker slang you hear. Here is a list of various terms CB radio lingo and trucker slang use on the road.
All locked up – The weigh station is closed.
Anteater – Kenworth T-600; this truck was so-named because of its sloped hood, and was one of the first trucks with an aerodynamic design. Also known as an aardvark.
Alligator – A piece of tire on the road, usually a recap from a blown tire, which can look like an alligator lying on the road. These alligators are hazards that are to be avoided, if possible. If you run over them, they can “bite you” — bounce back up and do damage to hoses or belts, fuel crossover lines, or to the body of your tractor. They can also bounce up and go towards another vehicle, possibly causing an accident. A baby alligator is a small piece of tire, and alligator bait is several small tire pieces. Sometimes simply called a “gator”.
Back door – Something behind you. “There’s a bear at your back door”.
Back it down – Slow down.
Backed out of it – No longer able to maintain speed, necessitating a need to downshift. When a truck’s climbing a steep incline, and for whatever reason, the driver has to let up off of the accelerator, he’ll lose whatever momentum he had and have to downshift. “I’m backed out of it now, I’ll have to get over into the slow lane.”
Back row – The last rows of parking in a truck stop, often a hangout for prostitutes (see “lot lizards”).
Bambi – A deer.
Base station or unit – A powerful CB radio set in a stationary location.
Bear – A law enforcement officer at any level, but usually a State Trooper, Highway Patrol.
Bear bait – A speeding vehicle, usually a four-wheeler, which can be used to protect the other speeding vehicles behind it.
Bear bite – A speeding ticket.
Bear den or bear cave – Law enforcement headquarters, station.
Bear in the air – A law enforcement aircraft which can be monitoring the traffic and speeds below.
Bear in the bushes – Law enforcement (at any level) is hiding somewhere, probably with a radar gun aimed at traffic.
Billy Big Rigger – Another term for “supertrucker”; one who brags about himself, or his big, fast, shiny truck.
Bingo cards – These cards held stamps from each state a motor carrier would operate in; these cards are no longer used and have been replaced by the Single State Registration System (SSRS).
Bedbugger – Can refer to a household moving company or the household mover himself.
Big R – A Roadway truck.
Big road – Usually refers to the Interstate, sometimes any big highway.
Big truck – An 18-wheeler or tractor-trailer. “Come on over, big truck”.
Bird dog – A radar detector.
Big word – Closed, when referring to weigh stations. There is often a big sign preceding the weigh station indicating whether the station is open or closed, in bright lights. From a distance, you can’t tell what the word says, but you can usually tell whether it’s a big word or small word. So, when you hear “the big word is out”, you’ll know that the weigh station is closed.
Black eye – A headlight out. “Driver going eastbound, you’ve got a black eye”.
Bobtail – Driving the tractor only, without the trailer attached.
Boogie – The top gear (the highest gear) of the transmission.
Boulevard – The Interstate.
Brake check – There is a traffic tie-up ahead, which will require immediate slowing down or stopping. “You’ve gotta brake check ahead of you, eastbound”.
Break – If the radio’s busy, saying “break-number” is the proper way to gain access to the channel and begin talking.
Breaking up – Your signal is weak or fading. Brush your teeth and comb your hair – Be on your best driving behavior (usually means a cop is out and about looking for people to give tickets).
Bubba – What you call another driver, often in a kidding way.
Bulldog – A Mack truck.
Bullfrog – An ABF truck.
Bull hauler – A livestock hauler.
Bumper sticker – A vehicle that’s tailgating. Sometimes called a “hitchhiker“.
Bundled out – Loaded heavy, or to maximum capacity.
Buster Brown – A UPS truck or driver.
Cabbage – A steep mountain grade in Oregon.
Cabover – Abbreviated term for Cab-Over-the Engine (COE) type of tractor (no longer commonly used in the United States).
Cash register – A tollbooth.
Checking ground pressure – The weigh station is open, and they’re running trucks across the scales (see “running you across”).
Chicken coop – A weigh station, often called just a “coop”.
Chicken lights – Extra lights a trucker has on his truck and trailer.
Chicken hauler or truck – A big, fancy truck; a large, conventional tractor with a lot of lights and chrome. Also, one who hauls live chickens.
Comedian – The median strip in between opposite lanes of traffic.
Container – Refers to an overseas container; intermodal transportation.
Come-a-part engine – Cummins engine.
Come back – An invitation for the other driver to talk. Sometimes used when you couldn’t hear the last transmission, “comeback, I didn’t hear you”.
Come on – Telling another driver that you hear him calling you, and to go ahead and talk. “Yeah driver, come on”.
Comic book – The logbook.
Commercial company – A prostitute.
Convoy – A group of trucks traveling together.
Copy – Transmission acknowledged, agreed with, or understood, as in “that’s a copy, driver”.
Cornflake – Refers to a Consolidated Freightways truck.
County Mountie – County police, often a sheriff’s deputy.
Covered wagon – Flatbed type of trailer, with sidewalls, and a tarp.
Crackerhead – A derogatory term; insult.
Crotch rocket – A motorcycle built for speed; not a Harley-Davidson.
Deadhead – Pulling an empty trailer.
Destruction – Road construction.
Diesel car – A semi-tractor.
Diesel cop – A DOT, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officer.
Donkey – Behind you. “A bear is on your donkey”.
Do what? – I didn’t hear or understand you.
Double nickel – 55 mph, considered the optimal balance between speed and fuel efficiency.
Doubles – A set of double trailers.
Drawing lines – Completing your logbook
Driver – What drivers call other drivers on the CB, especially if their CB handle is not known.
Driving award – A speeding ticket.
Downstroke – Driving downwards, downhill, on a decline.
Dragon wagon – A tow truck.
Dragonfly – A truck with no power, especially going uphill.
Dry box – An unrefrigerated freight trailer. Also considered a dry van.
18-wheeler – Any tractor-trailer.
85th Street – Interstate 85.
Evil Knievel – A law enforcement officer on a motorcycle.
Eyeball – To see something.
Feeding the bears – Paying a ticket or citation.
Fingerprint – To unload a trailer by yourself.
Flip-flop – Refers to a U-turn, or a return trip.
FM – An AM-FM radio.
42 – Yes, or OK.
Four-letter word – Open; referring to weigh stations being open or closed.
4-wheeler – Any passenger vehicle; cars or pickups.
Freight shaker – A Freightliner truck.
Front door – In front of you.
Full-grown bear – State Trooper, or Highway Patrol.
Garbage hauler – A produce load or produce haulers.
Gear Jammer – A driver who speeds up and slows down with great frequency.
General mess of crap – A GMC truck
Georgia overdrive – Putting the transmission into neutral on a downgrade, to go extremely fast. Not recommended!
Go-go juice – Diesel fuel.
Good buddy – This used to be the thing to say: “10-4, good buddy”. Not anymore, as this is now calling someone a homosexual.
Good neighbor – Usually used when you’re showing appreciation to another driver, as in “thank you, good neighbor”.
Got my nightgown on – I’m in the sleeper, and ready to go to sleep.
Go to company – When you tell another driver from your company to go to the designated company CB channel. Drivers do this so that they can talk about company business or personal matters without monopolizing channel 19.
Go to the Harley – Turn your CB to channel 1.
Got your ears on? – Are you listening?
Gouge on it – Go fast, put the throttle to the floor, step on it, etc.
Granny lane – The right, slower lane on a multi-lane highway, or the Interstate.
Greasy – Icy, or slippery.
Greasy side up – A vehicle that’s flipped over.
Green Stamps – Money.
Grossed out – Your gross vehicle weight is at maximum capacity; commonly 80,000 pounds.
Ground pressure – The weight of your truck, as in “the scale’s testing your ground pressure”.
Gumball machine – The lights on top of a patrol car.
Hammer down – Go fast, step on it.
Hammer lane – The left, passing lane of traffic.
Hand/Han – What a driver sometimes calls another driver. Stems from the term farmhand, and means helper, or fellow worker.
Handle (CB handle) – The FCC encourages the use of CB handles. CB handles are nicknames that are used to identify the speaker, in place of an actual name. A driver often selects a handle that he feels reflects his personality or describes his way of driving.
Happy happy – Happy new year; “Have a happy happy, driver”.
Having “shutter trouble” – Having trouble keeping awake.
Ho Chi Minh Trail – Refers to California Highway 152, known for its abundance of accidents.
Holler – Call me on the radio, as in “give me a holler when you get back”.
Home 20 – A driver’s home location.
How ’bout – When you’re trying to contact other drivers, you can say “how ’bout you, eastbound?”.
Hood – A conventional tractor, as opposed to a cab-over.
Hundred dollar lane/High dollar lane – In certain heavily populated areas, trucks will be prohibited from driving in the far left lane, with a heavy fine for violators. This term refers to that prohibited lane.
Jackpot – The same as a gumball machine. A patrol car’s lights.
Key down – When you talk over somebody who’s trying to transmit. A bigger, more powerful radio can easily drown out a lesser one.
Key up – Pushing the transmit button on the CB Mike. “Key up for about 20 minutes, and tell me how bad you are”.
In my back pocket – Behind you; a place you’ve passed.
In the big hole – The top gear of the transmission.
K-whopper – A Kenworth tractor, or just KW.
Kojak with a Kodak – Law enforcement using a radar gun.
Landline – A stationary telephone; not a cellular phone (not exactly slang but newer truckers might be confused by it).
Large car – A conventional tractor, often with a big sleeper, lots of chrome and lights, etc.
Left Coast – The West Coast.
Local information – A driver asks for local information when he needs directions in the area he’s unfamiliar with.
Local-yokel – A county, city, or small-town officer.
Lollipop – The small reflector or marker poles on the sides of the highway.
Lot lizard – A prostitute that solicits truck-to-truck in a truck stop or rest area.
Lumper – Casual labor that loads or unloads your trailer, often requiring payment in cash.
Mama-bear – Refers to a female law enforcement officer.
Male buffalo – A male prostitute.
Mash your motor – Go fast, step on it. Same as gouge on it and hammer down.
Meat wagon – An ambulance.
Merry merry – Merry Christmas.
Motion lotion – Diesel fuel.
Moving on – Heading down the road.
Mud duck – A weak radio signal.
Negatory – Negative or no.
95th Street – Interstate 95.
On the side – On standby.
Parking lot – An auto transporter, often used when the trailer is empty.
Pay the water bill – Taking a bathroom break.
Pickle park – A rest area frequented by lot lizards (prostitutes).
Pigtail – The electrical connection from the tractor to the trailer. Named for its curliness.
Plain wrapper – An unmarked law enforcement vehicle, usually said with color added as a description: “you’ve got a plain brown wrapper on your back door”.
Plenty of protection – Usually means there’s plenty of police in the area, might also be used to tell drivers to go ahead and step on it because there’s speeding four-wheelers ahead blocking or covering for them.
Pogo stick – Usually, a metal, flexible support located on the tractor catwalk, that holds up the connections to the trailer.
Power up – Go faster, speed up.
Preeshaydit – Appreciate it.
Pumpkin – A Schneider truck, because of its orange color.
Radio – A CB radio. Radio check – How’s my radio working, transmitting, getting out there.
Rambo – Someone who talks tough on the radio, especially when no one else knows where they are.
Ratchet jaw – Someone who talks a lot on the radio, while keying-up the whole time and not letting anyone else get a chance to talk.
Reading the mail – Not talking; just listening to the radio.
Reefer – Usually refers to refrigerated van trailer, but sometimes just to the reefer unit itself.
Rest-a-ree-a – Rest area.
Road pizza – Roadkill on the side of the road.
Rockin’ chair – A truck that’s in the middle of two other trucks.
Roger – Yes; affirmative.
Roger beep – An audible beep that sounds when a person has un-keyed the mike and finished his transmission. Used on only a small percentage of radios.
Roller skate – Any small car.
Rooster cruiser – A big, fancy truck; a large, conventional tractor with a lot of lights and chrome.
Runnin’ you across – The weigh station is open, and they’re weighing trucks, probably in a quick fashion.
Salt shaker – The road maintenance vehicles that dump salt or sand on the highways in the winter.
Sandbagging – To listen to the radio without talking; also “readin’ the mail”.
Sandbox – An escape ramp, which sometimes uses sand to stop vehicles.
Schneider eggs – The orange cones in construction areas.
Seat cover – Sometimes used to describe drivers or passengers of four-wheelers.
Sesame Street – Channel 19 on the CB, named as such because everyone lives there.
Shaky – California in general, sometimes Los Angeles, and, occasionally, San Francisco.
Shiny side up – Your vehicle hasn’t flipped over after a rollover or accident. “Keep the shiny side up” means to have a safe trip.
Shooting you in the back – You’re being shot with a radar gun as your vehicle passes a law enforcement vehicle.
Short short – A short amount of time.
Shutdown – Put out of service by the DOT because of some violation.
Sleeper Creeper – A prostitute; same as a lot lizard.
Skateboard – A flatbed, or flatbed trailer.
Skins – Tires.
Smokin’ scooter – A law enforcement officer on a motorcycle.
Smokin’ the brakes – The trailer brakes are smoking from overuse down a mountain grade.
Smokey or Smokey Bear – A law enforcement officer, usually highway patrol.
Split – A junction, where the road goes in separate directions.
Spy in the sky – A law enforcement aircraft, same as a “bear in the air”.
Stagecoach – A tour bus.
Stand on it – Step on it, go faster.
Swinging – Carrying a load of swinging meat.
Taking pictures – Law enforcement using a radar gun.
10-4 – OK, message received. Some drivers just say “10”.
Thermos bottle – A tanker trailer.
Through the woods – Leaving the Interstate to travel secondary roads.
Throwin’ iron – To put on snow tire chains.
Too many eggs in the basket – Overweight load or gross weight.
Toothpicks – A load of lumber.
Travel agent – The dispatcher, or sometimes a broker.
Triple digits – Over 100 mph.
VW – A Volvo-White tractor.
Wagon – Some drivers refer to their trailer as a wagon.
Walked on you – Drowned out your transmission by keying up at the same time.
Wally world – Wal-Mart (the store or the distribution center), or a Wal-Mart truck.
West Coast turnarounds – Uppers; speed or benzedrine pills; the idea is that a driver can drive from the East Coast to the West Coast, and back again without having to sleep. Obviously illegal.
Wiggle wagons – A set of double or triple trailers.
Yard – A company terminal, drop a lot, etc.
Yardstick – A mile marker on the highway.
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