Truck Driving Jobs

A Guide to Truck Driver Slang


Whether you’re a newbie hitting the open road or a seasoned veteran clocking in the miles, there’s one thing every trucker knows: communication is key. And what better way to stay connected than through the colorful world of trucker slang and CB radio chatter? Strap in and buckle up because we’re about to dive into the fascinating world of trucker talk!

CB Radio: Where It All Begins

Before we delve into the wild world of trucker slang, let’s take a quick pit stop to appreciate the humble CB radio. Back in the day, CB (or Citizens Band) radios were the lifeline for truckers, providing a means of communication for everything from traffic updates to swapping stories and even finding the best diners along the route. Communicating on the CB radio is a valuable trucker skill and important part of the truck driver lifestyle.

In the era before smartphones and GPS, the CB radio was the ultimate social network for truckers. It connected drivers across miles of asphalt, creating a tight-knit community known for its camaraderie and colorful language. And speaking of language, let’s rev up our engines and explore some classic trucker lingo!

Trucker Slang A to Z Translated:

All locked up – The weigh station is closed.

Alligator – A piece of tire on the road, often from a blown tire, dangerous to hit.

Back door – Something behind you, like “There’s a bear at your back door.”

Back it down – Slow down.

Backed out of it – Couldn’t maintain speed, had to downshift.

Back row – Last rows of parking at a truck stop.

Base station or unit – A powerful stationary CB radio.

Bear – A law enforcement officer, usually a State Trooper.

Bear bite – A speeding ticket.

Bear den or bear cave – Law enforcement headquarters.

Bear in the air – A law enforcement aircraft monitoring traffic.

Bear in the bushes – Hidden law enforcement with a radar gun.

Bingo cards – Old stamps from each state a carrier operated in.

Big road – Usually the Interstate.

Bird dog – A radar detector.

Black eye – A headlight out.

Bobtail – Driving the tractor only.

Boogie – The top gear.

Boulevard – The Interstate.

Brake check – Traffic tie-up ahead.

Break – Gain access to a busy channel.

Breaking up – Weak signal.

Bulldog – A Mack truck.

Bull hauler – A livestock hauler.

Bumper sticker – A tailgating vehicle.

Bundled out – Loaded heavy.

Cash register – A tollbooth.

Checking ground pressure – Weigh station is open.

Chicken coop – Weigh station.

Chicken lights – Extra truck and trailer lights.

Chicken hauler or truck – Flashy truck or chicken transporter.

Comedian – The median strip.

Container – Overseas shipping container.

Come back – Invite for another driver to talk.

Come on – Response to another driver.

Convoy – Group of trucks traveling together.

Copy – Transmission understood.

County Mountie – County police.

Covered wagon – Flatbed trailer with sidewalls.

Crotch rocket – A fast motorcycle.

Deadhead – Pulling an empty trailer.

Destruction – Road construction.

Donkey – Behind you.

Double nickel – 55 mph.

Doubles – Double trailers.

Drawing lines – Completing your logbook.

Driving award – A speeding ticket.

Downstroke – Driving downhill.

Dragon wagon – A tow truck.

Dragonfly – A slow truck.

Dry box – Unrefrigerated trailer.

18-wheeler – Any tractor-trailer.

85th Street – Interstate 85.

Eyeball – To see something.

Feeding the bears – Paying a ticket.

Flip-flop – A U-turn.

42 – Yes, or OK.

4-wheeler – Any passenger vehicle.

Front door – In front of you.

Full-grown bear – State Trooper.

Garbage hauler – Produce load.

Gear Jammer – Erratic driver.

Georgia overdrive – Coasting downhill.

Go-go juice – Diesel fuel.

Got your ears on? – Are you listening?

Gouge on it – Go fast.

Granny lane – Right, slower lane.

Greasy – Icy or slippery.

Greasy side up – Vehicle not flipped.

Green Stamps – Money.

Grossed out – Max vehicle weight.

Ground pressure – Weight of the truck.

Gumball machine – Police lights.

Hammer down – Go fast.

Hammer lane – Left, passing lane.

Handle (CB handle) – Nickname on CB.

Having “shutter trouble” – Difficulty staying awake.

Home 20 – Home location.

Hundred dollar lane – Lane with heavy fine for trucks.

Jackpot – Police lights.

Key down – Talking over others.

Key up – Transmitting on the CB.

In my back pocket – Passed location.

Left Coast – The West Coast.

Local information – Asking for directions.

Local-yokel – Local officer.

Lollipop – Roadside reflector.

Lumper – Labor for loading/unloading.

Mama-bear – Female officer.

Mash your motor – Go fast.

Moving on – Heading down the road.

Mud duck – Weak radio signal.

95th Street – Interstate 95.

Parking lot – Auto transporter.

Pay the water bill – Bathroom break.

Pigtail – Trailer electrical connection.

Plain wrapper – Unmarked police vehicle.

Pogo stick – Support for trailer connections.

Power up – Speed up.

Reefer – Refrigerated trailer or unit.

Road pizza – Roadkill.

Rockin’ chair – Between two trucks.

Roger – Yes; affirmative.

Salt shaker – Road maintenance vehicle.

Sandbagging – Listening without talking.

Sandbox – Escape ramp.

Shaky – California or Los Angeles.

Shiny side up – Safe driving.

Shooting you in the back – Radar check.

Shutdown – Put out of service by DOT.

Skateboard – Flatbed trailer.

Skins – Tires.

Smokin’ the brakes – Overused trailer brakes.

Smokey or Smokey Bear – Police officer.

Split – Road junction.

Spy in the sky – Law enforcement aircraft.

Stand on it – Go faster.

Taking pictures – Radar use.

10-4 – OK.

Thermos bottle – Tanker trailer.

Through the woods – Leaving the Interstate.

Throwin’ iron – Putting on snow chains.

Too many eggs in the basket – Overweight.

Toothpicks – Lumber load.

Travel agent – Dispatcher.

Triple digits – Over 100 mph.

Wagon – Trailer.

Walked on you – Drowned out your transmission.

Wiggle wagons – Double or triple trailers.

Yard – Company terminal.

Yardstick – Highway mile marker.

Truck Driver Slang Test

Now that you’re armed with some trucker lingo, let’s see if you can decipher some classic trucker slang.

1. What does the term “Bear in the air” mean?

   a) A bear hiding in the bushes

   b) A law enforcement officer on a motorcycle

   c) A law enforcement aircraft monitoring traffic

   d) A speeding ticket

2. If a trucker says, “I’m all locked up”, what are they referring to?

   a) Their truck’s brakes are jammed

   b) The load they’re carrying is secure

   c) The weigh station is closed

   d) They’re lost and need directions

3. What does it mean when a trucker talks about “rolling on the boulevard”?

   a) They’re driving on a scenic highway

   b) They’re speeding on the interstate

   c) They’re driving on the left lane

   d) They’re driving on the right lane


1. c) A law enforcement aircraft monitoring traffic

2. c) The weigh station is closed

3. b) They’re speeding on the interstate


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