Every profession has its slang that no one outside that line of work could understand. Still, trucker slang seems to be more developed than in most other professions. This is due to the special way in which truckers used to communicate – the CB (citizen band) radio. Developed using a method of communication that excluded everyone who wasn’t a truck driver, this particular lingo is full of terms that will be completely new to you if you’re new to the business. And if you’re thinking about becoming a company driver, you might need to get familiar with them. So, we decided to put together a list of trucker lingo terms we believe are the most common and most useful.
Understanding the Trucker Lingo
Truckers used CB radio to share useful information and driving tips, warn of hazards, ask for help or offer it, or simply pass the time on long hauls. This means that their lingo is determined by the things they encounter daily, their specific style of humor, and the nature of radio communication itself. When speaking over the radio, you must be as quick and as clear as possible. All of this led to the development of the trucker slang terms as they are today, and keeping that in mind might help you understand them better.
Source: Adobe Stock
To make things a bit more systematic, we divided the terms into several groups by their meaning.
Trucker slangs for cities
These are the trucker slang names for some of the U.S. cities. Some of them have more than one slang name, so we tried to pick the one that is the most widespread.
Beantown – Boston, Massachusetts.
Big D – Dallas, Texas.
Fort God – refers to Memphis, Tennessee (this is specifically referring to a large church outside Memphis).
Guitar Town – Nashville, Tennessee.
Hotlanta – Atlanta, Georgia.
Atlanta, Georgia; Source: Freepik
Mardi Gras – New Orleans, Louisiana.
Mickey Mouse – Orlando, Florida, (this is a reference to Disney World).
Rock City – Little Rock, Arkansas.
Shakey City, Shakeytown – Los Angeles, CA (as a reference to frequent earthquakes).
The Sticker Patch – Phoenix, Arizona (a reference to the cacti which are abundant in the area).
Taco Town – San Antonio, Texas.
A lot of the time the truckers will be talking about other truckers, so it’s understood that they have a lot of slang terms for other trucks they encounter. These can be names for certain truck brands, different types of trucks, or terms that refer to a specific truck.
Barefoot – A truck crossing a mountain pass with no additional traction devices.
Bedbugger – Truck belonging to a household moving company.
Bobtail – A semi-truck without a trailer attached.
An Extra Mile truck without a trailer
Bulldog – A Mack Truck. These trucks have a bulldog ornament on the hood.
Bundled out – A truck that is loaded to its maximum.
Convoy – At least three truck divers traveling together.
Covered wagon – Flatbed trailer which has sidewalls and a tarp.
Deadhead – Driving a truck with an empty trailer.
Draggin’ Wagon – A tow truck.
Freight shaker – A Freightliner truck.
K-Whopper – A Kenworth truck.
Pete – A Peterbilt truck.
A Peterbilt truck from the Extra Mile fleet
Portable Parking Lot – A truck that is transporting cars.
Reefer – A semi-truck with a refrigeration trailer, or with a flatbed trailer that is hauling a refrigeration container.
Rolling Refinery – An oil tanker.
Skateboard – A flatbed trailer.
Thermos Bottle – A semi-truck with a chemical trailer.
Wipin’ Her Feet – A truck that is sliding/slipping on the road.
Since truckers share the roads with other motorists, they will often refer to some of them.
Advertising – A police vehicle with emergency lights on.
Bumper Sticker – A vehicle tailgating behind a truck.
Bunny Hopper – A vehicle that changes lanes constantly.
Catch Car – A police vehicle that is parked near a radar. The police will use this car to pursue speeding drivers.
Dead Pedal – A vehicle driving slowly.
Gear Jammer – A driver who changes his speed frequently and abruptly.
Jet Pilot – A vehicle that is speeding.
Kiddy Car – A school bus.
Land Yacht – A mobile home or a camper.
Loot Limo – An armored car.
Saltshaker – Vehicles that dump salt on the road in the winter as a road maintenance measure.
Smokin’ scooter – A police officer on a motorcycle.
Warnings and useful information
One of the main uses of the CB radio is sharing alerts, tips, and other useful info with other truckers. Some of the most common issues and tips have their own slang terms.
Alligator – A large piece of a tire that was left on the road after a tire was blown. It can look like an alligator lying on the road and can actually present a hazard. If you run over them, they can bounce up and damage your truck, or even fly over to another vehicle and cause even more trouble.
Back door – There is something/someone behind you. “There’s a bear at your back door”.
Black Eye – A broken headlight.
Blinders – High beam headlights. They can obstruct the vision of the oncoming drivers, hence the name.
Brake Check – A traffic jam.
Clean Shot – A stretch of road without any obstructions or construction.
Destruction – Road construction.
Donkey – Something at the rear side of the truck.
Front door – Something is in front of the truck.
Greasy – A slippery or icy part of the road.
Ground Clouds – Fog.
Turtle Race – A driving zone where the speed limit is lower than 45 miles per hour.
Other trucker slang terms
Some trucker slang terms didn’t fit in any of our categories, but we believe they are very common so we just had to list them as well.
Boulevard – An interstate road.
Brown Paper Bag – An unmarked police vehicle.
Checking Your Eyes for Pinholes – Being tired.
Chicken Coop – A weigh station.
Chicken lights – Extra lights on a rig or trailer.
Comedian – The median strip between opposite lanes of the highway.
Comic book – The logbook. This is the book in which drivers write down details about their trips like the driving hours.
Double nickel – A term for driving at 55 mph. This is considered the optimal speed for maintaining a balance between fuel efficiency and speed.
Doughnuts – Tires.
Drawing lines – Writing information in the logbook.
Dream Weaver – A tired driver. When a driver gets tired and sleepy, he might start swerving or “weaving” between the lanes.
Driving award – A speeding ticket.
Hole in the Wall – A tunnel.
Magic Mile: The final mile of a trip.
Spy in the sky – A police aircraft.
Taking pictures – A police officer using a radar gun.
Throwin’ iron – Putting on tire chains.
Yardstick – A mile marker on the highway.
Today, the use of CB radio is greatly reduced as truckers shift to smartphones for communication and entertainment. Social media platforms, trucking podcasts, and the internet altogether are taking over quickly. Despite that, the trucker slang endures at least to some extent. If you’re not familiar with it, you are likely to get lost pretty quickly when listening to a conversation between two truckers.