Jason Bradley is a traveler, career advisor, freelance writer, editor, and blogger. Jason blogs about careers, writing, transportation, hobbies, travel, and other random topics.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
CB Slang: Sociolinguistic study of modern nomads
Trucker CB Slang /Terminology
All locked up
The weigh station is closed.
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.
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 which 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 called just a "gator".
Something behind you. "There's a bear at your back door".
Back it 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."
The last rows of parking in a truck stop, often a hangout for prostitutes (see "lot lizards").
A deer, dead or alive
Base station or unit
A powerful CB radio set in a stationary location.
A law enforcement officer at any level, but usually a State Trooper, Highway Patrol.
A speeding vehicle, usually a four-wheeler, which can be used to protect the other speeding vehicles behind it.
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.
These cards held stamps from each state a motor carrier would operate in; these cards are no longer used, and have been replaced by the Single State Registration System (SSRS).
Can refer to a household moving company or to the household mover himself.
A Roadway truck.
Usually refers to the Interstate, sometimes any big highway.
Refers to an 18-wheeler or tractor-trailer. "Come on over, big truck".
A radar detector.
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.
A headlight out. "Driver going eastbound, you've got a black eye".
Driving the tractor only, without the trailer attached.
The top gear (the highest gear) of the transmission.
There is a traffic tie-up ahead, which will require immediate slowing down or stopping. "You've gotta brake check ahead of you, eastbound".
If the radio's busy, saying "break-19" is the proper way to gain access to the channel, and begin talking.
Your signal is weak, or fading.
Brush your teeth and comb your hair
Shooting vehicles with a radar gun.
What you call another driver, often in a kidding way.
A Mack truck.
An ABF truck.
A livestock hauler.
A vehicle that's tailgating. Sometimes called a "hitchhiker ".
Loaded heavy, or to maximum capacity.
A UPS truck or driver.
A steep mountain grade in Oregon.
Abbreviated term for Cab-Over-the Engine (COE) type of tractor.
Checking ground pressure
The weigh station is open, and they're running trucks across the scales (see "running you across").
A weigh station, often called just a "coop".
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.
The median strip in between opposite lanes of traffic.
Refers to an overseas container; intermodal transportation.
An invitation for the other driver to talk. Sometimes used when you couldn't hear the last transmission, "comeback, I didn't hear you".
Telling another driver that you hear him calling you, and to go ahead and talk. "Yeah driver, come on".
The log book.
A group of trucks traveling together.
Transmission acknowledged, agreed with, or understood, as in "that's a copy, driver".
Refers to a Consolidated Freightways truck.
County police, often a sheriff's deputy.
Flatbed type of trailer, with sidewalls, and a tarp.
A derogatory term; insult.
A motorcycle built for speed; not a Harley-Davidson.
Pulling an empty trailer.
A semi- tractor.
A DOT, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officer.
Behind you. "A bear is on your donkey".
I didn't hear or understand you.
Refers to a set of double trailers.
Completing your log book
What drivers call other drivers on the CB, especially if their CB handle is not known.
A speeding ticket.
Driving downwards, downhill, on a decline.
A tow truck.
A truck with no power, especially going uphill.
An unrefrigerated, freight trailer. Also considered a dry van
A law enforcement officer on a motorcycle.
To see something.
Feeding the bears
Paying a ticket or citation.
To unload a trailer by yourself.
Refers to a u-turn, or a return trip.
An AM-FM radio.
Yes, or OK.
Open; referring to weigh stations being open or closed.
Any passenger vehicle; cars or pickups.
A Freightliner truck.
In front of you.
State Trooper, or Highway Patrol.
A produce load, or produce haulers.
A driver who speeds up and slows down with great frequency.
General mess of crap
A GMC truck
Putting the transmission into neutral on a downgrade, to go extremely fast. Definitely not recommended!
This used to be the thing to say: "10-4, good buddy". Not anymore, as this calling someone a homosexual.
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.
The right, slower lane on a multi-lane highway, or on the Interstate.
Icy, or slippery.
Greasy side up
A vehicle that's flipped over.
Your gross vehicle weight is at maximum capacity; commonly 80,000 pounds.
The weight of your truck, as in "the scale's testing your ground pressure".
The lights on top of a patrol car.
Go fast, step on it.
The left, passing lane of traffic.
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 which are used to identify the speaker, in place of on actual name. A driver often selects his own handle, one that he feels reflects his personality, or describes his way of driving.
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 it's abundance of accidents.
Call me on the radio, as in "give me a holler when you get back".
A driver's home location.
When you're trying to contact other drivers, you can say "how 'bout you, eastbound?".
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.
Same as gumball machine, refers to a patrol car's lights.
When you talk over somebody who's trying to transmit. A bigger, more powerful radio can easily drown out a lesser one.
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.
A Kenworth tractor, or just KW.
Kojak with a Kodak
Law enforcement using a radar gun.
A stationary telephone; not a cellular-phone.
A conventional tractor, often with a big sleeper, lots of chrome and lights, etc.
The West Coast.
A driver asks for local information when he needs directions in area he's unfamiliar with.
A county, city, or small-town officer.
The small reflector or marker poles on the sides of the highway.
A prostitute that solicits truck-to-truck in a truck stop or rest area.
Casual labor that loads or unloads your trailer, often requiring payment in cash.
A male prostitute.
Refers to a female law enforcement officer.
Mash your motor
Go fast, step on it. Same as gouge on it and hammer down.
Heading down the road.
A weak radio signal.
Negative or no.
On the side
An auto transporter, often used when the trailer is empty.
Pay the water bill
Taking a rest room break.
A rest area frequented by lot lizards (prostitutes).
The electrical connection from the tractor to the trailer.
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, but I've heard it used to tell drivers to go ahead and step on it because there's speeding four-wheelers ahead blocking or covering for them.
Usually a metal, flexible support located on the tractor catwalk, that holds up the connections to the trailer.
Go faster, speed up.
Thank you, I appreciate it.
A Schneider truck, because of it's orange color.
A CB radio.
How's my radio working, transmitting, getting out there.
Someone who talks really tough on the radio, especially when no one else knows where they are.
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.
Usually refers to refrigerated van trailer, but sometimes just to the reefer unit itself.
Another way to say rest area.
Roadkill on the side of the road.
A truck that's in the middle of two other trucks.
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, and not recommended.
Any small car.
A big, fancy truck; a large, conventional tractor with a lot of lights and chrome.
The weigh station is open, and they're weighing trucks, probably in a quick fashion.
The road maintenance vehicles that dumps salt or sand on the highways in the winter.
To listen to the radio without talking; also "readin' the mail".
An escape ramp, which sometimes uses sand to stop vehicles.
The orange cones in construction areas.
Sometimes used to describe drivers or passengers of four-wheelers.
Channel 19 on the CB.
Refers to 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.
A short amount of time.
Put out of service by the DOT because of some violation.
A prostitute; same as a lot lizard.
A flatbed, or flatbed trailer.
A law enforcement officer on a motorcycle.
Smokin' the brakes
The trailer brakes are literally smoking from overuse down a mountain grade.
Smokey or Smokey Bear
A law enforcement officer, usually highway patrol.
A junction, where the road goes in separate directions.
Spy in the sky
A law enforcement aircraft, same as a "bear in the air".
A tour bus.
Stand on it
Step on it, go faster.
Carrying a load of swinging meat.
Law enforcement using a radar gun.
OK, message received. Some drivers just say "10".
A tanker trailer.
Through the woods
Leaving the Interstate to travel secondary roads.
To put on snow tire chains.
Too many eggs in the basket
Overweight load or gross weight.
A load of lumber.
The dispatcher, or sometimes a broker.
Over 100 mph.
A Volvo-White tractor.
Some drivers refer to their trailer as a wagon.
Walked on you
Drowned out your transmission by keying up at the same time.
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!!