Starting in the 70s, the CB radio came equipped within trucks as a standard. This led to a CB radio craze in the trucking industry, and soon, you could find these radios in almost all types of big rigs. Truckers are a special kind. So much so, that they speak their lingo when out on the road.
Some phrases and terms of trucker slang are classic and iconic. They have stayed with the trucking industry for decades and continue to be widely used and helpful. Trucker slang is also known as CB slang since it has derived from people that used the Citizens Band radio on a daily.
Truckers have relied on the CB radio and since they have used it to communicate amongst other truckers about common trucker situations, language codes with particular recurring meanings have developed. This has led to trucker slang.
CB radios and their Importance
Even though the use of modern technology is useful, some technology from the old cannot be discarded. CB radio is an old technology that every trucker needs to have in their truck. This radio can singlehandedly save your life and also save the lives of other people on the road. Not to mention, it can also save your company thousands of dollars in insurance claims, especially in the winter.
However, it is worth noting that truckers today are much less dependent on the CB radio than they once were due to the multitude of different communication devices. Nonetheless, it should be mandatory for truckers to have a CB since it is your information hotline. Ahead of an accident, it can be the sole instrument that gets people talking about your emergency.
Ultimately, CB talk can help prevent accidents. Truckers can help stay informed about the hazardous happenings on the freeway ahead of time so that they can detour through them. Additionally, you can use the CB radios when getting off the highway when you are a couple of miles behind. It will also help reroute.
Not to mention, natural hazards, especially in the winter times can be life-threatening. In the occurrence of a snowstorm, having constant contact through the CB radio can be instrumental. You never know what calamity waits ahead of you when driving in regions where the weather is highly unpredictable.
What are some of the Trucker Sayings?
“Breaker breaker 1-9, anyone got a copy?” This is a trucker saying that is widely used commonly as a courtesy call for the truckers to get access to the CB radio Channel. The “1-9” refers to channel 19 on the CB radio, which is the most popular channel. This phrase of the trucker lingo is something truckers will say before they can address something on the channel 19 radio without interrupting other drivers that are talking.
It is important to note that some of the trucker sayings are also used by law enforcement agencies, military, hammer operators, and other occupations. Most of the sayings are however unique to the CB radio.
Numeric Codes – 10s
Similar to “breaker breaker” 10-4 is also one of the most common catchphrases that you will hear on the radio. This catchphrase comes from the ten codes or ten signals. This phrase is more commonly used by police departments to address that radio communications are clear.
In other words, it is the numeric representation that declares everything to be okay. The 10-4 code helps truckers acknowledge the messages received. Alternatively, 10-4s reverse that is 4-10 is known as a request for acknowledgment in the trucker lingo. A trucker will use this when he is trying to make sure that they have been heard by other truckers using the CB radio.
Other numeric codes include 10-7, which signals that someone is signing off. 10-8 is a signal that displays that the driver is in route, while 10-36 is the trucker code that asks for the time. The numerical lingo, “20” is one that truckers will use to find out about a fellow trucker’s location. Continuing to other trucker slang that represents affirmations, “copy” is used both, as CB talk and law enforcement code.
There are plenty of other 10 codes that truckers will often use when they are behind that wheel.
Codenames and Catchphrases
When chatting on the CB radio while a trucker is behind the wheel, not knowing some of the most common catchphrases can make it very difficult for truckers to communicate. Knowing some of the common trucker codes and catchphrases can help you talk like a trucker.
The Big Slab
This trucker term comes from a trucker term for the old interstate. It is rooted in the catchphrase people will use during construction when pouring a big slab of concrete on the ground. The big slab is a connotation for the interstate or highway, and within this connotation, you have left and right lanes that each have trucking terms.
The left lane in trucking terms is the hammer lane, while the right is the granny lane. These terms do not have any deep-rooted derivations and backgrounds and are instead just intuitive for the fast and slow lanes. The hammer lane refers to hammering down on the pedal, while the granny lane term refers to going very slow.
GOGO Juice or Motion Lotion
If you are going to hammer down the accelerator of your rig, you will need some go-go juice or motion lotion to keep the truck going. These trucker slangs are somewhat self-explanatory alternative terms truck drivers will use for fuel. They serve as silly slang that truckers use, often for comical reasons so that they can make their time on the road more enjoyable.
In the CB radio realm, the chokenpuke is a word for the roadside diners that truckers will often stop by to grab a meal. The reason why truckers will use such a derogatory sounding term for the local dining option at truck stops is that these places are often limited in terms of food options.
Nicknames for different types of trucks
Different types of trucks each have different types of nicknames within CB culture. They are mostly determined by the type of cargo they may or may not be carrying. For instance, truckers that are hauling high-risk loads are termed suicide jockeys in the trucking realm.
Similarly, refrigerated reefer rigs look like lunch boxes, and thus, you can state that you have seen lunch boxes if you come across them. Other names for trucks include skateboards for freight haulers driving a flatbed. Trucks hauling cars are called parking lots.
Additionally, coal cars are a term for dump trucks, and snow plowing trucks are salt shakers on the CB radio. It is also worth noting that any vehicle on the highway that is not an 18-wheeler is termed as a “four-wheeler” in the CB radio world.
Blowing smoke means that the CB radio is maxed out all the way. This catchphrase will often be used as “blowing smoke through my receiver” When a trucker uses this catchphrase, it means that they have a very strong signal on the CB radio. Another way of saying that you have a strong signal is by stating that you have a “walled wall and treetop tall”.
If you have watched the movie, “Smokey and the Bandit” then you will be familiar with this catchphrase. When a trucker asks for a Smokey report on the highway, this means that they are fetching for important information that truckers ahead of them can notify.
For instance, they can let the trucker know what they left, “over their shoulder” which means what they left behind when driving by on the slab. For instance, a Smokey report will alert truck drivers about “bears”, which in CB lingo refers to law enforcement officers on the road. Getting notified about speed traps and law enforcers can allow truckers to straighten out their lanes and watch their speed limit so that they can avoid any tickets.
How to talk on a CB radio?
Despite its usefulness, getting your message across on the CB radio can be difficult, especially when there is plenty of traffic on the channel. When you go to broadcast on the CB radio, the first thing you should do is give the direction.
For instance, if you are heading eastbound and you spot something in the westbound direction, then the first thing you need to say is westbound, and also address the interstate number. This alerts the truckers driving on that road towards your message. Similarly, if you hear someone call out the direction or interstate that you driving on, you need to be all ears on their message.
As you can see, most of the trucker slang and lingo are self-explanatory, comical, and fun. The majority of the catchphrases and terms are inspired by the southern way of talking. Other times, the slang is stemming from militia codes and law enforcement. If used properly, trucker lingo on the CB radio can be lifesaving. The above-mentioned phrases and terms are just a few of the many that make up the famous trucker’s talk.