Trucker Lingo

Here we've compiled a list of “trucking terms" that you will hear often once you get out over the road. You'll hear these words thrown around at truck stops, over the airways of your CB, and from your dispatcher. Some you might even hear referenced at CDL school! Get a head start and learn the language of the trucker nation.

Cobra Classic C.B. Radio

Cobra Classic C.B. Radio

Alley Dock - 90 degree maneuver to dock or park

Asphalt Cowboy - truck driver

Bear Trap - speed trap

Bill of Lading - shipment documents to identify full shipment information, usually given by shipper - freight contract/receipt (pick up address, delivery address, laden weight, freight contents, tracking information, hazmat identification, etc.)

Blindside - navigating your equipment (blindly) without being able to see the side you’re backing towards

Bobtail - Tractor without a trailer attached

Freightliner Classic XL (Bobtail)

Freightliner Classic XL (Bobtail)

Bull-Hauler “Livestock” - Drivers hauling livestock (cows, pigs, chickens, etc.)

cattle truck - livestock hauling - Millennials in Trucking

Catwalk “Deck plate” - metal plate between your tractor and drive tires; used as a safe place to stand and walk along to connect airlines and inspect trailer

C.B. - Citizens Band Radio - two way radio, communication equipment used by truckers and law enforcement

C.B. Handle - Nickname used for communication over the CB radio

CDL - Commercial Drivers License

Chicken Coop - Weigh Station

Chicken Lights - amber lights alongside a tractor and/or trailer, sometimes referring "extra or added lighting”

Chicken Truck - truck covered in lots of lights, chrome, and accessories (show truck)

Convoy - large group of trucks, usually intentionally following one another

Photo from the movie Convoy (1978)

Photo from the movie Convoy (1978)

County Mounty - sheriff

Covered Wagon - flatbed trailer with mounted cover around trailer

CPM/RPM - “Cents Per Mile / Rate Per Mile” - how much a load compensates based on a break down of mileage

CSA - Compliance, Safety, Accountability - point system used to determine safety history and indentify high risk trucking companies

CVSA - Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance

Deadhead/Empty Move - Empty and/or unpaid miles

DEF - Diesel Exhaust Fluid (NEVER to be mistaken for Diesel)

Detention - compensated waiting time for delays with load/unload

DOT - Department of Transportation

Doubles - Tractor pulling a set of trailers


Double Nickel - 55 mph speed limit

55mph speed limit - Millennials in Trucking

Dragon Fly - ”Drag N’ Fly” - Dragging your trailer up the hill or mountain, and flying down the other side

Drivers Lounge - customer provided waiting area for drivers, typically containing seating, restrooms, coffee bar, microwave, etc.

Drop and Hook - Dropping a loaded trailer to turn around and connect to an empty trailer, meant to get you to your next destination

Drop Yard - parking area used to pick up and/or drop empty or loaded trailers

Dry Van - trailer without refrigeration or temperature control

E-Logs (ELD) - Electronic recorder of all hours related to the driver/s - "Electronic Logging Device”

Omnitracs ELD

Omnitracs ELD

EOBR - Electronic On Board Recorder - computer used to log truck data, trip information, gps satellite location, and movement

Evil Knievel - motorcycle cop

Evil Knievel - Millennials in Trucking

Expediter - any class 8 vehicle or cargo vans being used for expedite shipments (point a to point b, straight through deliveries)

Fedex Custom Critical Expediters - Millennials in Trucking

ETA - Estimated Time of Arrival

Fifth-Wheel - coupling system to attach tractor to the trailers king pin with a locking jaw mechanism

VolvoLightWeightFifthWheel - Millennials in Trucking

Floating Gears - shifting gears without the need of using the clutch (revving your engine to a certain rpm allows you to change gears smoothly without clutching)

FMCSA - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Forced Dispatch - not having free will over the loads you run with possible repercussions if you decide against certain loads, most common for company drivers

Four Wheeler - cars and other vehicles

Fox in the Hen House - Unmarked cop car

Freight Shaker - Freightliner

Freightshaker - Millennials in Trucking

Full Grown Bear - State Trooper

Gator “Alligator” - piece of tire debri left behind from tire blowouts, commonly seen on interstate shoulders, tread similar looking to a gators back

Tire Blowout Gator Example - Millennials in Trucking

G.O.A.L. - Get Out and Look - term used to remind drivers to check their surroundings when backing, commonly seen on side view mirrors

G.O.A.L. - Millennials in Trucking

Hammer Down - Go fast, “pedal to the metal”

Hammer Lane - Left lane and/or passing lanes

Home 20 - drivers home town

Hometime - time off and/or vacation time

H.O.S. - Hours of Service - Logging hours

Jackknife - truck turning in on itself, folding like a pocket knife

Truck Jackknife - Millennials in Trucking

Jake Brakes - Engine brakes; Engine Retarder

Keep the rubber side down - “safe travels” - “be safe on your trip” (maintaining contact with the tires and the road, keeping your unit upright)

Knocking on your doors - coming up behind you or following too closely

Kojak with a Kodak - cop using a speed gun

Landing Gear - adjustable legs used to hold trailer upright independent from the tractor

Largecar - any class 8 vehicle, usually show trucks (lots of chrome and accessories)

Live load/unload - driver supplies empty trailer and remains at shipper untill freight it fully loaded, and waits to get unloaded at deliveries

Local Driver “Local” - drivers that run within a short distance of home (inner city, tri-county, tri-state areas) known for being home every night or multiple nights per week

Lot Lizard - Prostitute (primarily found at truck stops - walking throughout the parking lot knocking on trucks)

Lowboy - “Step deck” - Flatbed trailer with a low deck used for oversized freight

LTL - Less Than Truckload - combination of small shipments for multiple delivery destinations

Lumper - person at pick up or delivery whose responsible for loading or offloading your freight, usually for a fee

Marker Interrupt - switch that will momentarily turn off the marker lights on the truck and trailer, used primarily to communicate something to other truck drivers (safe to get over, thank you for letting me over, hazard up ahead, etc.)

Meat Wagon - Ambulance

Motion Lotion - diesel

On your rubber - behind you

OTR “Over-The-Road” - long haul truck driver (cross country)

Parking Lot - Car hauler

Party Row - back row of truck stop parking lots, used in past time for lot lizard hang outs

Pay-Load - shipping weight / total weight of freight

Personal Conveyance - time allowed for personal use of which doesn't go against your clock

Placards - diamond shaped signage used to identify and communicate hazmat cargo classifications

POC - Point of Contact

POD - Point of Delivery

Predispatch “Preplan" - Future scheduled load

Prepass - device used to bypass weigh stations

Pre/Post-Trip - inspection of truck required by law, to the responsibility of the driver before and after operating equipment

Qualcomm - brand of satellite units used for dispatch communications, load information, elogs, and EOBR services

Radio Check - used to ask others over the cb if your communication is coming through clearly

Reefer - refrigerated unit or trailer

Refrigerated Trailer - Millennials in Trucking

Rubbernecker/s - people who slow down to look at an accident on the road, known for causing back ups

Safe Haven - secure parking facility or area used for active high security shipments

Salt Shaker - service vehicle used to treat roadways for snow and ice, aid in snow/ice removal, by dumping salt or brine on pavement

Skateboard - Flatbed Trailer

Sleeper (Sleeper Berth) - area behind cab of tractor considered a truckers living and resting space

Slow Crawl - bumper to bumper traffic, stop and go, leading to a “slow crawl”

Smokey (Bear) - State Trooper

Steering Wheel Holder - Rookie or uncaring driver, only knows “how to hold the wheel”

Straight Back - Reversing in a straight line

Straight Truck - tractor with cargo area permanently attached on one chassis

Suicide Jockey - Driver hauling explosives

Super Trucker - irresponsible driver not taken seriously (i.e., driving fast, wearing gloves, like to think they “break the rules, etc.)

Tractor Trailer - Tractor with a trailer attached; combination

Turtle Race - two trucks trying to pass one another, usually with speed governors

Two Wheeler - motorcycle

Veteran Driver - “Seasoned Driver” - trucker with millions of miles driven

Weigh Station - state regulated check point for legal weight limits, equipment compliance, and driver licensing and logs; found at state entry points among interstates and U.S. Highways

Wiggle Wagon - tractor pulling more than a single trailer

truck-entering-weigh-station-example-Millennials in Trucking

Yard Dog - “Yard Jockey” driver usually in a single seated cab, relocating trailers throughout the hub or warehouse yard (around the warehouse, moving trailers to and from docks, or to and from distribution centers)

Yard Stick - Mile marker

MileMarkerYardStickExample - Millennials in Trucking

10-4 - “I hear you” or understood

18 Wheeler - tractor trailer combination (stating the amount of wheels when in active connection)

Any suggestions?

Leave us a comment of your favorite trucking terms!

This list will continue to grow with driver feedback.