Roger that, 10-4.
You may be surprised by all the trucker slang you already know, like that phrase above, which means, "Yes, message received."
To keep in touch with each other and to alert others of road hazards (and the police), truckers use Citizens Band (CB) radio. CB radio was invented by Al Goss in 1945. Back then, it was mainly used by laborers like carpenters and plumbers, or by small businesses. Then in 1960, it became more affordable for anyone to own. CB radio use rose in popularity in the 1960s with close to 500,000 licensed CB users by 1963. Then it skyrocketed into wide use in the 1970s.
What really sparked a huge surge in CB radio use was during the 1973 energy crisis. To help with gas conservation, the U.S. federal government had implemented a 55 mph speed limit on the nation's highways. With CB radios, truckers could give each other a heads up about gas stations and if there were any smokey bears (police) prowling around as they had to still make their destinations on time.
Beyond alerting fellow truckers, CB radios were a way to be less lonely on the road and to pass the time on what can be some monotonous driving on the interstate.
And even though we're now in the age smartphones and using apps like Waze and Trucker Tools to alert other drivers about accidents and cops, many truckers still use CB radios.
So let's stand on it and get this quiz going. Have fun and all the good numbers!
Sandbagging is also known as "reading the mail." Usually, it means one's presence isn't made known to those who are talking. For truckers, this CB radio version of "lurking" can feel intrusive and rude.
"All the good numbers" is another way to say goodbye. This is definitely more of a warm and friendly goodbye. And with how it can be lonely out there on the road, it's nice to share warm fuzzies with a fellow trucker.
If you've driven on highways, you've seen blown-out tires on the road, usually on the shoulder. For truckers, alligators can hit or get caught in their trucks and could possibly cause damage to the truck and/or an accident, so getting a heads up about them is helpful.
Move over, granny! The slow lane gets a little bit of a punchier name in trucker slang. And the "granny gear" is the lowest gear for driving (no offense to all grandmothers out there).
Truckers have more than one way to talk about getting faster. "Stand on it" and "hammer down" are both ways to explain that you should step on it (your accelerator!).
Although you'll occasionally see them on byways, most of the time you'll see truckers on the highway. Other nicknames for the highway are "big road" and "super slab".
As you can tell, truckers have a sardonic sense of humor. Although construction does require some destruction, construction sites usually mean that vehicles need to slow down so that everyone can be safe. But slower speeds can mean that truckers won't be able to get their hauls to their destinations on time.
What else is there to say? No one likes getting a speeding ticket, but you have to give some credit for the sarcastic humor and jokes truckers have about the less fun parts of driving.
Trucker slang can be colorful--sometimes literally. A big yellow school bus looks like the color of cheddar. It's also a big vehicle, sometimes with children aboard, so in terms of safety and giving other truckers a heads up, identifying school buses can be helpful.
Due to the higher center of gravity, big trucks are more prone to rolling over. Seeing a truck "greasy side up" will definitely get some rubberneckers and slow down traffic.
Truckers are always looking out for each other when it comes to speeding. Getting a heads up about speeding when you're a trucker is important since trucks take longer to slow down.
No one likes driving near someone who is drunk. Getting an alert on the CB about a dangerous driver can help truckers to avoid a car crash. It's just another way truckers help each other to get to their destination safely.
In trucker talk, small cars are typically called "roller skates." So a "pregnant roller skate" talks about the bulbous features of this iconic car--although you may call it a "slugbug" or "punchbug."
Although many times truckers are typically on the highway, eventually they have to leave the highway for slower surface roads. But soon, they'll be on the big road again.
This piece of slang hails back to the 1970s during the oil crisis when the highway speed limit all over the country was 55 mph. It was an effort to conserve gas. These days the speed limit depends on the state you drive in.
Truckers are pulling no punches here with this slang word. Calling motorcyclists without helmets "organ donors" speaks to the high risk of suffering a fatal head injury in an accident.
Eventually, after hours of driving, you need to take a break, get off the road to refuel your truck and your body and heed nature's call. And paying the water bill is exactly what you think it is.
CB radio etiquette is important, since so many people use it. Anyone who is vulgar or obnoxious is not welcome on the radio waves--and that includes those who use curse words.
As a sarcastic way to describe a cop's flashing lights, the trucker slang word "jackpot" is also known as "gumball machine." Knowing about where police are can help truckers slow down in time.
Going through the "credit card machine" speaks to the tight spaces truckers occasionally have to pass through. Making clearances under bridges can be a harrowing experience. Driving a large truck can be tough for narrow bridges, too--with little space to maneuver.
There are places on highways that have signs about speed limits being reinforced. Sometimes those reinforcements come from on high with aerial surveillance of drivers below. They're also known as "smokey in the sky."
Salt trucks that help make roads less slick by helping to de-ice and melt snow on the roads during in the winter. But they are also big trucks, so it's good that truckers keep an eye out for them.
So Schneider eggs have a specific origin. There is a trucking company called Schneider with trucks of the same colors as traffic cones. It's a clever way to say "traffic cones," but we're not sure what eggs have to do with it...
Getting tired and sleepy over long distances while driving is a big and common issue with truckers. Getting enough rest while trying to get a haul to its destination on time is the tricky balance truckers try to maintain.
Rollovers are more common with trucks due to their higher centers of gravity. So being "shiny side up" is always better than "greasy side up." To that end, "Keep the shiny side up" is a wish for a safe trip.
CB radio etiquette is a must. Someone who hogs a conversation on a channel becomes a bother. It's important to keep the CB radio waves open so other truckers can alert each other of hazards and smokies.
It's an unfortunate part of driving, finding dead animals on the road. But if it's a big animal that's on the road, it's best to give other truckers a heads up to avoid it.
In more populated or congested areas, you may see signs that prohibit trucks from being in the left-hand lane. This is to ensure that other motorists can have this lane free for passing. If this rule isn't followed, there can be heavy fines for the violators.
Talking about cash on the radio waves may be too risky. But thankfully there's a code word for that. It's just another colorful way truckers talking about everyday items.
Some would say that these lights can be also seen as excessive or too flashy. The origin of the term is unclear, but it may have to do with trucks that haul Perdue chickens which originally had these lights.
This median is a grassy one. And if they have a dip in them, as many of them do, sometimes you can see bears hiding out there, waiting to pull vehicles over for speeding.
Truckers have many nicknames for the highway, including big slab and big road. And when you're driving fast with a lot of cars and other kinds of vehicles of all sizes, it really can be a jungle out there...
Bubba can mean different things to different people. For truckers, there's a similar fraternal affection in calling each other Bubba. It's not meant to be a derogatory nickname or a slur.
Truckers love using understatement for humor. For interstates, they use streets. So 65th Street would be Interstate 65, 10th Street would be Interstate 10--you get the idea.
Truckers humorously use this antiquated name for tour buses. Stagecoaches did similar things as tour buses back in the day. It's another large vehicle that truckers need to be aware of as they're driving.