“Hey everyone, we’re just rollin’ and strollin’ on the big slab today. I have some toothpicks on the loop outside of Hog Town, and no sign of any spies in the sky.” Whether they rely on CB radios or cellphones for communication, truck drivers have a language all their own. Some of this lingo has been passed on for generations, while other terms are more recent additions to the four-lane lexicon. What do you really know about trucker slang?
If you see law enforcement out “taking pictures,” it means that the cops are using radar or laser tools to catch speeders. Many truckers pass along the word so that their comrades don’t get nabbed and tagged with steep fines.
While the language of the road is lot of fun to exchange, be wary of becoming the “ratchet jaw” or “radio Rambo” who has too much time on his or her hands. It means you talk too much, or perhaps to aggressively during your haul. You don't want some grizzled trucker relieving you of your microphone at a truck stop!
Dodge the meat wagons and roller skates in this trucker lingo quiz! Maybe you’ll find the home 20 without “hitting the jackpot” and find a big paycheck waiting for you!
"Bears" are law enforcement officers. Truckers who don't heed highway laws often find themselves facing off with bears.
It's a sign that truckers (and everyone else) needs to slow down. "Disco lights" are emergency vehicle lights, and they mean business.
Trucks are extremely diligent in watching their "back doors." It's the area right behind the vehicle, where many other drivers often get too close.
When the roads are loaded with snow, you're not really driving, you're "ice skating." It's a reason some truckers hate winter driving.
If you're barreling down I-80 at midnight, you can bet that the weigh station is "all locked up." It's simply closed for the moment.
It means you're ready to chat. If you "got your ears on," your radio is on and ready to go … but many truckers these days forgo CB radio for cellphones.
If you're trying to beat a deadline and you're behind schedule, you might "mash the motor." It means to go very fast.
If you hear other truckers shrieking, "back it down" on the CB, you know you need to slow down. There could be danger ahead … like angry bears.
A "greasy" road is treacherous to all drivers, including truckers. It's a road slickened by snow, ice or rain.
With their scaly surface and potential for harm, blown tires are "alligators." These remnants aren't just unsightly, they can damage your vehicle and even cause wrecks.
Broken or otherwise malfunctioning headlights can be dangerous. "Black eyes" should be repaired immediately.
"Bear bait" is other drivers, those who are speeding or conducting themselves in a fashion that's sure to draw the attention of cops. That means truckers can worry less about being pulled over themselves.
If another driver tells you to "look over your shoulder," you need to check your six. In other words, look behind your truck, perhaps due to impending danger.
Many of America's highways now have much higher speed limits. But in some places, that limit is still "double nickels," or 55 MPH.
Truckers often prefer big, roomy roads, for obvious reasons. The "big slab" is a large, wide road like an Interstate highway.
Double (or triple) trailers look like caterpillars weaving all over the road. They are "wiggle wagons," and they are hard to control in a stiff breeze.
Anyone who's driven a highway has encountered "gear jammers." They're the truckers who speed up and slow down over and over again, to the exasperation of others.
Truckers spend so much time on the highways that they see all sorts of crazy driving. If they have their "doors blown off," it means another driver passed them at very high speed.
It's a fact of life. When truckers stop to "pay the water bill," they have to use the restroom.
Every year, some unlucky truckers smash into "Bambi" on the highway. It's a term used to warn others about deer.
Construction zones are high-risk areas for both workers and drivers. "Care bears" are cops who hang out near work zones in hopes of keeping everyone safe.
It's highly illegal, of course. Some trucks deploy "bird dogs," or radar detectors, in order to sniff out police cars before they're visible, hoping to avoid being pulled over for speeding.
If you're climbing in and out of the cab, you're not getting much work done. Keep the left door closed … and maybe you'll make a real paycheck.
A "hot load" is one that has a long way to go on a short schedule. It means the trucker will have to drive quickly to make it on time.
The chicken coop is a necessary evil for truckers. It's the weigh station, where officers make sure the trailer's load is within acceptable limits.
Many trucks have very tall profiles, and if drivers aren't careful, they might strike overhead objects. It means they "topped" something.
Livestock trailers like hog trailers are a common sight on the highways. They are "pig pens."
Like all drivers, every trucker has his or her own driving style. Many of them drive in the granny lane -- the right lane -- and drive well within the speed limit.
"Gonna attempt the rock pile in a blizzard? You're a brave driver." "Rock pile" might refer to the Rocky Mountains, a formidable challenge for most drivers.
Trucks have restrictor plates to stop them from going too fast. But if truckers shift into neutral on downhill stretches, they're in "Georgia overdrive," and they can go much faster.
"Parking lots" are car transport trailers. These trailers are common way for truckers to vehicles across town or across the country.
Retreaded tires might be cheaper, but they're also not as reliable as new tires. But many truckers resort to "recaps" for budget reasons.
Truckers must constantly be alert for slowdowns on the road. If they see brake lights, they "hit the binders" to slow the truck.
Not many huge trucks travel at 100+ MPH. But those that do can accurately be called "triple-digit rides."
They're not so tough in person. "Radio Rambos" are truckers who speak aggressively on the radio and rile up other drivers.