Complete list for CB lingo and trucker slang

You’ve gotten your commercial driver’s license, completed driver training, and have been hired to complete your first trucking job. However, there’s one more thing to master before you hit the road - you’ll need to learn some trucker slang. 

When you’re out on the road, you’ll use CB radio to communicate with other truckers in your area. Over the years, truckers using these radios have developed their own unique lingo, and you’ll need to understand it in order to be successful as a trucker. Let’s dive into some of the most common CB lingo and trucker slang terms to help you prepare. 

Understanding the culture of CB lingo and trucker slang

CB stands for Citizens Band. It’s a form of personal radio service that has been in use in the United States since 1945, and it is a common form of communication in trucking. Truckers use two main channels for communication: channels 17 and 19. 

As technology has evolved, CB radio use isn’t as common as it once was. However, many truckers still use these radio channels to share important information about weather and road conditions, warn other drivers of upcoming speed traps, and even ask for advice. If you’re working as a professional driver, you’ll still need to familiarize yourself with basic lingo, even if you don’t use CB radio often. 

Decoding CB lingo

Many CB lingo terms date back to the origins of the radio in the 1940s and ‘50s. Many pieces of CB lingo don’t relate directly to their actual meaning, which can be confusing for first-time drivers. Here are some of the most common CB lingo terms and their meanings.

Bear: A police officer. Some drivers also use “Smokey” to refer to police officers. Related terms include:

  • Baby bear: A rookie police officer
  • Smokey: A police officer
  • Bear rolling discos: A police officer driving with lights flashing
  • Evil Knievel: A police officer on a motorcycle
  • Bear bite: A speeding ticket
  • Bear cave/den: A police station
  • Bear trap: Speed trap

Chicken coop: A weigh station or truck scale. 

Chicken truck: A truck with extra lights and accessories, usually driven by an owner-operator. 

Piggy back: A truck towing another truck. 

Taco stand: A border patrol station on the US-Mexico border. 

Four-letter word: “Open”, when referring to weigh stations. 

Big word: “Closed”, when referring to weigh stations

Comic book: A driver’s log book

Alligator: A piece of tire in the road. 

42: Means ‘yes’ or ‘okay’. 

Comedian: The media strip between opposing lanes of traffic. 

Truckers also have nicknames for the many different types of vehicles they encounter on the road. These include: 

  • Green Machine: A military vehicle. 
  • Meat Wagon: An ambulance. 
  • General Mess of Crap: A GMC truck. 
  • Skateboard: A straight flatbed trailer. 
  • K-whopper: A Kenworth tractor. 
  • Buster Brown: A UPS truck. 
  • Thermos Bottle: A tanker or chemical trailer. 
  • Pete: A Peterbilt road tractor. 
  • Blinkin winkin/kiddie car/Cheese wagon: A school bus.

Unraveling trucker slang

There are also a variety of phrases and expressions you’ll hear while working as a trucker, both over the radio and in person. Some of these phrases include: 

  • “Backed out of it”: A driver will say this when they need to downshift during an incline due to an inability to maintain speed. For example, they might say, “I’ve backed out of it now, so I’m changing lanes.” 
  • “I’m having shutter trouble”: Drivers will say this when they’re having trouble staying awake while driving. 
  • “Got your ears on?”: “Are you listening?”
  • “That’s in my back pocket”: Drivers will say this about a place that is behind them or that they’ve already passed. 
  • “Too many eggs in the basket”: This refers to an overweight load. 
  • “There’s a Kojak with a Kodak/There’s a bear in the bushes”: This means that a police officer is using a radar gun to look for speeding vehicles. 
  • “Wind ‘er up and let ‘er go”: An encouragement to go faster. 
  • “I’m going to pay the water bill”: I’m taking a restroom break. 

Final thoughts

Some trucker slang terms can be confusing at first - it’s certainly alarming to hear that there’s a bear behind you! However, with a little practice, using CB lingo will quickly become second nature. 

CB lingo and trucker slang is constantly evolving, which means that you might also hear some slang terms that aren’t on this list. There’s also regional slang, and the terms you hear might differ between cities or regions. 

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