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What’s That You Said?

By on March 1, 2019

AN ABRIDGED TRUCKERS’ SLANG DICTIONARY

BY: David A. Kolman, Senior Editor

A FEW WEEKS AGO, WHILE WORKING AS A YARD JOCKEY AT A DISTRIBUTION CENTER, I NOTICED A TRACTOR TRAILER BLIND SIDE BACKING INTO A TIGHT SPACE IN ONE OF THE LOTS. I DROVE UP FOR A CLOSER LOOK, THINKING THE TRUCKER MIGHT NEED ANOTHER SET OF EYES TO COMPLETE THE MANEUVER. 

To my surprise, he backed in just fine with only one pull up. I went over to compliment him on accomplishing such a challenging movement.

I was in for another surprise. During our conversation, I learned that he was new to trucking and had only been driving for about four months. He said he’d been practicing that and other maneuvers to help stay accident-free. I was impressed.

While we were discussing trucking, I realized he did not know much about the “language”—idioms, slang, lingo, jargon, call it what you will—of trucking. To help those new to trucking and refresh the memories of those who’ve rolled up millions of miles, following are some of my favorite trucker expressions and their meanings.

Advertising
Law enforcement vehicle with emergency lights on.

Alice in Wonderland
Someone who is lost or seeking directions.

Alligator or Gator
Pieces of a tire casing on the road.

Slang-Alligator

 

 

 

 

All Locked Up
A weigh/inspection station that’s closed.

Astronaut
Police plane or helicopter.

Backdoor
The area behind a vehicle or the last vehicle in a line. 

Band-aid Buggyor Meat Wagon
An ambulance.

Barndoors
Doors on the back of a trailer that
swing open.

Barbershop
A low overpass.

Bear Bait
Speeding vehicle.

Blackeye
Burned out headlight. 

Blew My Doors Off
Passed by a speeding vehicle.

Blinkin’ Winkin’
School bus.

Brake Check
There is an incident ahead—such as construction, accident, lane closure, etc.—that is causing traffic to slow down or is stopped.

Brush Your Teeth and
Comb Your Hair
Radar trap ahead.

Buster Brown
UPS vehicle.

Care Bear
Law enforcement vehicle in a construction zone.

Cash Box
Tollbooth or toll plaza.

Catch Ya on the Flip Flop
See you/talk with you on my return trip.

Chicken Coop
Weigh/inspection station.

Chief Hood Lifter
Truck service manager at a repair shop, dealership or maintenance facility.

Comic Book or Joke Book
Trucker’s log book.

Slang-ELD

 

 

 

 

 

County Mountie, Local-Yokel
or Barney Fife

County, city, municipal sheriff or local law enforcement officer.

Diesel Cop or D.O.T. Bear
State DOT personnel.

Driving Award or
Feeding the Bears
Receiving a ticket or citation.

Evel Knievel
Cop on a motorcycle.

Fell Off the Back of a Truck
Merchandise or goods in someone’s possession through questionable means.

Fingerprint
To unload your trailer by yourself.

Full-grown Bear
State trooper or highway patrolman.

Georgia Overdrive
To put the transmission into neutral going down a hill to increase speed and reduce fuel consumption. 

GI-Joe
A truck carrying military equipment.

Go-go Juice or Motion Lotion
Diesel fuel.

Greasy Side Up
Vehicle that has flipped over.

Going Horizontal
Getting ready to go to sleep.

Green Stamp
Toll road.

Grocery Grabber
Minivan.

Ice Capading
Vehicle that lost traction due to wet, snowy or icy roads.

Hammer Down
To speed up.

Hammer Lane
The fast (left) lane. 

Hauling Sailboat Fuel
Hauling an empty trailer.

Hood Ornament
A vehicle that passes a truck at a high rate of speed, returns to the truck’s lane, then slows down quickly.

Jet Pilot
Speeding vehicle without a CB.

Loot Limo or Pay Wagon
An armored vehicle.

On Your Donkey or Hitchhiker
A vehicle tailgating another vehicle.

Organ Donor
Civilian motorcyclist without a helmet.

Paying the Waterbill
Stopping for a bathroom break. 

Peel Your Eyeballs
A request to be on the lookout for law enforcement or a missing or wanted person or vehicle.

Picture Taker
Law enforcement vehicle with radar.

Plain Wrapper
Unmarked law enforcement vehicle.

Pony Express
Mail hauler.

Portable Parking Lot or
Mobile Parking Lot
An automobile hauler.

Ratchet Jaw
Obnoxious, non-stop talker on the
CB who says nothing.

Salt Shaker
A road maintenance vehicle that plows snow and ice and/or spreads sand,
road salt and de-icing chemicals.

Slang-SaltShaker

 

 

 

 

Shooting You in the Back
Speed trap with vehicle out of sight.

Suicide Jockey
Trucker hauling explosives, dangerous cargo.

Slang-CherryBomb

 

 

 

 

 

Thermos Bottle
Truck pulling a chemical trailer.

Throwin’ Iron
To put on tire chains or traction devices.

Too Many Eggs in the Basket
Vehicle more than legal gross weight.

Travel Agent
Dispatcher or broker. 

Wiggle Wagons
Set of double or triple trailers.

With a Customer
Law enforcement officer who has pulled over a vehicle.

Yardstick
Mile marker or milepost.

 

Just Ask

Especially for those of you who are new to trucking, do not be afraid to ask questions when you do not understand something, want to make sure you are doing something correctly or want advice and guidance. 

We learn every day from firsthand experiences but we cannot gain everything we need to know from this. The way to quickly expand your knowledge is by learning from the experience of others. 

About Warren Eulgen

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