How to Talk Like a Trucker

Trucking has risen in popularity since movies like Smokey and the Bandit, songs by Merle Haggard, and even video games like American Truck Simulator. Starting in the 1970s, the popularity of trucking and trucker lingo kicked off a wave of CB radio sales, not just for truckers, but for regular car and home use. There is something cool about being able to talk like trucker, like you are “hip” to some secret code used by one of the most important industries in the United States.

If you’ve ever wanted to talk like a trucker, or simply understand the industry language, here are some key phrases to help you along.

  • 10-4: Got it, message received, OK
  • Alligator: Blown or discarded tire on the highway
  • Anteater: Kenworth T600 truck cab
  • Bear: Law enforcement officer
  • Big Road: Interstate highway
  • Black Eye: Headlight is not working
  • Bulldog: Mack truck cab
  • Buster Brown: UPS vehicle
  • Chicken Coop: Weigh station
  • Double Nickel: Going 55 miles per hour
  • Hundred Mile Coffee: Really strong coffee, preferably black
  • Got Your Ears On: Pay attention, listen up
  • Go-Go Juice: Diesel fuel
  • Reefer: Refrigerated truck trailer
  • Salt Shaker: A truck designed for salting highways in the winter
  • Skateboard: Flatbed trailer
  • Toothpicks: Shipments of lumber
  • Travel Agent: Truck dispatcher

To talk like a trucker, you also need to understand the nicknames for cities. Here are some of the major names truckers use for cities all over the United States:

  • A-Town: Atlanta, GA
  • B-Town: Birmingham, AL
  • Bean Town: Boston, MA
  • Beer Town: Milwaukee, WI
  • Big A: Amarillo, TX
  • Bright Lights: Kansas City, KS
  • Choo-Choo: Chattanooga, TN
  • Cigar City: Tampa, FL
  • Derby City: Louisville, KY
  • Gateway: St. Louis, MO
  • Guitar: Nashville, TN
  • Shaky Town: Los Angeles, CA
  • The Dome: Houston, TX
  • Windy City: Chicago, IL

These lists are a good start for people who want to understand and use trucker slang. Once you start to learn these terms, you will be able to listen in on, and even participate in, conversations with truckers.

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