Culture
275 voters

Here's The Trucker Slang You Need To Maneuver A Wiggle Wagon In The 50-Dollar Lane

Updated September 23, 2021 2.3k votes 275 voters 20.5k views21 items

List RulesLong haul truck drivers and CB radio enthusiasts only: vote up the slang and jargon real truckers use on the job.

If you've ever been to a doctor, flown on a plane, or gone out to eat, you've probably recognized that different industries often have their own specialized lingo. And as you'll see from this list of terms used by truckers, those fearless drivers of big rigs also communicate using a language all their own. Much of this industry speak simply offers truckers more succinct ways of relaying information over their citizens' band (CB) radios. After all, when you're driving an 18-wheeler full of flammable products through the Rocky Mountains, for example, you've got to be in full control of your truck at all times. Sometimes using full-length words prolongs communication and adds extra risk - and sometimes it's just plain boring.

But some trucker terms are clever code words - covert ways for drivers to alert one another to things like hidden highway patrol cars, the nearest pit stops, and other motorists they should keep an eye on. All of this goes to show that every career field is specialized in its way, and learning the industry shorthand makes it much easier to do one's job. Buckle yourself in and take a closer at how truckers speak. 

Photo:
  • 1

    Bear

    Meaning: A police officer. "Bear" comes from the trucker slang term "Smokey Bear," which denotes a state trooper. Because of their hats, troopers are thought to resemble Smokey Bear.

    Use It In A Sentence: "There's a bear up ahead right after the state line, so you might want to slow down."

    219
    18
    Is this real trucker slang?
  • 2

    Alligator/Gator

    Meaning: A piece of blown tire tread on the road. The name stems from the scaly, jagged look of shredded big rig tires. Gators can sever the brake lines of older trucks, but newer models have special protections in place to avoid this.

    Use It In A Sentence: "I blew out two tires at the same time and left a bunch of gators behind."

    183
    19
    Is this real trucker slang?
  • 3

    Bear In The Air

    Meaning: A police aircraft used to monitor traffic. 

    Use It In A Sentence: "I was cruising along at 90 miles per hour without a care in the world until I was spotted by a bear in the air." 

    162
    15
    Is this real trucker slang?
  • 4

    Bear Bait

    Meaning: A speeding car. Most often, a speeding passenger vehicle that inadvertently "protects" the other vehicles speeding behind it from ticket-happy bears.

    Use It In A Sentence: "He flew past me, easily doing 90. But the joke's on him because he was bear bait and helped the whole convoy notch up our speed."

    155
    17
    Is this real trucker slang?