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.
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."
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."
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."
Meaning: A driver who tailgates to excess. The driver is considered to be so close that they are stuck to your bumper like a sticker. Also known as a "hitchhiker."
Use It In A Sentence: "I wish I could get this bumper sticker off me. I need to take it slow on these snowy roads."