Trailer Talk: Trucker Lingo and Phrases

Growing up, nearly every single on of us has a memory of passing a tractor trailer on the roadway and motioning for them to honk their horn. It was a game for long car rides, or a challenge on the school bus. No matter where you experienced this, it is a visceral image we can almost all recall. However, while we can all recall the ‘honking’ game bit of trailer talk, you might not realize that there are plenty of other phrases that truckers themselves might use to communicate a number of different things. From police on the roadway, to emergencies, and different destinations— there seems to be a common phrase for everything.

Trailer Talk: Commonly Used Phrases

Popular Terms

First of all, when it comes to trailer talk, these are the most common terms:

  • 10-4: Usually used to signify acknowledgment, but can also be used in agreement
  • 10-6: Basically saying, “I’m busy, please hold”
  • 10-7: The trailer talk equivalent of an AIM away message. “I’m done for the night, signing off!”
  • 10-8: En-route. Usually used when saying you’re on the way to a location.
  • 10-9: Repeat your last message, I did not receive it. 
  • 10-20: 20 denotes a location. In fact, it can be used to inform others of your location or ask others for their “20”.
  • 10-33: This term is used to clear the channel for emergency traffic.
  • 10-100: This means you’re taking a potty break!
  • Runnin’you across: The weigh station is open and moving quickly

Law Enforcement

Second, in order to let other trucks know about nearby law enforcement, there is certain trailer talk to talk about just that. Then, they don’t need to guess what is ahead of them on the road!

  • Evel Knievel: a police officer on a motorcycle
  • Mama Bear: A female police officer
  • Papa Bear: A police officer with a CB radio
  • Baby Bear: A rookie police officer
  • Bear Trap: A speed trap
  • Bear bite: A speeding ticket
  • Fox in the hen house: An unmarked police vehicle
  • Full-grown bear: State trooper
  • Flying doughnut: A police helicopter


​Finally, when it comes to trailer talk, some of it focuses merely on places you might be going. In fact, some slang is for locations of truck drivers or their destinations only, so they can communicate with other drivers.

  • Gateway: St. Louis, Missouri
  • Lost Wages: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Mardi Gras: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Bingotown: Binghamton, New York
  • Beantown: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Motor City: Detroit, Michigan
  • Stack of Bricks: a house or home
  • Spud Town: Boise, Idaho
  • Windy City: Chicago, Illinois 

Essential Truck Features

It’s important to make sure that your truck is prepared before you head out on the road. While some specifics might vary from driver to driver, there are some essential truck features that you should make sure are taken care of. These are the kind of things that you wouldn’t want to leave without…

Essential Truck Features: Top Priorities

Good tires

A good set of tires are some of the most essential truck features to have in good shape. The old saying “you get what you pay for” is certainly true for truck tires. You shouldn’t settle for cheaper tires to save only a few bucks.

Instead, investing in good quality tires will keep you safe and avoid frequent replacements. Stick to the well-trusted brands and follow their recommendations for proper use. Check them frequently to make sure they are still in good shape. Furthermore, consider all-weather or snow tires if you’re driving in icy or snowy places. 

The right lights

Proper lighting is one of those essential truck features that is useful at night and during the day. Break lights, headlights, running lights. and turn signals all should be in working order before you set out. Make sure to check that they are as bright as they should be so other drivers can see them.

Your lights have multiple purposes when on the road. Lights allow you to see the road and they let other drivers see you as well. They also indicate your intentions to other drivers. This is why it’s important to make sure they are working properly at all times. 

Clear mirrors

Mirrors are considered to be essential truck features, but they often get overlooked. Good mirrors let you see around your truck and avoid accidents. They can also help you with parking and other maneuvers.

However, mirrors may require a bit more maintenance than other features. You’ll have to make sure to clean them off if they get too much dirt and grime buildup. You’ll also have to make sure they’re in the right position before driving. The benefits that good mirrors give you makes this maintenance well worth it.

Taking care of the truck essentials will make your trips much more safer. Give these components a check the next time you’re getting ready to head out to make your driving experience all the more enjoyable.

Bobtail Trucks: How They Differ

You might assume that driving a truck without its trailer would be easier than driving with it. However, driving these bobtail trucks can actually be more risky than you’d expect. Driving bobtail requires one to be focused and aware of how their truck changes…

Bobtail Trucks: Driving Safely

Understand the Risk

As mentioned before, bobtail trucks are trucks which are driving without a trailer attached. At first glance, this may appear to be the safest way to drive these trucks. The trucks look like they should preform even better without the added weight of the trailer. However, it turns out this isn’t quite the case.

The added weight of a trailer helps a truck keep all its tires on the road. Removing these trailers then places all the weight on the front two tires of the truck. This means truck drivers will have to be aware of how differently their truck will handle while driving bobtail.

Ease on the brakes

Truck drivers normally have to use some force when they want to brake. However, with bobtail trucks, braking becomes a different story. Hitting the brakes hard could result in your truck flipping over due to the unbalanced weight. It helps to visualize it like you’re riding a bike. You’ll flip your bike if you brake with all the weight on the front wheel, and the same idea applies with bobtail trucks.

To avoid this, you should try to ease on the brakes instead. This will help keep the truck grounded and come to a safer stop. Furthermore, this helps the truck come to a stop sooner as well. You might also want to avoid other braking methods like engine braking when driving bobtail. 

Check you clearance

Something else to keep in mind is your truck’s clearance when driving bobtail. Truck drivers know they have to make sure their clearance is at a level that allows them to pass under bridges or through tunnels. A trailer actually helps lower a truck’s clearance. The added weight helps to push the truck just a bit lower to the ground than usual. 

However, without this added weight, your truck might have raised back up in height. That’s why it helps to double-check your clearance just in case. After all, you wouldn’t want to realize your truck’s too tall after its too late!

Common Truck Part Questions

You might have a lot of questions when you have to get some work done on your truck. From handling a breakdown to costs, you can feel pretty lost, especially if you need new parts. Some common truck part questions tend to throw many drivers for a loop. Knowing the answers to these questions can help you make the best decision for your truck’s needs…

Common Truck Part Questions: Tractor Trailer Safety

Are more expensive parts better?

Everyone knows of the age-old saying “you get what you pay for”. However, sometimes this isn’t always the case. This explains why wondering if the more expensive parts are always better is one of the common truck part questions.

The answer is that more pricey parts don’t always mean better performance. Sometimes, these parts will be more intricate, and end up being more likely to break down the line. This means that future repairs will also be more costly. Ultimately, it’s a good idea to do some research and asking around for what parts will give you the most bang for your buck.

Are aftermarket parts safe?

Another one of the common truck part questions is in regards to aftermarket parts. Aftermarket parts can be an appealing option, as they tend to be cheaper than manufacturer parts. However, this raises concerns over what kind of “catch” might come with that.

Aftermarket parts usually enter the market without going under safety tests. This means that their quality could be sub-par at best. These parts are often stand-alone, meaning they might not properly fit or work with the rest of your truck’s systems. Overall, manufacturer parts are usually a better, safer option. 

Rebuilt vs. re-manufactured

One of the common truck part questions which is similar to the previous is the difference between rebuilt and re-manufactured parts. On the surface, the two terms appear to mean similar, if not the same thing. However, there is a quite distinct difference between them.

Re-manufactured parts are completely taken apart to fix whatever issue they had. Rebuilt parts only fix the main issue with them. This could mean that the rebuilt parts might still have issues which aren’t immediately noticeable.

Female Truckers

Like most industries that are predominately male, women in truck driving are automatically labeled female truckers, and not just truckers. Women face this in plumbing, in medicine, and all over other sorts of careers. But is that gender label the only adversity women face in trucking?

Female Truckers: Combatting Struggles

Breaking the Stereotype

Since the Baby Boomers have all retired, there has been a need for truck drivers. Women have began filling the open spots, taking advantage of the lucrative career choice that is trucking. Some companies have also began recruiting female truckers! These campaigns are a great way for women to feel welcome in this new field.

Additionally, women are notoriously better drivers! Safety wise, there are less accidents or issues with female truckers. Whether driving in teams or solo, women are proving there is a place for them in the trucking industry.

Safety Issues

While women should be able to do any job without fear, sometimes female truckers face trouble because they are simply that: women. While safety is an issue for all women, regardless of industry, female truckers should be aware of their surroundings. It is best to not stop at night in unfamiliar or unlit areas. You should also not roll down your window for anyone other than law enforcement or people you know.

Respect Issues

Bad attitudes clutter every stop and dock. Do not let the bad attitudes of these few ruin the amazing career path that is trucking. female truckers are strong, independent, and awesome. If you face criticism from some, don’t let it get to you. If you focus on your work, you will become more efficient and your employer will notice!

Work/Home Balance

For anyone in trucking, creating a balance between home and work is difficult. For men and women in trucking, using technology like Skype and FaceTime makes it easier to stay connected with your family and friends.

As trucking becomes more and more popular, you might not be the only woman at the truck stop for long! Female truckers are growing in popularity, and hopefully soon they’ll simply be labeled as “truckers”… Just like the rest of them.  

CDL Training: Before You Start…

The trucking industry is evolving with the development of new technology. Therefore, many companies are facing an issue they never have before: driver shortages. Perhaps you know about all the benefits companies are offering their drivers now. In order to maintain competitive, companies are offering paid time off, 401k’s, benefits, and dedicated home time. If all of these things sound good and you are ready to get a new start, here’s what you need to know about CDL training.

CDL Training: What to Know

The Basics

In order for you to begin your CDL training, you will need a few different things. For starters, you will need a reasonably clean driving and criminal record, a clean drug/alcohol history, a clean bill of health, and a recent & verifiable work history.

Driving History

Before you begin your CDL training, make sure you’ll be able to continue. Moving violations, along with tickets regarding insurance and registration, all add up to be big red flags for trucking companies. If you know about tickets on your record, make sure you be upfront about them.

Employment History

Your employment history is important for future employers. This record is an indication of the type of employee you are. Especially if you are pursuing a paid CDL training program, employers will want to make sure the investment is worth it.

Drug/Alcohol History

You might have had problems with drugs and alcohol recently. Therefore, a CDL training program might not be the best idea for you right now. When driving is involved, drugs and alcohol can become major safety concerns.

Criminal History

Past criminal offenses should be taken into consideration before beginning CDL training. Someone who has an assault charge might have a short fuse and get irrationally angry. Others might have a theft charge, making them unlikely to be trustworthy with company equipment. It’s important that if you do have minor charges on your record that you are transparent during the application process.

If you feel like you have a clean history and have an interest in starting a career in trucking, that’s great! Before you begin a CDL training program, you should ask yourself if the trucking lifestyle is one you are willing to lead. It isn’t easy, and there’s a lot of time spent on the road.