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