We’ve all heard it in many movies over the years: “Break 1-9 for a radio check”, “I’m heading to the chicken coup”, “catch you on the flip flop” and more. Is this made up for Hollywood? Actually, for the most part, no. Truckers have and make good use of CB radio to relay information and stay connected during the long solo hours on the road. As with any culture, a private lingo has arisen that can sound like a mystery to an outsider. What’s a chicken coup? Or a bear? Or a yard stick? Read on for a brief course in talking like a trucker.
What is CB?
CB radio, or citizens band radio, is an open radio network that anyone with the correct equipment can connect to and use. It is open, and many amateur operators enjoy spending time discussing things with distant people. Truckers specifically make good use of the CB radio system. The CB system is in fact all truckers had for communication prior to cell phones and is still heavily used today. Truckers actually have their own channel, though there is no way to lock out others. In fact, scammers often try to use the CB radio to try and lure in truckers as a mark. Generally, however, truckers use the radio to discuss the location of law enforcement, the weather in areas they are heading towards, and how bad traffic is or how other drivers on the road are behaving. Having a method of communication is also a good way to maintain focus on the road and keep from zoning out over the long miles.
Examples of Trucker Speak
Some trucker lingo is leftover from an age long gone when the radio had a system of 10-codes. The most commonly still used one is “10-4” which means OK. There is also lingo reserved for talking about their rigs, “chicken lights” are extra lights on a rig, and for discussing how the truck is running, “wipin’ her feet” refers to a rig slipping and sliding. There is also lots of lingo surrounding cops (“bear” means a cop, and “weight cop” means D.O.T.) and other drivers (usually referred to as “four wheeler”). Finally, some lingo is just for conversation. “ Break 1-9 for a radio check” means they’re testing their radio. “Hello, come in” means that they hear you loud and clear. “Stay loaded” is a way to give well wishes, essentially meaning go make that money and deliver your cargo on time.
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