Convoy Creatures: The Wild Words of Trucking

Convoy Creatures: The Wild Words of Trucking
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Although there’s lots of alone time on the road, truckers are always communicating via their CB radios. Whether traveling in a convoy or passing others on the road, there’s always something to say within the limited signal range.

Truckers ought to at least be familiar with the 10-codes. However, beyond the standard jargon, there’s a world of slang with some pretty wild words for everyday encounters on the road.

As a rookie, hearing the seasoned vets speaking this slang like their birth-language may intimidate you. Overtime you’ll pick up most of phrases after hearing them used in context — but sometimes you may need a little bit of briefing before you realize your fellow truckers aren’t just making it up as they go along.

So like I said — there are some pretty wild words out there. Oddly enough, trucker slang seems to anthropomorphize what’s seen on the road in ways that are usually pretty amusing. Get ready for a safari through a trucker’s animal kingdom:


This Ain’t Your Usual Animal Planet


Anteaters – A term for the Kenworth T-600, named for its sloped hood. This was one of the first trucks designed to be more aerodynamic, so it definitely stood out when it hit the road in 1984.

The new Kenworth T-680

The new Kenworth T-680


Alligators – Refers to a piece of tire on the road resembling the reptile. You’ll want to watch that they don’t bounce up and “bite you,” — damaging your hoses, belts, fuel crossover lines, or other vehicles!


Image from


Bambi – Whether dead or alive, you’ll be sure to see your share of deer throughout the country. These creatures cause over $1 billion dollars in vehicle damage every year, so you’ll want to take heed when someone alerts you of some “bambi at your front door.”



Bear – Depending on where you are in the country, this term might seem a little out of place, but that’s because it refers to a law enforcement official, usually a State Trooper or Highway Patrol. A bear may be “in the bushes” — hiding with a radar gun — or “in the air” with speed monitoring aircraft. Again, it’s best not to get bitten (speeding ticket)!



Bobtail – Referring to a tractor without its trailer attached, just like the stubby tail of those forest-dwelling felines… sort of.



Donkey – If there’s a “bear on your donkey,” it isn’t a prey scene from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom — it’s basically saying “there’s a cop on your ass.” Very clever indeed.



Dragonfly – If you’re driving a truck with no power, especially heading uphill, other drivers may call your rig a “dragonfly” — quick and nimble until it comes to the heavy lifting.



Lot Lizards – Although they’re not everywhere, it’s possible you may encounter a lot lizard (prostitute) once you’ve stopped the rig for the night. It can be a desperate lifestyle to lead for many men and women, so avoiding these situations is usually for the best! A 2008 feature on FOX25 News gave a look into this problem.



Mud Duck – If you’ve got a really weak or poor signal on your CB, that’s what we call a mud duck. You’ll want to do some troubleshooting in order to keep your communication open and efficient!



Pigtail – This is your cable used to transmit electrical power from the tractor to the trailer. A working pigtail ensures that your trailer lights stay on, keeping you and other drivers safe.



Image from Santa Fe Supply.Com


Hopefully by now you’re aware of just how diverse these “convoy creatures” really are – from reptiles to the beasts of burden, you’ll be sure to speak like a pro after a walk on the wild side!


Author: Hit The Road Jack

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