Trucker Talk: Do You Drive Truck or Are You a Truck Driver?

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Before I start my trucker talk rant, I want to preface the entire blog post by introducing myself. My name is Lenay, and I am a writer and podcast co-host here at AllTruckJobs. I was born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. For those of you not familiar with this little corner of the world, let me fill you in. First of all, Lancaster is notorious for having a large Plain community (but no, I’m not Amish), hearty Pennsylvania Dutch food – think whoopie pies, mashed potatoes, chicken pot pie – and very conservative culture. Secondly, I didn’t realize until I moved away and came back, but we talk kind of funny. So, no matter how hard I try to fight my roots, sometimes I use phrases that are not only grammatically incorrect, but other people don’t know what I’m saying. I feel this experience is similar to that of a truck driver. Trucker lingo is unique, and people outside of the industry don’t always understand it. So, we’ll delve into my weird trucker talk phrase, and then explore some others.

With that said, here at work, I am constantly using the phrase “drive truck.”

You need to get a CDL in order to drive truck.

Can you drive truck if you have sleep apnea?

My uncle drives truck.

So, my use of the phrase “drive truck” started a debate between my coworkers. Is the phrase “drive truck” simply trucker talk in Lancaster, or does it expand beyond that? Or, maybe it’s just my inner redneck coming out. I took to Facebook and created a poll.

Trucker Talk Facebook Poll: Do You Drive Truck or Are You a Truck Driver?

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Well, it turns out that in my poll, more people definitely voted for “I am a truck driver” vs. “I drive truck.” However, the people who did vote for “I drive truck,” weren’t all from Pennsylvania. There were quite a few Ohioans on the list. Furthermore, I was surprised to find a few people from Utah, South Dakota, and other places out west. Maybe they are transplants from Lancaster, or maybe this is just one of those phrases that truckers use. Aside from my poll, I also did some research online. I discovered some very interesting results in my search. For example, the phrase “drive truck” also has a very dirty connotation that has nothing to do with truck driving. However, I’ll spare you the details. Most importantly, I discovered that other people are wondering the same thing as me. Consequently, through all of my investigating, I learned two things.

  1. Only use this phrase when talking to or about people in the trucking industry.
  2. Thankfully, I’m not the only one who says “drive truck.”

“Drive truck” is one of many phrases related to the trucking industry. Therefore, let’s delve into some other things you’ll hear during trucker talk.

Trucker Talk: Top Phrases Truckers Use

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Want to hear more from Lenay? Tune into an episode of AllTruckJobs’ trucking podcast, Big Rig Banter!

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Here is a list of my personal favorite phrases that truckers use! First, we’ll start with some of the most obvious ones.

Obvious Phrases That Truckers Use

  • Back door – Behind you
  • Back off the hammer – Slow down
  • Big slab or big road – The interstate
  • Blew my doors off – Passed by really fast
  • Brake check – The traffic up ahead is slowing down
  • Four wheeler – A car
  • Granny lane – Slow lane
  •  Hammer lane – Fast lane
  • Hammer down – Move faster
  • Salt shaker – Snowplow

Now, let’s delve into the less obvious ones… for example, in trucker talk, a deadhead is not someone who listens to a lot of Grateful Dead music.

Lesser-Know Trucker Phrases

  •  Deadhead – Drive an empty truck and trailer to pick up a load somewhere else
  • Comedian – Center median strip
  • Comic book – A trucker’s log book
  • Diesel Cop – DOT
  • Hand – Driver
  • Motion lotion – Diesel
  • Pickle park – Rest area
  • Shake the bushes – Goes ahead of the other trucks to lure out the cops
  • Yard – Trucking Terminal
  • Yard stick – Mile marker

There are also situations where truckers talk with numbers.

Trucker Talk with Numbers

  • 10-4 – Ok/copy
  • 10-22 – There’s an emergency
  • 10-20 – Location
  • 10-36 – What’s the correct time?

Some of the phrases are actually pretty funny.

Funny Phrases Truckers Say

  • County Mounty – Sherriff
  • Comin in loud and proud – Strong CB signal
  • Bumper sticker – A car too close to the bumper
  • Cash register – Toll booth
  •  Greasy side up – A car that’s flipped with its wheels in the air
  •  Meat-wagon – The ambulance

And a few others to include, just because I didn’t know them before.

Other Sayings and Trucker Talk

  • Catch ya on the flip flop – See you on the return trip
  • Clean shot – There are no police ahead
  • City Kitty – City police
  • Double nickel – 55 miles per hour
  • Evil Kenevil – Motorcycle cop
  • Flip flop – U-turn
  • Left coast – West coast

Want to learn more about trucker talk? Check out this list of trucker nicknames for all of the states, as well as all of the animal-related trucker lingo out there!

As someone who drives truck, what’s your favorite or most-used phrase? Share with me in the comments below!

Author: Lenay Ruhl

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