Terms of a Truck Driver

So you think you have what it takes to be a big rig driver? You took the classes, did your training, got your rig and purchased some 18 wheeler insurance. That’s all great. But there will always be things that many new drivers may not know. For one, truck drivers have a very distinct lingo and speaking style. You could get a radioed by another driver who tells you there’s an “alligator up ahead.” No, the driver isn’t talking about the amphibious reptile. If you do become a driver, you’re going to have to know how to communicate properly. Below are few common terms that every big rig driver should know.


  • 10-4 - An acknowledgement meaning “Yes”
  • Alligator - Shredded tire tread from an 18-wheeler
  • Back Door - Behind you or to the rear
  • Back it Down - Reduce your speed
  • Bobtailing - Operating a rig without a trailer
  • Cat Walk - Area between the cab of the truck and the trailer
  • Clean Shot - When the road ahead is clear of construction, police, or any obstructions
  • Convoy - A group of trucks traveling together
  • Copy - Radio transmission received
  • Doubles - Double Trailers
  • Flip-Flop - A U-turn
  • Gear Slammer - A truck driver who accelerates and decelerates quickly
  • Greasy - Describes a road that is icy and slippery


  • Hammer Lane -Left (Fast) lane of traffic
  • Motion Lotion - Fuel
  • Negative - No
  • Neighbor - Other truckers 
  • Oversize Load - A cargo unit that exceeds legal limitations for length, width, weight, or height
  • Parking Lot - A truck carrying automobiles
  • Pup - A shorter semi-trailer with a single axle
  • Reefer - A refrigerated cargo trailer
  • Rollover - A wreck in which the rig turns over
  • Running Team - Two drivers working together in one truck, alternating between driving and sleeping
  • Skate Board - A flatbed trailer
  • Stage Stop - A truck stop
  • Throwin' iron - Installing tire chains
  • Weigh station - A scale located alongside a highway where all trucks must be weighed to determine their compliance with government weight and length regulations