Just Doing a Radio Check: 10-4!

Driver 1: “Breaker. MacTruck handle here just doing a radio check. 10-4”
Driver 2: “VinDiesel can hear you coming in loud and proud MacTruck.”
Driver 1: “I’m on the granny lane doing a double nickel. What’s your 10-20?”
Driver 2: “Driving behind a parking lot at The Dome.”
Driver 1: “Copy that. See you on the flip flop. Over and out.”

Was that a real conversation? As a matter of fact it is. That’s the verbal exchange truck drivers have while on the road. They are using ‘truckie slang’ – a kind of language that is predominant used in the truck driving circles.

Trucker slang, is basically just your regular CB (Citizens Band) Radio lingo. Truckers generally use CB Radio to communicate with one another and the CB jargon was picked up. CB lingo / Truck slang became popular in the 1970’s because this was featured and glamorized in several big screen films such as “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Black Dog”, as well as mainstream television programs. Truck slang is still used now and, as with any language (formal or otherwise) it has evolved to include words and terminologies that are more appropriate for today’s society.

Truck driving slang is very colorful and entertaining to listen to. It’s quite easy to pick up on but, unfortunately, unlike formal languages there are not any truck driving slang classes that are open for enrollment. Truck driving schools do not offer this as a separate course, nor are there any training manuals, books and audio tapes available to use as a learning resource.

The best way to learn truckie slang is to just jump in and be immersed in the language. Tune into CB airwaves and listen. Try to glean the meaning behind the words before asking questions. If queries are necessary, always be polite when interrupting. Profanities and other vulgar CB terms are to be avoided as truckers generally discourage this. Learn the “10 codes” such as 10-4 (message received / OK / copy), 10-20 (your location), 10-9 (repeat), and others. The 10-codes used by police and fire departments are the same ones used by truckers. Although formal books on truck driver lingo have not been printed, there are websites that list down commonly used trucker lingo and its meaning.

Do it slowly and when interrupting, it is usually polite to say “Breaker, Green Apple” so those on the same CB channel would be aware that a beginner is on air. As with anything, the key to being good at trucker lingo is to keep practicing.

So what was that exchange all about? Basically, Driver 1, (MacTruck) announces his presence and introduces himself on a channel (Breaker. MacTruck handle). He asks those on the channel if his radio is working (doing a radio check). Driver 2 (VinDiesel) responds by identifying himself and confirms that MacTruck’s CB signal is strong (coming in loud and proud). MacTruck then says he’s driving on the slow lane (granny lane), doing 55 miles per hour (double nickel), and asks for VinDiesel’s location (10-20). VinDiesel then says he’s driving behind another truck that transports cars (parking lot) at Houston, Texas The Dome). MacTruck acknowledges and will just see VinDiesel on his return trip (see you on the flip flop).

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