Talkin' trucker on 10/4


This week's issue of The Sandy Post comes out on Oct. 4, or, as we Americans abbreviate it, 10/4. When many people hear the phrase '10-4,' a vision of a hardy trucker yapping into a CB radio comes to mind. Of course we know that '10-4' means 'OK' or 'copy,' but did you know that truckers have an entire lingo of their own? In the spirit of this day, 10/4, we thought we'd walk you through some of the big-wheel vernacular, courtesy of

There are a lot of law enforcement-related code words in the trucker's dictionary. Police officers are referred to as 'bears,' with a variety of prefixes and suffixes to the word. 'Baby bears' are rookie cops, a 'bear in the air' is a police helicopter, a parked officer with radar is a 'bear trap,' a police station is a 'bear cave,' a 'full-grown bear' is a highway patrol officer and a speeding car is 'bear bait.'

In other law-enforcement-related words, a 'county mounty' is a sheriff's deputy, a 'city kitty' is a city police officer, an 'Evel Knievel' is a motorcycle cop, and a 'clean shot' means the road is clear of police ahead, which you would determine by using a 'bird dog' (radar detector).

Speaking of animals such as birds and bears, an 'alligator' is a blown tire in the road - but don't confuse that with 'alligator radio,' which refers to someone on the CB who is 'all mouth and no ears.' Watch out for the 'bulldogs' (Mack trucks) and 'dragonflies' (the trucks that 'drag' up a hill and 'fly' down).

Let's talk speed. If you want someone to slow down, tell him to 'back 'em up' or 'back off the hammer.' If someone 'blows your doors off,' they have passed you at a great rate of speed. If you hear 'brake check,' watch out - traffic is slowing ahead, possibly to a stop.

If you head into 'Georgia overdrive,' you put the rig into neutral while going downhill to increase speed. You could also increase speed by putting the 'hammer down' or 'standing on it' (the fuel pedal, that is). Speed is for the 'hammer lane' (fast lane), not the 'granny lane.'

OK - do you think you have enough trucker terminology to translate a highway conversation? Try this back-and-forth between a driver and his dispatcher (if you give up, the answers are below):

DISPATCH: One-niner, check your back door. You've got a bulldog on a triple-digit ride who's about to blow your doors off. Back off the hammer; he's has shaken the bushes and there are plenty of full-grown bears and bears in the air.

DRIVER: Ten-four, travel agent. You're comin' in loud and proud. I'm pullin' my parking lot at double nickel toward the left coast, to Shaky Town. I might hit a Wally World before I hit the chicken coup in The Big D. See you at the yard.


DISPATCH: Mr. Jones, please look in your rear view mirror. There is a Mack Truck driving 100 mph who is about to pass you with great speed. Slow down; he has lured several law enforcement officers onto the highway, including highway patrolmen and helicopter police.

DRIVER: I understand, dispatch. Your CB signal is coming in clear. I am transporting my load of automobiles at 55 mph toward the West Coast, to Los Angeles. I may stop at a Wal-Mart before I get to the weigh station in Dallas. I shall see you at the trucking terminal.