Learn CB Radio Slang

CB radio (short for citizen's band radio) has been around for decades. Although it reached its cultural peak in the US during the 1970s, the Internet and cell phones have largely replaced CB radios.

Except with truck drivers. And with people who needed to communicate during the last several rounds of hurricanes. It turns out the inexpensive, easy to use CB radio still enjoys a devoted fan base. If you travel, or are looking for a great emergency backup line of communication, a CB radio could be the answer.

But what happens when you get on the highway, turn on your shiny new CB radio and begin to listen? If you hear what sounds like a foreign language, don't despair: It's CB radio slang.

CB radio users, particularly truckers, have developed an entire dictionary of terms and phrases to describe road conditions and traffic situations. If you were to pick up a CB microphone, and begin spouting these terms, you'd be branded the rankest amateur. But knowing some of these phrases could come in handy if you are trying to avoid congestion or the dreaded speed trap.

Traffic Related Terms

  • Alligator: Tread from the tire of an 18-wheeler on the road
  • Bunny Hopper: Lane Changer
  • Clean Shot: Road ahead is free of obstructions, construction, and police
  • Dropped it off the shoulder: Ran off the side of the highway
  • Fender bender; Traffic accident
  • Flag waver: Highway repair crew
  • Mile Marker: Milepost on interstate highways
  • Parking Lot: Traffic jam
  • Peel your eyeballs: Be on the lookout
  • Rolling roadblock: A construction vehicle moving at a slow speed
  • Rubberneckers: On-lookers, typically at an accident scene
  • Wear your bumper out: Following too close

Number Codes

  • 10-4: Ok, message received
  • 10-9 :  Repeat message
  • 10-13: Advise weather conditions
  • 10-20: My location is… (e.g. "What's your twenty?")
  • 10-36: The correct time
  • 10-100: Restroom stop

Police References
As truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road, a majority of CB slang has to do with highway patrols and police officers:

  • Bit on the seat of the britches:  Got tagged for a speeding ticket
  • Bear Den:  Police headquarters
  • Bear in the Air:  Speed checked by an airplane or helicopter
  • Boy Scouts:  The state police
  • County Mounties:  Sheriff's patrol
  • Kojak with a Kodak:  Police running radar
  • Nightcrawlers:  Many police in the area
  • Paperhanger:  Police giving ticket
  • Plain white wrapper:  Unmarked police cruiser
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