Common Trucking Terms: Explained And Defined!

Common Trucking Terms

You might be starting your trucking career, overheard someone at a gas station, or maybe you have a friend who’s a trucker. Whatever the case may be, you might not have heard these common trucking terms before.

There are few better teachers than time, and it doesn’t take long to pick up the lingo. However, here’s a brief starter course on some of the most common terms.


This is a return load that will have the driver returning home or close to his company’s terminal.


This is trucker slang for a police officer! Most often referring to a state trooper or highway patrolman (due to the hat). You might also hear the term “Smokey” thrown around.

Bed Bugger

A slang term for a professional mover, or someone who specializes in household goods.

Belly Dump

Instead of raising its bed like a traditional dump truck, these unload through a hopper in the bottom of the truck.


A truck with no trailer!

CB Radio

Citizens Band radios are a short distance tool that allows communication between two people. They have been in use since the 1970s and are still used today.

Chimney Blocking

A specific loading method often used for pallets between 26 and 28. Pallets are loaded in an alternatively straight and turned 90 degrees.


The little triangle wedges that help prevent a truck from rolling while being loaded or unloaded.


At least one tractor and one trailer is a combination.


A weigh station or scale house.

Dead Heading

Driving an empty trailer to pick up a load. Companies and owner-operators typically don’t get paid for deadhead miles, though some company drivers may be paid for the mileage.

Dedicated Run

Highly sought after, these are runs that go to the same place, using the same route, with the same schedule. They usually go to the experienced or most senior truckers. You’ve got to earn them!

Double Bottom

Slang for a set of double trailers.


This means you must unload the freight yourself.


A type of light- or medium-duty trailer with a protruding neck.

Hanging Iron

Securing loads using chains or binders.

Hot Load

Urgent freight needs to be loaded and delivered ASAP.

In Bond

Any import or export freight that has not cleared customs.


Less-than-truckload is freight that consists of shipments from multiple customers who are consolidating their shipments into one truck.

Peddle Run

Most associated with LTL freight, peddle runs are jobs that require multiple pick-ups or drop-offs.


A trailer that can carry its own forklift, allowing it to load and unload on its own. This can also refer to rail-transported semi-trailers.

Slip Seating

Clearing out personal items from a truck so another driver can use it.

A Team

Two drivers working in tandem in the same truck. One drives while the other sleeps.

Yard Jockey

A spotter in the yard who shuttles trailers into and out of loading docks.

These are really just scratching the surface. If you want to learn more common trucking terms, there’s a pretty extensive list here.