Appendix:Glossary of truck terminology

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Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



  • highway patrol, bear: law enforcement officer, particularly at the state (USA) or province level
  • backdoor : a slower truck that maintains the rear of a convoy/train. Keeps an eye out for bears from behind.
  • belt highway (USA) : circular route / ring road (GB)
  • belly dump (USA) : A trailer that discharges its load from the bottom, usually gravel
  • big wheel man : a trucker
  • black and white: law enforcement officer, particularly at the city level (named for the generally black and white color scheme of their vehicles)
  • blow-out : burst tire
  • bobtail / riding bobtail / unit only / solo : driving a tractor unit without a trailer
  • bonded warehouse : a warehouse controlled by customs
  • bonnet (GB) : hood (USA)
  • bowser : small tanker truck used for refuelling plant and machinery
  • box : any container, often refers to an ISO container
  • B-road (GB) : secondary highway (some B-roads are impassable for heavy vehicles)
  • B-train : tractor with two semi-trailers
  • B double (Australia) Prime Mover(tractor) pulling one 6 metre tri axle trailer and

one 12 metres tri axle trailer.

  • B triple, as above but towing additional 12 metre tri Axle,legal outside Metro areas
  • bull bar / roo bar (AUS) : (usually chrome) bars on the front of a truck
  • bulk cargo/bulk : loose cargo (not packaged)
  • bulkhead : firewall
  • bump the dock (USA) : To deliver a load; complete the carriage contract.
  • bunkering : refuelling (nautical term)



  • day cab : a short cab without a bunk or sleeping compartment
  • deadhead : power unit moving without load
  • demurrage : daily fee assessed when notified/offered equipment exceeds allowed free days at a barge or rail yard.
  • depot : distribution hub, facilitates downstreaming of materials and said transport
  • DERV (Diesel engined road vehicle) : Diesel oil
  • desperado : Usually a truck driver that has been pulled over by more than one bear at the same time.
  • dispatcher : coordinator of routing and delivery/pickup scheduling usually within a specific region/area using pool of power, drivers, etc.
  • divided highway (USA) : divided road (AUS) / dual carriageway (GB)
  • dock leveller : steel plate so that goods can be rolled on or off a truck onto a dock
  • dolly(trailer)]], 1(axle) / diabolo : axle assembly sometimes used for towing semi-trailers also known as a converter, also known as a jifflox
  • dolly (trailer), 2 axles.Used in Australia for linking up to three trailers in Road Trains.Consists of dual axle trailer with draw bar and turn table mounted on top.
  • dolly 2(knot) / trucker’s dolly : a knot used by truckers when using ropes for load restraint
  • DOT : department of transportation (Canada and USA)
  • downtime : time when a vehicle is out of service
  • drag : trailer
  • drop : empty or loaded equipment (ie: container) dropped at site, transporter to come back later for pickup.
  • drop a trailer : leave fixed axle unit at a site, power/truck bobtails (deadhead) departs.
  • dropside : side panels which can be hinged down for loading
  • dual carriageway (GB) : divided highway (USA)
  • dumpster (USA)non-intermodal bin for waste, usually steel and in low yard capacities : skip (GB)
  • dunnage : empty return skids, plywood, and other shipping materials left in container/trailer/van.




  • gator : blown-out truck tire left-overs on road-side
  • glad-hand coupling : palm coupling
  • glory hole : public bathroom with a hole cut between stalls for the purpose of male homosexual activity (usa)
  • glow plug : preheater to aid starting a cold engine
  • good buddy : a term that used to mean friend, it has been adopted by the homosexual community as a term for soliciting gay male sex
  • goods : merchandise
  • granny lane : right lane, slowest moving lane (usa)
  • grease monkey : a fitter
  • greasy spoon : a dingy café
  • green card 1 (Europe) : motor insurance certificate
  • green card 2 (USA) : residence permit
  • groupage : several consignments grouped together in one vehicle to be sorted before delivery
  • G.T.W. : gross train weight
  • gunshot : loaded breadthways
  • gunshot and roll : loaded lengthways and breadthways alternately
  • G.V.W./gvw/GVW : gross vehicle weight
  • GV9 (GB) : temporary prohibition to run an unsafe vehicle


  • hand : slang for driver
  • hammer : accelerate (mashing on the pedal real hard); accelerator
  • hammer lane : left lane on a four lane road (US)
  • handball : loose cargo to be manhandled
  • handle : CB callsign
  • haulage : trucking
  • haulage contractor : (road) haulier
  • hazchem : hazardous chemicals
  • hazmat : hazardous material
  • hazpak : hazardous goods in packages
  • HGV (heavy goods vehicle) : a truck
  • hit the pin : to check that vehicles are coupled correctly by trying to drive forwards before releasing the trailer brake.



  • jackknifing : accidental folding of an articulated vehicle
  • Jake brake / Jacobs brake : engine brake
  • juggernaut (GB) : offensive word for a truck (first used by those who were campaigning against trucks; not used by people in the industry)


  • kilometre : 0.6 miles approx. (100 km =62 miles) literally one thousand meters
  • King pin




  • night heater : parking heater (a cab heater which runs on diesel that keeps the cab warm when the engine is not running)
  • night trunk : regular line between cities at night
  • nipple : the shape of the fifth wheel opening to connect the tractor with the trailer is shaped like an erect female nipple.
  • normal control / conventional : a truck with the cab behind the engine compartment. See cabover.
  • nose : the front of a trailer


  • odometer : mile or kilometer counter
  • offload : unload
  • oversize (AUS, USA) : abnormal load / wide load



  • range change : gearbox with low and high range
  • ratchet strap : strap for load restraint tightened by a ratchet
  • reefer : refrigerated vehicle or refrigerated container
  • relais routiers : the French equivalent of a transport café (usually offering a fixed-price all-you-can-eat evening meal)
  • retarder / Telma / telma : electro-magnetic device for slowing a vehicle down without using the wheel brakes
  • return load office : agency or clearing house for return loads
  • rig 1 : a combination of vehicles (any truck coupled up to its trailer or trailers)
  • rig 2 : a CB Radio transceiver
  • rigid (vehicle) / straight truck : truck that does not normally tow a trailer)
  • ring road (GB) / circular route : belt highway (USA) ;
  • roadblock : slow moving truck that has innate ability to cause rolling traffic jams. usually operated by large, well paid drivers. see also Roadway express.
  • road train : truck towing more than one trailer.In Australia,these can be up to four tri axle trailers long and have a total of 82 wheels,significantly bigger than the 18 wheelers the Americans drive
  • Roadway Express : a company with large, slow moving trucks. usually pulling doubles (two pups). the slowest trucks on the road. 62mph. see also RoadBlock, see also speed bump
  • rocking chair: a truck in between the front and back door trucks. (High rates of speed and drafting, this position gets a rocking effect from the wind)
  • roller cage : a cage with casters for transporting loose items
  • roo bar (AUS) : bull bar
  • rope spanner (GB - humoristic) : penknife
  • RORO : roll-on-roll-off


  • scale : public regulatory or private pay per use device for weighing trucks and truck loads
  • semi-trailer : a trailer without a front axle (the front is supported by a tractor unit or a dolly : semi-trailers have legs to support them when uncoupled)
  • service road : frontage road
  • to shunt : to manoeuvre trailers or to do a local shuttle service
  • shunt : rear-end collision
  • shunter : (GB) Vehicle used in yard specifically for manoeuvring trailers
  • skate board : a flat bed trailer
  • skeletal trailer : semi-trailer for carrying containers
  • skin (GB Scotland) = fly sheet
  • skip (GB) : dumpster (USA)
  • sleeper cab : cab with a bunk or sleeping compartment
  • solo / riding bobtail / tractor unit only
  • spanner (GB) : wrench (USA)
  • speed bump : a very slow vehicle. Used to refer to Swift Trans, but JB Hunt is the slowest now.
  • splitter : switch on gear shift lever which splits each gear in two
  • spreadover / daily spreadover : the amount of time from the start to the end of a driver’s shift
  • standby / driver standby : time exceeding the drayman's alloted free time for load/unload.
  • stone : 14 lb (6,3kg) (a 4 stone bag is about 25 kg)
  • straight truck (USA) : rigid truck
  • super single : wide tyre used instead of twin tyres
  • SUV : sport utility vehicle
  • suzi : flexible coupling
  • Sylvester / Warwick : chain tensioner / tensioner


  • tachograph : black box (also known as the spy in the cab)
  • tachograph disc : disc inserted into the tachograph which records *time, speed and distance
  • tail-lift : tailgate which doubles as an elevator for goods
  • tailgate : back door of a truck which hinges at the top or bottom
  • tanker : a semi-trailer designed for the transport of liquid, usually gasoline or milk
  • to tailgate / tailgating : driving too closely to the preceding vehicle
  • tank transporter : low loader for military vehicles
  • tare : weight of empty vehicle or container
  • tautliner : curtain sided trailer
  • tilt : covered trailer that can be sealed by the customs for *international transport
  • TIR cable : a cable for sealing a tilt
  • TIR carnet : a permit to drive across frontiers
  • TIR tilt / tilt : trailer that can be sealed by the customs for *international transport
  • ton 1 (GB) : long ton = 2 240 pounds (1 016kg)
  • ton 2 (USA) : short ton =2 000 pounds (907 kg)
  • ton 3 / tonne : metric ton =1 000kg (2 205 lb)
  • tonne : metric tonne
  • tow truck/towtruck : truck for towing light vehicles
  • tractor (unit) / tractive unit : prime mover for pulling semi-trailers
  • to tramp : picking up and delivering to any destination



  • yard jockey : Operator of Yard Truck
  • yard truck : Small tractor (usually one rear axle), mainly confined to on site shuttling of trailers to and from loading docks.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]