Learn the CB radio lingo

Learn the CB radio lingo

April 11, 2023

Are you familiar with CB slang? Do you know your Evil Knievels from your flying doughnuts? If not, have a read through our guide below and you’ll avoid being a mud duck and instead be 10-8 to knowing the CB lingo!

What is CB radio?

Citizens band, or ‘CB’ is a mobile radio system that allows short-distance communication between individuals. CB originated in the US in the late 1940s, and within 20 years it had become a common feature of trucks all over the country.

Truckers would use them to communicate with each other, and they became increasingly popular following the 1973 oil crisis, when drivers would use them to notify each other of speed limits and to locate fuel stations.

CB radios in popular culture

Throughout the 1970s, CB radios became synonymous with truck driving in the USA. The phenomenon featured in several films, including Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and Convoy (1978) as well as the hit TV series The Dukes of Hazzard (1979 onwards).

CB terms for law enforcement

Law enforcement were often the subject of conversations on CB. Below are a few of the terms used to warn others about local officers.

Smokey – A police officer (origin of Smokey and the Bandit film title) Flying doughnut – A police helicopter
Evel Knievel – A police officer on a motorbike
Bear trap – A speed trap

Fox in the hen house – An unmarked police vehicle

Other useful terms

Angry kangaroo – A truck with a broken headlight 10-32 – Radio check

10-4 – Acknowledged, or can be used to suggest agreement
10-8 – En route
Alabama chrome – Duct tape
Breaker – Informing others users that you would like to start a transmission Flip-flop – A return journey

Groceries – Goods being hauled Watering hole – A truck stop

Although CB radios may not be as popular as it was 50 years ago, they do remain in use across the world. Many truckers who used them in their heyday continue to do so, and they provide a source of nostalgia for enthusiasts too.

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