Do You Know These Trucking-Related Words?


By: Bambi Turner

6 Min Quiz

Image: shotbydave / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Do you know the meaning of terms like HOS or FEU? Know what a bobtail, a broker or a gator is? Think you can tell the difefrence between a ten-wheeler and a bobtail? Take our quiz to see how many of these trucking terms you can identify! It's no secret that Americans love their stuff. Millions of tons of consumer goods fly off store shelves each year in the form of toys, household items, clothing, books, games and other products. Yet have you ever stopped to think about the massive undertaking involved in getting those items to your local store? Sure, many of them are produced in factories overseas, traveling on massive container ships to reach U.S. shores before they are distributed across the nation.

And that final distribution all comes down to the humble truck driver. With cargo safely loaded, he or she drives a big rig across highways and byways to reach the superstores and corner shops right in your neighborhood. Truck drivers not only have to maintain tight schedules and follow industry safety rules, but also deal with headaches ranging from traffic jams to poor weather conditions -- all while keeping themselves and their rigs safe and well-maintained. 

Think you've got the trucker spirit in you? Test your trucking vocabulary with this quiz!

What does the G stand for in GVW?

GVW, or gross vehicle weight, is a phrase that all truck drivers are familiar with. This typically reflects the total weight of the truck and all of its cargo.


What is a belly dump?

Some products don't exactly fit into a standard shipping container. Belly dump trucks have an opening at the bottom, making them the perfect option for transporting loose goods like grains or gravel.


What nickname do truckers use for refrigerated trucks?

All that frozen food has to be kept chilly as it travels from the factory to your local grocery store. That requires a refrigerated truck, known to truck drivers as a reefer.


What name is given to those cast-off tire sections that end up on the side of the road?

Trucks transport heavy loads, so it's no surprise that truckers go through a lot of tires. The length of rubber left behind after a tire fails is known in the industry as a gator.


What do you call a truck running with no trailer attached?

Trucks feature heavy-duty hitches that allow them to pull impressively large loads. When the truck runs with no trailer or load attached, truckers refer to it as a bobtail.


If you're driving an agitator body, you're probably carrying ...

Concrete requires constant mixing during transport so it doesn't start to harden. An agitator body is a special truck designed to keep moving and mixing the concrete so it stays soft and ready to pour.


Someone who owns and drives his own rig is an owner- ...

Owner-operators, also known as O/Os or doublestuffs, are truckers who own and drive their own vehicles. The alternative to this is the traditional trucker, who drives a rig belonging to someone else.


A fisheye is a type of ...

Truckers driving big vehicles have extra challenges that drivers in cars never face, especially when it comes to seeing other vehicles on the road. Many big rigs are equipped with a fisheye -- a convex, wide-angle mirror that helps improve visibility.


A no-touch ride means the driver doesn't have to do this.

The duties of a truck driver can vary depending on the contract. A no-touch run means that the driver is not responsible for touching cargo -- so someone else handles all the loading and unloading.


When is landing gear used?

Ever seen a trailer when it's not attached to a truck? That support pole that extends from the base of the trailer to the ground is known as landing gear.


What is the name for the driver's compartment of a big rig?

While most of the real estate aboard a truck is needed to hold cargo, there also has to be some room for the driver. The trucker is king of the cab -- the area where the seats and steering wheel are located.


What mechanism attaches the trailer to the truck?

A kingpin is a hefty metal contraption that keeps the trailer fastened securely to the truck. It's often secured using a kingpin lock to thwart potential trailer thieves when the truck is parked.


What name is given to the device that limits the speed of the truck?

Truck drivers with lead feet can be liabilities for trucking companies, and a danger to everyone else on the road. A governor installed in the truck will limit the vehicle to a pre-determined maximum speed for safety.


ABS is an advanced type of this traditional truck system.

Anti-lock braking systems, or ABS, help to reduce the risk of skidding and sliding. They allow drivers to maintain control of the truck, and are an important safety feature on modern vehicles.


What does the D stand for in POD?

Truck drivers know that no job is complete without POD -- proof of delivery. This usually takes the form of a signed bill of lading, but could also involve invoices or packing slips.


What is the primary data tracked in a trucker's logbook?

Federal law strictly regulates how many hours truckers can drive each day. Most pro drivers are required to carry a logbook, in which they track hours of service to ensure they are in compliance with the law.


Looking for your next trucking run? Contact this person.

A broker takes the work out of matching up drivers and clients with shipping needs. Owner-operators often go through brokers to keep their schedules full.


Which axle of a truck is typically the steering axle?

Trucks often come with much more than the standard two axles found on a car. On a typical truck, the front axle is for steering, while all axles with powered wheels are drive axles. Unpowered axles are simply known as pusher axles.


What is the maximum length for a standard international container?

Standardizing containers helps everyone in the industry. The maximum length for an international container is 40 feet, while domestic shipments can be as long as 53 feet.


Payload is another word for ...

While gross volume weight includes the total weight of the truck and its cargo, the weight of the load itself is given as the payload, or cargo weight. These two different figures are used as part of the driver's daily ride, and drivers should know this information for inspection and safety reasons.


What is a bill of lading?

A good trucker is organized when it comes to his or her cargo. A bill of lading serves as an itemized list of all goods included in a shipment, and helps the trucker when it comes to billing and accounting.


What does the L in CDL stand for?

Truckers must have a commercial driver's license, or CDL, to operate a big rig. Typically, this license requires a bit more training than the licenses needed to drive a passenger car, and allows truckers to operate a vehicle over 26,000 pounds.


Operating a truck that contains no cargo is known as this.

Sometimes truckers are asked to run a one-way load, then return after the drop off is complete. That return trip with no cargo on board is known as a dead-head.


A jackknifed truck is one that has ...

A jackknifed tractor trailer can be a major headache, often blocking an entire highway for hours. This accident happens when the trailer moves to one side of the truck and the vehicle skids out of control -- often tipping over on its side, or even rolling.


If the company you work for doesn't assign a specific truck to each driver, this is known as this type of system.

Some companies don't bother to match drivers to trucks, simply assigning each driver to the best truck and route as needed on a specific day. This type of slip seat arrangement can keep drivers from feeling at home in their cabs.


What is that hard-to-see area that truckers are always trying to keep track of on the road?

A blind spot is a real problem for any driver. This is the area just next to the vehicle that can be hard to see properly. While truckers do their best to watch this tricky area when changing lanes, they often need other drivers to steer clear of this area for safety.


When do reckless drivers employ the Georgia Overdrive?

The Georgia Overdrive is an outlaw trucker technique where the driver throws the truck into neutral when going down a hill. It's a way to maintain speed, but it's also reckless and dangerous.


Some truckers affectionately call this component a road hammer.

There's nothing like the open road for truckers. When it's time for the long haul, drivers put the road hammer to the test, accelerating from 0 to 55 as fast as their rigs will allow.


Which of these is a 10-wheeler?

Ten-wheeler is a term truckers used to describe a straight truck with three axles. These trucks are always non-articulating, such as a dump truck.


What kind of truck requires a rubrail?

A flatbed truck is ideal for carrying items that simply wouldn't fit or would be tough to load in other types of trucks. A rub rail around the base of the bed helps to secure the item and prevent it from sliding off the edge.


A pair of drivers who alternate driving and sleeping shifts is known as this.

U.S. trucking law limits how many hours drivers can spend behind the wheel each day. A sleeper team consists of a pair of drivers who switch off sleeping and driving shifts to stay within the limits of the law without losing any transit time.


When your cargo represents less than the truck's total capacity, you're operating at...

Companies shipping less than a full load often pay a premium because the run costs the driver more than he would make on a standard full-load order. Drivers may combine multiple shipments when they are operating at less-than truckload to save each individual shipper money without sacrificing profit.


Plan on picking up your next load? You'd better have one of these.

An authorized pickup, or APU, lets the shipper know that it's OK to hand off their precious cargo to you. After all, you wouldn't feel right giving your goods to a total stranger without some kind of authorization, right?


A double-eagle truck features these elements.

It's common for trucks to have a sleeper compartment behind the cab, serving as a place for the driver to get some shut-eye. Double-eagles are fancier cabs complete with kitchens and bathrooms for the ultimate in comfort.


What does the F in FEU stand for?

Many shipping loads are based on the standard size of cargo containers. The term FEU represents a 40-foot equivalent unit, or the amount of cargo that would fit in the standard container.


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