The general public’s perceptions about the trucking industry can be outdated, and sometimes just plain wrong. When discussing trucking as a possible career choice, people will often tell you what’s accepted as “the truth” about the business. Here’s the real story behind some of the most common misconceptions about being a trucker:
1) Truck driving pays poorly
In every business, there are employers who specialize in “getting the most for the least” out of their employees. Thankfully, in trucking they’re a relative rarity. Companies are constantly recruiting drivers, and in order to attract good employees have to keep wages competitive. In Manitoba, the average company driver earns more than $900 dollars weekly, with some experienced drivers earning considerably more. Owner/Operators run their own businesses, and stand to earn high profits. Truck drivers, as a whole, earn wages well above the national average.
2) Trucking isn’t secure
Truck driving is one of the few jobs in Canada that offers career-long security. A recent study has shown that the high number of retirements expected in the next decade will result in a severe shortage of drivers in the 2020s.
3) Truck driving is “man’s work”
While traditionally attracting few women, the current need for more drivers means that companies are actively seeking female recruits. The number of women truckers on the road is increasing all the time, and so is the number of women employed by trucking companies in other capacities – dispatchers, sales reps, etc.
4) Truck driving isn’t safe
Canadian truck drivers are among the safest in the world. We have high standards for the safety of our roads and trucks, and stringent licensing requirements. Trucks are involved in fewer than 4% of all road accidents.
First Class Training Centre is one of Manitoba’s premiere truck driving schools. If you want to find out if trucking is the career for you, contact us online or call Toll Free (1-(855) 632-5302. In the Winnipeg area call 204-632-5302.
It takes a special type of person to be a trucker. Despite the long hours spent alone, there is a community out there on the highway. Anywhere truck drivers meet and talk (rest stops, roadside restaurants, or over Citizen’s Band radio chatter) they express their camaraderie through a special language. Trucker slang has changed since the Smokey and the Bandit movies made it famous in the 1970s, but it remains a “code of the brotherhood (or increasingly, sisterhood)” of truck drivers.
It’s a unique and entertaining form of language. Here is an abridged guide to some of the more entertaining euphemisms you might hear out on the road:
Alligator – a piece of a tire that’s lying in the road. Looks like a little like a resting reptile.
Back door – behind you. Eg. “I’m knocking at your Back Door”
Bambi – a deer, dead or alive. Moose is a “Swamp Donkey”
Bear – law enforcement officer
Bedbuggers – moving companies
Bobtail – tractor with no trailer attached. Verb for is “bobtailing”
Brake check – when traffic slows for no apparent reason
Bumper sticker – a tailgater
Chicken coop – weigh station
Covered wagon – a gravel truck with a tarp on top of it’s load
Dead head – to haul an empty truck. Usually unpaid.
Double Nickel – 55 mph speed limit
Flip-flop – a U-turn
Four-wheeler – any vehicle not a truck or bus
Granny lane – the right, or “slow” lane
Parking lot – a truck hauling cars in a “piggy back” trailer
Reefer – refrigerated cargo trailer
Roller skate – a small car
Skins – tires
Stagecoach – a tour bus
Thermos bottle – a tanker trailer
Yard – the parking lot at a drivers company eg. “Sitting in the yard ready to go.”
Yardstick – kilometer or kilometer marker on a major highway
Wearing out your bumper – tailgating
By no means is this an exhaustive list. At First Class Training Centre we’ve got more than half a century of combined experience in the business to draw on, and we will help you find out everything you need to know about the trucking industry, including the language. If you’re interested in finding out if truck driving is the career for you, contact us online or call Toll Free (1-(855) 632-5302. In Winnipeg call 204-632-5302.