Transportation Safety Administration required trailer manufacturers to retrofit a bumper to stop cars from driving under the trailer in an underride accident. Yes, the trucking industry had to add a bumper because cars kept driving under their trailers. Go figure.

What about all the animals we hear professional drivers mention. How about a dog house? What about an alligator or a Bulldog? A dog house is the space between the seats in a cabover truck which covers the engine. Seriously, if you’ve ever driven a cabover, you will know that this great expanse is a wonderful spot to drop your head and take a quick nap.

An alligator is the strip of tire left on the road resulting from a blown tire. A Bulldog is just the name of a Mack truck. While I’m on the subject, don’t you just get wild when you hear someone talk about feeling as if they were “hit by a Mack truck?” Sheesh, can we just say it was a train?

Have you seen a chicken coop or a bear? A chicken coop is just a weigh station or scale, or as we call them in Wisconsin, a SWES (Size and Weight Enforcement Station).

Speaking of bears, there are a lot of variations, such as feeding the bears, bear bait, mama bear, or bear in the air. A bear is a police officer, perhaps a variation of Smokey Bear. Feeding the bears is paying a ticket, bear bait is just a four wheeler speeding as a diversion so they get the ticket instead of the truck. A mama bear is a female police officer, and a bear in the air is a cop in a helicopter or airplane monitoring traffic speed.

If you’ve been a driver for more than a decade, you know these terms. If not, maybe they aren’t relevant anymore. Ask an older driver.

What are some names that you shouldn’t use anymore? How about fireman, mailman, stewardess, or policeman? In these days of gender neutrality, it’s firefighter, mail carrier, flight attendant, and police officer.

For those of us old enough to remember some words that weren’t offensive in the past, how do you feel about the words gay, dope, girl or even whoopee? It only makes me wonder what terms we use today that may become offensive in the future or are no longer relevant. But whatever you do, please don’t use a sign stating, “For Sale by Owner,” unless you’re selling a house.

By Ellen Voie, CAE, President/CEO of Women In Trucking Association, Inc.

Conversations with veterans of the transportation

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