Schools Training

Radio Lingo for Dispatcher Training

23 JAN 2013
Career Path : Automotive

There’s a special language for the road that goes beyond the words printed on passing signs. Radio operators of all kinds in trucking and dispatch learn a special vocabulary of slang, jargon and abbreviation codes for all sorts of roadside situations. It would be impossible to list everything, but even a quick primer complements people taking dispatcher training. The language is colourful and full of imaginative metaphors for everyday things. It comes in one part from trucker’s vocabularies and one part from radio etiquette and comprehension tricks.


Road Hazards

– Alligator: A blown tire in the road

– Greasy side up: Overturned vehicle

– Bear bait: Speeding vehicle

– Bumper sticker: Car driving too close

– 10-33: An emergency


Describing the Road and the Things On It

– Hammer lane: The left lane

– Comedian: The central median

– Cash register: Toll booth

– Chicken Coop: Weigh station

– Big Road: Interstate

– 10-20: Location


Radio Lingo

– Back out: Speaker is done talking

– Break: Asking for an opening to ask a question

– Handle: Radio nickname

– 10-4: Okay!


Fun and Family

– Better half: Spouse

– Ankle biter: Small child

– Bear: A police officer

– Home 20: The area near where someone lives


Some of these terms will pop up in classes taught at dispatcher schools, while others will be highly location specific. In addition to this sort of jargon, there’s also a phonetic alphabet to learn. Radio and dispatcher training makes sure that people using any sort of radio know that connections are seldom perfect and people slur their voices. To compensate, easily muddled letters get a word equivalent, for example A becomes Alpha. The word is chosen because there’s few or no other words that sound like it and it also starts with the letter that needs to be conveyed.


Radio etiquette also encourages professionalism and indications when a message is fully delivered, so the listener can take their turn. Modern trucks and taxis will be equip with CB radios but the makes and models vary, so it’s up to a person with dispatcher training to match everyone together, and also provide a central point of co-ordination.


If you’re interested in the sort of courses offered at dispatcher schools, you can often find them as one faculty in what are otherwise regular auto mechanic schools. This makes a lot of sense because good dispatchers also know lots about the vehicles they oversee. A dispatcher career is also often the sort of thing people go into after time as a driver, since their road knowledge is directly applicable. Still, regardless of whether you’re a novice to the road or a veteran, it’s always a good idea to review the jargon before you take your seat at the switchboard. Otherwise with all the talk of alligators and bears, things will sound truly bizarre.



Visit Automotive Training Centres for more information on auto mechanic schools.