Are CB Radios Actually Useful In 2023?

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Pianoman's Comment
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Yeah it’s definitely important and the more people that use them the more helpful they are, so if you’re concerned they’re not as useful the best thing you can do is be part of the solution and get one yourself. It’s very frustrating when experienced drivers tell new drivers not to get a CB because it’s “distracting” or they’ve driven 10 years without one and never had an issue. The truth is, they wouldn’t know if they had had any issues because they didn’t have a CB for someone to tell them they were about to lose that mudflap or their brake lights weren’t working.

Just today I used mine to get around an oversize truck on the way down Wolf Creek Pass. He was going way slow and I was empty and it was hard to see around him so I called him out on the radio. He confirmed I was clear and he even scooted over a little for me so I could pass him safely. Another time someone let me know my headache rack popped open right before I got on the freeway. Another time there was an end dump driving down the highway with his gate open but I couldn’t reach him on the radio so I was lucky enough to be able to pull next to him and let him know. Brake checks are a big one—when traffic stops really unexpectedly people will usually call out “brake check” on the radio. A lot of times these situations will happen before it’ll show up on google maps.


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Stevo Reno's Comment
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CBs have been around lonnnng before cell phones and GPS lol

NaeNaeInNC's Comment
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Today, it kept a driver from flying up and over a hilltop and dropping down into the tail of my trailer, as we were full stop on a two lane, in the dark, due to semi vs pickup crash. I really appreciate that I wasn't hit from behind today.

Dan67's Comment
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One of my regular customers guard shack has a handheld CB. I can talk to them on channel 5 to check in without having to get out of the truck and walk down the pad to the shack. This used to be more common years ago.

Pianoman's Comment
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I thought about this thread today. A flatbed a few vehicles in front of me on a two lane today was hauling some sort of shed or something and the rear door flew open while he was driving so I let him know on the radio and he pulled over to close it. The radio came in handy for him so he didn’t start losing whatever was in the shed or have the door swing into oncoming traffic and it came in handy for me because he let me know when he was pulling over so I could anticipate it.

I really can’t say enough how important it is to run a radio

Brett Aquila's Comment
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I agree about the importance of a CB radio, and everyone did an awesome job of explaining many of the upsides. So I'll take the opposite approach.

A CB is only about $100 - $200. Not enough money to concern yourself with.

What is the advantage of not having a CB radio? There isn't one.

What are the potential benefits? There's a long list.

What are the potential dangers of not having one? There's a long list.

So not having a CB means you're taking on a long list of risks without any reward.

For $100 - $200, if it saves your day just one time, it's worth it. In 15 years of driving, it saved my day many, many times. I felt vulnerable without one.

Pianoman's Comment
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Good point Brett. Risk vs reward is everything in this business.

The thing that gets me…if there were some “new tech” that was advertised to truck drivers that would allow you to talk to the other drivers around you and communicate road hazards or just communicate whatever you want, drivers would jump all over it. We literally already have that in the form of cb radios and have had it for decades and people don’t want to use it.

Is it because it’s not an app? Is it because it requires setup? Is it because it’s not digital so it doesn’t always work super well unless you have a good setup?

It almost seems like it’s become ostracized because it’s “old school” and not digital

Brett Aquila's Comment
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It almost seems like it’s become ostracized because it’s “old school” and not digital

Exactly. For fifty years, the U.S. has been infatuated with high-tech stuff, and for good reason. We have invented a ton of amazing stuff!

But it's unwise to think a high-tech solution is always the best. That's rarely the case.

I always shoot for the "simplest effective solution" to any problem. As a computer programmer, that sounds like an odd take, right? Computer programming is one of the most complex things on Earth. That's the most important reason to focus on simplicity. I'm already in a very complex environment that is potentially unstable and insecure. So, I always look for a simple, stable solution to any challenge.

I do that throughout my life.

If you get muscle cramps, try more salt and water.

If you get a cut or blister, try super glue! (Seriously, I've done it for many years!)

If you're struggling with weight or physical health, eliminate sugars and carbs. Eat mostly meat!

You don't need complex, high-tech solutions to everything.

The CB is the simplest, most effective solution to so many challenges. Honestly, it's the only solution for many of them. Nothing else allows you to broadcast and receive messages from everyone in the area all at once, and sometimes that's exactly what is needed.

If the iPhone had been around for 50 years and the CB just came out a few years ago, people would feel differently about it.

Pianoman's Comment
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If the iPhone had been around for 50 years and the CB just came out a few years ago, people would feel differently about it.

AMEN, this is exactly what I’m saying

Rob T.'s Comment
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When traffic backs up if it's going to be closed for a while you'll often be able to get advice on getting around the wreck by someone local. Maybe 3 winters ago there was a nasty pileup in Des Moines that had the interstate shut down for several hours. Traffic from the opposing direction informed us well before hand that it was shutdown. Being very familiar with the area I was able to offer a different route to drivers and had several right behind me. Bad weather days is NOT when you want to be exploring unknown roads blindly following GPS. State Patrol had the interstate detouring one direction so I went the other and had hardly any delay.

Don't be afraid to reach out to other drivers. Sure, there's some jack wagons that will intentionally try to steer you wrong but often times someone else will get on there and give you the correct info you seek.

Most action on the CB when weather is good is someone asking for a radio check, to which someone says "checks in the mail driver". Thankfully, not too much music blasting or some weirdo telling us he ain't got any panties on anymore.


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