There are professions that require much more motivation than just the desire to achieve financial benefits. Occupations that determine the lifestyle of those who perform them and their immediate surroundings. Jobs that, despite the difficulties and inconveniences, must be genuinely enjoyed to be carried out for many years. One such profession is that of a driver.
The youthful vision of freedom, the opportunity to explore the world, and a passion for cars do not always align with the realities of daily work behind the wheel. Confronting reality can be difficult, but many professional drivers believe they love what they do and cannot imagine doing anything else daily.
We asked Euro24 drivers about their beginnings in the profession, how they cope during long, multi-day trips away from home, the challenges they face, and finally, what they enjoy about their work. See the video with English subtitles.
Mateusz drives a Euro24 rig with a trailer because, as he says, he has loved trucks since he was a child and played various driving simulators. Although his education took a different path, his childhood passion always drew him back. He decided to try his hand at being a truck driver. He started his new career path less than three years ago, and Euro24 was his first company, where he still works today.
The other drivers we spoke to entered the profession as adults, each for different reasons. Of the four people who decided to share their stories, two are women. However, this does not mean that driving is a popular career choice for women. The industry is still heavily dominated by men, but a woman behind the wheel no longer surprises as it did a decade ago. Daria, one of the protagonists of our interview, has been driving for over 5 years. Aldona, who currently drives with Daria in a double crew, has been behind the wheel for 3 years. Both women decided to change careers mainly for financial reasons, as they say, „it’s better to cry in a Mercedes than on a bus” 😉. The job market is tough, and office work did not allow them to fulfill their dreams.
Maciej has an impressive tenure, as he started his adventure working in vans about 14 years ago, and it was a coincidence. Maciej helped his cousin complete a transport job, and from that moment, his new professional journey began.
Two or three-week trips, life divided into time at home and time on the road make it hard to find the „golden mean” for pursuing interests and passions. When an international driver embarks on a journey across Europe, they do not return home every day, and no routine accompanies them. Their time at home is often filled with outstanding errands. So how to maintain a relative balance between work, private life, and pursuing interests?
The most common answers to the question of how to spend free time include listening to music, especially on the road, and watching movies/series or surfing the internet during breaks at longer stops. Some drivers occasionally bring bicycles on their trips, which allows them to explore the interesting corners of Europe while their vehicle is parked for a mandatory break. A good and handy solution is Mateusz’s folding bike, which takes up little space in the cabin and allows him to move freely around the nearby area.
Daria also makes an effort to exercise regularly to maintain her body in good shape after many hours of working in a sitting position, which, as we know, puts a strain on the spine. Motivation in this area is much needed, as short breaks and fatigue do not help with self-discipline and maintaining a regular routine. Drivers who are passionate about fitness often share creative tips on social media channels, discussing how to live healthily and engage in sports while on the road. Advice on planning meals and workouts serves as valuable inspiration for other drivers.
Increasingly, in addition to music, movies, and browsing the internet, podcasts and audiobooks have become popular entertainment forms, which Maciej and Mateusz enjoy listening to while on their routes and during breaks. To cater to this trend, Euro24 has provided its drivers with an app featuring a wide range of audiobooks and podcasts.
Let’s take a closer look at the most frequently mentioned challenges faced by our interviewees. Undoubtedly, the biggest issue for tractor-trailers is finding parking spaces, especially in the evenings when most drivers finish their workday and stop for a rest.
Another challenge is the stress related to arriving at the destination on time. This is not always straightforward due to various factors that can affect the route, unpredictable road situations, detours, tight delivery deadlines, and limitations related to the driver’s working hours.
Our interviewees answered this question unanimously. They would all like to implement changes regarding the driving hours. Aldona and Daria would prefer a ban on night driving, allowing double-manned crews to rest for 11 hours instead of the current 9. According to Mateusz, a significant improvement would be more flexibility in adjusting the vehicle’s position during breaks, even by just a few meters, which could be very useful at times.
Maciej, on the other hand, hopes that tachographs will regulate the working hours of drivers in buses up to 3.5 tons. This change would address issues with working hours in relation to the distance to be traveled and rest periods. Such a regulation is expected to come into effect in four years, in July 2026. From that date, carriers operating international transport with vehicles with a GVW of 2.5 to 3.5 tons will be subject to regulations concerning driving and resting hours for drivers in international traffic and the obligation to equip these vehicles with tachographs.