Work of a professional truck driver engaged in international transport is not easy. It concerns mainly those drivers who perform the so called cross-trades, i.e. they drive without going back to the base. Drivers performing cross-trades usually work in 3/1, 4/1 or 6/2 cycles.

What do these cycles mean?

In a 3/1 system a driver works for three weeks, which are followed by a week-long rest period. In a 4/1 system a driver works for four weeks and has a week-long break. A 6/2 system means six weeks of driving and two weeks’ rest period. It is very uncommon for drivers to work in an 8/2 system.

Sometimes, a rest period between trips is called a leave but it cannot be treated formally as a standard holiday leave to which a driver is entitled regardless of the number of days a year spent on breaks from driving. Moreover, commuting home and back, if the employer’s registered office is located abroad, may take additional two or three days.

Persons working in transport companies, especially those located outside Poland, must also bear in mind that after a break they will be instructed by their employer to make a trip using a different vehicle. This constitutes an additional stress factor as it requires an ability to adapt to a new vehicle. The necessity to test an unfamiliar vehicle beforehand is also troublesome.

A different problem associated with a shift work system is separation from one’s family. Work on long routes tests trust within a family and strength of ties between its members. This work system is easier for those persons who have not yet started a family, are introverts or do not want to start a family at all.

Who should work in cycles?

3/1, 4/1 or 6/2 systems are particularly attractive for drivers performing carriages on very long routes. The drivers spend the whole time in a vehicle which becomes their second home. Those who decided to work in the above systems may expect a very good salary, unreachable for drivers working in domestic transport or going back to the base every weekend. 3/1 and longer systems are best for drivers with many years of experience – they are not recommended for beginners. An experienced, flexible and organized driver will be more willingly employed to perform long trips, whereas an inexperienced driver will require an additional training. The solution is good for those who do not like routine and dreary fixed hours work. Each day brings new challenges and solutions.

Work on long routes gives drivers the possibility to explore the world, although they may not always have time to see everything they want and they may not be able to reach every place in a vehicle.