Lorry driver explains what it’s like to be stuck on motorway for 40 hours

A lorry driver found himself stuck on the M20 for more than 40 hours in the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel crisis over the weekend. Eike W, who works for a German relocation company, was moving household goods from an embassy member from the UK to Germany when he got trapped in queues with thousands of other travellers and truckers. The 28-year-old left at 4pm on Friday, July 22, and hoped to get to Bremen, in North Germany by Saturday evening.

He told KentLive : “We finished loading at around 12 on Friday, customs at around 4pm and I immediately looked to see if I could book the ferry and I was able to. We planned to get back by Saturday midday, however we got into a traffic jam at 6pm on the M20 on Friday. “We knew nothing, and if you search for this on Google, the delays are always focused on the cars, and not focused on the trucks.

So you can’t get any kind of information. You can’t find anything online. We know that Dover is a little bit congested, but we didn’t know that we would have to stay two nights.

Some people ran out of food and stuff.” He added: “Why is the Eurotunnel company allowing people to book reservations at all? The capacity is obviously overbooked.

They obviously let the holiday people get on first because they don’t have a cabin, they are not prepared. And it’s not a secret, the holiday season is starting. “Now we are facing a situation where no one knows anything and where we have to spend the weekend on a highway, which is somehow ridiculous.”

Massive traffic jams on the M20

Massive traffic jams on the M20 (Image: Eike W)

Eike said within four or five hours, the police started handing out water for truckers waiting on the M20. “We immediately knew that this was going to take a lot of effort,” he said. “The police and the Coastguard are here. There are traffic officers as well. They do a fantastic job from our perspective.

They are friendly and they’re handing out water and some snacks. But at the end of the day, it’s still nonsense to stand on the M20.” While Eike’s truck has a cabin allowing him to rest and get some sleep, it does not have any toilets or a shower. “Every truck has one (cabin), that’s another reason why truckers can wait a little bit longer than cars but we don’t have any toilets,” he said. “Fortunately, I’m travelling with someone else, we’ve got a second truck, so we have two trucks and a total of four people.

“So we’re able to make fun of the situation but like most of the drivers, like 95 percent of them are single drivers.” Most HGVs over 7.5 tonnes are banned from the French road network every weekend between 10pm Saturday and 10pm on Sunday, meaning when Eike did eventually get through he had to park up again. “We have to make plans now.

Now we have to stay in France on Sunday. That’s why everybody tries to get back on Friday.”

Eike and other truckers stuck in traffic

Eike and other truckers stuck in traffic (Image: Eike W) He added: “Everybody’s blaming each other.

For Brexit or no Brexit at all. The easiest way is just coordinating the bookings. And that way, everybody’s happy.

If you know the amount of bookings, just stop it. Why book more than the capacity you have?” A spokesman for Eurotunnel said: “We recognize that the situation on the roads has been difficult.

Knowing that it was going to be the busiest weekend of the year, we have only accepted pre-booked customers. “Further, we always book BELOW capacity, in order to keep a spare train available in case of any disruption to our service. We have been running additional truck and passenger departures throughout the weekend to help move the vehicles that have been caught in congestion on the roads and have brought staff across from France to help get customers through the terminal quickly, once they arrive at check-in.”

Extra post-Brexit border checks and French authorities’ understaffing of checkpoints in Dover have been blamed for the hold-ups. Some 72,000 passengers – more than 200 miles of tourist and freight traffic combined – had been processed across the weekend up until Sunday morning. The Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the delays and queues were “unacceptable”, blaming a lack of staffing by the French at the border.

But a French politician blamed Brexit for the chaos.