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5 UPS drivers provide valuable driving tips

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Share this safe-driving advice from a few of UPS's 7,878 Circle of Honor drivers.

If your UPS driver sports a gold "Circle of Honor" patch on the sleeve, it means he or she has logged 25 – or more – years behind the wheel without an accident. The elite Circle of Honor recently added 1,445 drivers, including 66 new members from Canada, Germany and Puerto Rico, which were the first international markets for UPS.

"If you take your eyes off what's happening ahead, you'll be on top of that car in a fraction of a second," says package car driver Tom Camp.

UPS's longest-serving member of the UPS Circle of Honor is package car driver Tom Camp of Livonia, Mich. He's now driven for 52 years and delivered more than 5 million packages. Read more about Tom Camp.

Camp's piece of advice: "Watch the cars in front of you, and to the left and right. You never know if they are going to try to dart into your safety zone, your space cushion. You just have to stay focused all day long," Camp says. "Pay attention all the time. If you take your eyes off what's happening ahead, you'll be on top of that car in a fraction of a second and slamming on your brakes. Keep a space cushion, keep your eyes moving, and check your mirrors."

Illinois-based Steve Vermejan says: "I often receive text messages while I'm driving, but in order to read them I have to pull safely off the road." He adds that safe driving starts at home and begins with the proper rest. "If you're not alert behind the wheel, you're behind the 8-ball."

Lonnie Jones, a New York City package car driver, says: "Stay healthy and exercise. That's what's kept me going for 27 years."

Geraldine Kelly, a package car driver in Montgomery, Ala., says: "Communicate in traffic: Use your horn, establish eye-to-eye contact, and don't be in a hurry. You've got to focus all the time."

Tom Brotherton, a package car driver in St. Louis, sums it up this way: "Take it one step at a time, and don't let the job overwhelm you." Watch more tips from Brotherton in this video.

Recommended actions

Watch a video about this year's Circle of Honor winners.

Is your driver on the list? Download a full list of this year's honorees [PDF].

UPS Circle of Honor by the numbers [PDF].

Video: What the patch means.

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Reader Comments

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Dana Mizell
My husband is entering his 29th year with UPS and a Circle of Honor driver and my son has just nearly finished his first year driving for UPS. I never have to worry when my husband drives and feel so blessed that my children have all grown up learning the 5 seeing habits.
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Paul Lucia
I delivered packages for UPS in Kentucky for a year, 1963 to 1964, In management for 10 years after that. Mostly taught Driver Safety, using the Smith System of defensive driving. I still try to use the 5 keys of safe driving that I learned and taught way back then. I use the keys for a company I drive for even now part time in my retirement. One of my most enjoyable times was traveling to a certain UPS Center along with my District Manager and others to present a Safe Driving Award to a driver.
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Ron Edwards
I'm 22 years retired UPSer. I've taught our children and am teaching our grandchildren the "5 seeing habits" ! More important today than ever, too many drivers have no idea what they are doing when they get behind the wheel!
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Bob
actually " Standing " is defined as sitting behind the wheel with the motor running, in the event your vehicle needs to be moved immediately. Some Localities allow delivery from "Standing " zones . If a sign reads , No Stopping or Standing, it means just that.
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merserkel
I'm proud to say my son just finished his first year of driving for UPS & received One Year Safe Driving Award. UPS drivers are the best drivers-unfortunately not all drivers are not as courteous!
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dick
I drive for FedEx ground. You see all kinds of stupid out there. It's legal in most cities to park in a fire lane for fifteen minutes while making a delivery or block a lane of traffic but that don't stop people from honking and cussing you out for doing your job. It hasn't changed in the fifteen years I have behind the wheel and probably will never.
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Jim Anderson
I'm a school bus driver and I consistently observe UPS drivers being among the safest and most professional drivers on the road. You help me keep my, our, kids safe! That 360 awareness you allude to in this article develops a safety intuition that is indispensable. I also like how your drivers make eye contact. Thank you!
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Billy ONeill
It's the training you get from UPS. Know your five seeing habits: 1. Aim high and steering; 2. Get the big picture; 3. Keep your eyes moving; 4. Leave yourself an out; 5. Make sure they see you; If you practice that everyday, you become an excellent driver.
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Henry Dechert
Best advice in this article: ""Watch the cars in front of you, and to the left and right. You never know if they are going to try to dart into your safety zone, your space cushion." So WHY do drivers in movies or a TV shows spend so much time looking at the passenger next to them? Doing so sends a subtle message that it's OK to do that. Maybe UPS should lobby the film and TV industries to STOP DOING THAT. Drives me nuts. The faster you're going the bigger that cushion needs to be. It's just as dangerous as TEXTING while driving.
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mark
Actually, it's not "parking". Have you ever seen those signs on freeway ramps or airports that say "No Stopping or Standing"? That's what UPS is doing. Standing. It means that something temporary is happening...like dropping off a person or a package, or picking up same. UPS drivers are allowed to "stand" wherever and whenever, because it is their job. It is part of Interstate Commerce. If you were to complain to authorities, they would give you a similar explanation, and basically defend the "poor parking"...with law.
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Geraldine F Mills
My son drives for UPS, he's great!
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Kenneth avery
Thanks for your hard working excellent service. ...even thru the weather elements. ..
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Mike
......and where would you like the driver to park when delivering for you or your company? A few blocks over maybe? Or maybe they can just go to a big parking lot, and you would go to them? Yeah, you would probably choose the latter.
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Allan
UPS: Greek for "Park Anywhere You Want"
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Paul Beck
Congratulations to good friends and professional drivers Mike Filiccihia and Debbie Gazda and to so many others I've had the pleasure of working with!
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TheJoker
Parking a package car, is not like parking a passenger car. Even when parked "legally", people still find a way to hit us. Sometimes the safest place to park is in the middle of the street. One thing that isn't mentioned, is if you need to back, always back first. I see dozens of people every day get into their vehicles and proceed to back onto main roads. When parked, you should always be facing in the direction you intend to go. This way you can see what's in front of you.
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August Berkshire
I do delivery driving as well (not for UPS) and I would add: always be alert that another driver may do something negligent or stupid, like trying to cut in front of you with too little space or warning. Sometimes you will be right. It's called defensive driving.
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Hilary
Above all else...if you need to run in to a building or house, don't bother finding a legal parking spot (fender benders often happen here), simply stop in the middle of the street. Make traffic go around you.
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