Meet Ron “Big Dog” Sowder. Sowder was recently inducted into the UPS Hall of Fame for his record of safe driving that spans five decades.

That’s right. Sowder joined UPS in 1961 and has stayed safe and sound on the road ever since, despite racking up four million miles and delivering 35 million packages during his thousands of hours behind the wheel. In fact, Sowder made more than 12,000 trips for UPS.

UPS currently has a Circle of Honor for drivers who have gone 25 years being safe behind the wheel, but Sowder is the first in the history of UPS to go five decades accident-free.

For those of you who have trouble making it through the year without at least being pulled over and warned by the police, Sowder’s accomplishment might seem impossible. But it’s not. Anyone can be a safe driver if they focus on the essentials: Keep your eyes on the road, pay attention and follow the law.

Being a safe driver means doing all those things every time you get behind the wheel and start the ignition. Sowder said in a press release that the quality of driving he sees on the road today is far less safe than it was when he started in 1961. He said he has to be even more vigilant about what other drivers are doing than he does about what he is doing.

By the way, that is the very definition of defensive driving.

Sowder said he regularly sees drivers using their cell phones; talking, texting, reading and putting on make-up as they cruise down the highway. None of which qualifies as safe driving as far as we are concerned (or police are concerned either.)

If you want to rack up the safe driving miles like Sowder there is no time like the present to get started. Take a defensive driving course, learn the law and practice your skills regularly. There is no trick to being a safe driver. All it takes is a lot of common sense employed every time you get behind the wheel.

Image: David Castillo Dominici /