DAVENPORT, Iowa-- A Davenport truck driver has driven UPS semis for 35 years without an accident.
John Manderscheid has been driving for UPS for 40 years. A fender-bender five years into his career stopped him from having a perfect driving record all these years.
"I was three months away from my five year (accident-free milestone), and I put a six-inch scratch in a trailer, so I had to go back to zero (years)," Manderscheid explains. "But once going back to zero, I made up my mind that this isn't going to happen again. I'm gonna hit that five years milestone and go farther than that, and I've been going ever since."
Manderscheid says it takes your A-game to stay safe on the roads.
"Sometimes it’s pretty nerve-wracking when you’re driving on two inches of ice with 25-mile an hour crosswind," he says. "You may be out here all week and never see an accident all week. And then the following week, there might be one every day, two every day. Sometimes you might come across three accidents in one day.”
Manderscheid spends 10 hours a day driving 400 miles to drop off packages at UPS hubs in Chicago and Hammond, Indiana. Over 40 years, he estimates he's traveled four or five million miles.
"Everybody knows there's a lot of hazards out on the roads, the interstates, highways," UPS supervisor Mike Allison says. "(It takes) a lot of adaptation to the weather conditions, road conditions, traffic conditions, and be defensive in that regard."
Manderscheid says he checks his mirrors a lot, more than he probably needs to, to spot trouble before it turns into an accident.
"Get the big picture. Keep your eyes moving. Leave yourself an out, and make sure they see ya," Manderscheid says.
Allison says no one else at the Davenport UPS center has hit 35 years accident-free.
"John is, he's fairly soft-spoken... but I can tell, knowing him on a personal level, that this is quite the accomplishment for him as well," Allison says.
Manderscheid is getting ready for the busy season. He says he'll have some big deliveries going up to Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Chicago. He says at the Chicago center, they expect to see one million additional packages a day as people start ordering and shipping holiday presents.
But he wouldn't trade this sometimes busy and stressful job for anything.
“I looked back over the 40 years, if I had to do it all over again, I’d still do it," he says.