When Leslie Tiller was teaching her son how to drive, he got so frustrated he parked the car and stormed away. A professional driver for 36 years, she was adamant about safe driving methods: keep your eyes on the road, check your mirrors, be aware of your surroundings, in particular.
“He was so mad he walked home,” Leslie laughed.
But the Old Monroe, MO, native had reasons to be a strict teacher back then and now. As a professional truck driver for UPS, Leslie is well-aware of the types of things that can happen on the road with other drivers.
Adhering to defensive driving methods, has helped her reach a major safety milestone: 25 years of driving without an accident. Leslie is one of 28 drivers in Missouri to reach this achievement in 2020 and one of only two women.
Leslie says she’s seen some interesting things on her routes over the years. Her closest call however, didn’t involve another driver, but rather a tree that happened to fall at the very moment Leslie was driving by.
She was out on a county lane with trees lining both sides, moving at a slower speed because of the uneven ground. Then suddenly a small tree fell into the truck, the branch piercing her shirt and the back of her seat.
According to Leslie, it happened so fast she only became aware the tree had hit her when the truck stopped moving. After wriggling free to assess the damage, she got back in the package car, backed it off of the tree and continued delivering her packages.
Her advice for the public when it comes to driving safely: Keep your eyes moving.
“Things can happen in a millisecond. You need to see what is ahead, you need to look in the mirror and see what’s behind you. You need to keep your eyes moving and be aware of your surroundings,” she said.