A new PSA video from the New Zealand transport agency, quickly going viral now, is less than a minute long, but once you view it, you will never forget it. When I came by it today on Facebook, I was very emotionally affected by it. Go ahead and watch it, please, and then I will tell you why it made me cry.

"Mistakes" -- Speed ad, New Zealand Transport Agency (2014)

In the Fall of 2007, my car was hit by a van as I was making a left turn through an intersection during a rainy early evening rush hour. The combination of me not timing my turn perfectly and the van driver rushing through the yellow/red light -- things we all see happen every single day while driving -- proved to be two common mistakes too many that night.

My young son, too, was in the back seat.

The impact sounded like a bomb going off. My car spun nearly 180 degrees. It was totaled, but other than aches and pains, myself, my son, and the van occupants were all uninjured.

This video reminds me:

If I had turned a fraction of a second later, the van would have hit where my son was sitting, rather than the passenger side front pillar.

If I had turned a fraction of a second earlier, the impact would have been near head-on.

If not for the terrified screams of my son in the back alerting me to the fact that we were about to go over a 15'-20' unprotected embankment as the car spun and lurched, I would not have had the presence of mind to take both my feet and push as hard as I could on the brake pedal. We ended up 4" away from the edge.

And if the van driver had not tried to get through the intersection at the last second by gunning it, there would have been no accident at all.

When we take the wheel of a car, every single time we mentally must renew the contract we have that comes with our license: that ALL OF US are responsible for the lives of each person on the road. There is nothing -- NOTHING -- more important than this. Not your job, or school, or a meeting, or a plane flight to catch. None of that matters one goddamn, because nothing you have to do is worth causing the anguish of injury or death.


Take the three sentences above, write them down on a post-it note, and put it on your dashboard. I'm not kidding. Do it. If you do, and remember this video, you are my hero. Changing how you think about driving may be the most important choice you will ever make, in a life measured by fractions of seconds.

Thank you.