A powerful video dramatizes the consequences of careless driving.

Every time you drive a car, especially if you're driving more than 20 miles per hour, you're making split-second life-and-death decisions.

We don’t think about that very much. Driving becomes routine. And when that happens, we make mistakes. They may be small, but the speed and power of automobiles can magnify even a minor human error into a life-altering event.

This public service announcement from New Zealand is about such a mistake. It dramatizes the potential consequences in a way that you're unlikely to forget once you see it. Warning: It is disturbing, not because of any graphic images, but because it so harshly depicts the real emotional consequences of carelessness behind the wheel.

We don’t have PSAs like this in the United States. Instead, we have a lot of ads that show cars tearing around urban environments at top speed, including one for the Nissan Rogue in which a woman shortens her commute by accelerating up an on-ramp from a city street and driving her car on top of a train.

"Fantasy, do not attempt," says the tiny message at the bottom.

That ad got some backlash this week, but not because of the dangerous behavior it depicts. It was because it aired too often during football games that a lot of Americans watch. Tens of millions of people got the message that Nissan was sending, until they became bored by it.

What if all those people had seen the New Zealand ad even once?

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    Berlin Builds an Arsenal of Ideas to Stage a Housing Revolution

    The proposals might seem radical—from banning huge corporate landlords to freezing rents for five years—but polls show the public is ready for something dramatic.

  2. Design

    A History of the American Public Library

    A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be.

  3. Maps

    Mapping the Growing Gap Between Job Seekers and Employers

    Mapping job openings with available employees in major U.S. cities reveals a striking spatial mismatch, according to a new Urban Institute report.

  4. A photo of a design maquette for the Obama Presidential Center planned for Jackson Park and designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.
    Design

    Why the Case Against the Obama Presidential Center Is So Important

    A judge has ruled that a lawsuit brought by Chicago preservationists can proceed, dealing a blow to Barack Obama's plans to build his library in Jackson Park.

  5. Design

    The Curious Politics of a Montreal Mega-Mall

    The car-dependent suburb it’ll be built in wants to greenlight Royalmount against the city government’s wishes but it needs them to pay for the public infrastructure.