Great magazine articles do not merely explain ideas, but dramatize them. In this case, we knew that although seat belts greatly increased accident survival rates, millions of Americans still weren’t buckling up. I told freelance writer Rob Gannon that we wanted readers to “see, hear, feel, smell, and taste what it’s like to be in a head-on collision without a seat belt, from the first millisecond through the aftermath.” The chilling result sold more than a million reprints. Of the hundreds of articles I’ve produced, this is one of my proudest.

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