It’s a question about the balance hetween adhering to law but also not becoming ridiculous about it.

I hope it’s not a ridiculous question.


I am adding a justification for the validity of this question:

violating a law in principle is suffering related, if not for getting caught by a hiding police officer, then because of moral shame anyway. so the question is about whether getting too pedantic about the law is silly (silliness leading to suffering, I presume.)

For example, a traffic light in the middle of a desert — who would obey it but a fool?


2 Answers 2


Does signaling with no traffic help to reduce suffering? Is signaling or not signaling when making a turn with no traffic related at all to the Four Noble Truths??

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    I once made a turn without signaling when no one else was around, and got pulled over by a traffic cop who was hiding around the corner. That may have increased my suffering a little, but the officer seemed quite pleased with himself, so.... Mar 22, 2021 at 20:57

Does a virtuous Buddhist indicate when making a turn and no-one (else) is watching?

When I learned to drive, I was taught that signaling is legally required [only] if other vehicles might be affected -- Is Signalling Always Required on Roads in Ontario?

In practice I find it easier and less distracting to always signal -- a flick of the finger in a car -- instead of checking to be completely certain that no-one anywhere could possibly be affected at all.

(Indicating when cycling is slightly different, maybe I won't go into that here).

For example, a traffic light in the middle of a desert — who would obey it but a fool?

Me again.

I commuted by bike, and part of that (to avoid busier roads) was through residential neighbourhoods.

Residential neighbourhoods tend to have "four-way Stop signs" instead of traffic lights -- where everyone is meant to stop, then proceed if safe -- partly to make them unattractive to cars (i.e. lots of Stop signs).

I was also taught, as a young driver, that stopping at a Stop sign is required to be a "complete stop" and not a "rolling stop" (you can do a rolling stop on a Yield sign, not a Stop sign).

So anyway, I'm cycling along, and cyclists coming in the other direction warn me there are policemen stopping cyclists for rolling through the stop signs at an intersection. And I think, "What's this to me? Because I stop." but then I decided it was a chance to get a question answered, and so I went there, and I saw that the policemen were "bicycle cops" -- professional cyclists -- people who could answer from experience and not just from theory.

So I pulled up next to one who had a free moment and asked, "How much 'stop' do you want to see, from a cyclist, at a stop sign ... a rolling stop or a complete stop?"

Because when you're on a bike, a "complete" stop is slightly inconvenient -- you have to stop, put your foot down (for balance), start up gain.

And he looked at me, took a breath, and answered.

Intersections are the most dangerous place on a road. Most accidents happen at intersections. I see people blowing through intersection without even looking. What I want to see is people look, before they enter the intersection. So look! Both ways! Twice! And if you see a policeman, then come to a complete stop."

Which I thought was hilarious and very true.

Anyway -- if I saw a traffic light in the desert then I imagine I'd stop. Why is it there? What's the danger? How long will it stay red? Am I sure, quite sure, it's safe to cross?

And then I might cross -- especially if it doesn't turn green in a reasonable time -- which, might even be legal because, again, when I learned to drive, I learned that we're supposed to treat a broken traffic light in the same way as a four-way stop sign.

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