What is meant by "the rule of the road"? Why is it essential to observe it?

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The phrase "the rules of the road" refers to rules used on roads to regulate flow of traffic. These rules predate the invention of the automobile. The reason for their existence is a combination of safety and efficiency. Some of these rules are formal and some a matter of informal...

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The phrase "the rules of the road" refers to rules used on roads to regulate flow of traffic. These rules predate the invention of the automobile. The reason for their existence is a combination of safety and efficiency. Some of these rules are formal and some a matter of informal courtesy.

Whether, for example, people drive on the right or left side of the road does not matter. In Britain people drive on the left and in North America, people drive on the right. What is important, though, is that all drivers in a given region drive on the same side. Similarly, the choice of red to indicate that drivers should stop is arbitrary; any color could work equally well. What matters is that traffic signals in a given region are consistent and understood and followed by all drivers. If people violate these rules, the result will be less efficient traffic flow, and, even worse, accidents.

On a metaphorical level, this is an example of where we give up one liberty (driving wherever and however we wish) in order to preserve a greater good, the freedom to drive safely.

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The phrase "rules of the road" refers to a set of guidelines that one must follow when driving. For young drivers, it's a coming of age rite in which they become less reliant on their parents for transportation. It's important to observe road rules because it keeps you out of danger and allows you to get to your destination safely.

For Jenna, this is both literal and metaphorical. As she drives her boss to Texas, she becomes more confident in her driving abilities. In a similar way, Jenna begins to grow as a person while on her journey through life. Initially, she takes this trip as an opportunity to leave behind her alcoholic father, who has been absent for most of her life. However, an encounter with former alcoholic Harry Bender provides Jenna with the contentment needed to accept her father's condition. Although she follows the rules of the road, it's not up to her to decide which rules should be changed. Rather, all she can do is react accordingly and reach her destination in the safest way possible.

 

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