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The Traffic in India: No Rules … or Something Else? And is It Safer?!

If you’ve never been to India or Latin America, take a look at the following short video. Is what you’re seeing the absence of rules … or something else? http://www.evolvingexcellence.com/blog/2011/11/control-or-chaos.html In my travels in Latin America, I long ago perceived that there are two fundamental kinds of driving and traffic: 1. Obedient. In this style, drivers usually follow the official rules, or some approximation thereof. Accidents occur when road conditions are bad, drivers aren’t paying attention, or somebody thinks the rules don’t apply to them (chooses to violate the rules). 2. Positional. In this style, nobody pays much attention to the official rules. Instead, a driver is generally allowed to proceed in the direction he/she wants if the driver’s vehicle has better physical position (or is significantly larger in size) in relation to other nearby vehicles. Accidents occur when road conditions are bad, or drivers aren’t paying attention. Why aren’t there continuous accidents in the positional style of driving? It’s not because there are no rules. There are – the rules of ‘position’. You’re not really looking at anarchy or chaos – i.e., the absence of rules. If you were, everyone you see would be running into everyone else all the time. A good analogy is a flock of birds or school of fish. How do they all suddenly seem to turn in the same direction? The rules of position. Each bird or fish must always maintain its distance from his neighbors. Is the positional style of driving/traffic safer than the obedient style? Theoretically, I suppose you could argue it is. All drivers know the rules of position apply to them and that the sanction for violating those rules can be immediate and injurious. In practice, I wouldn’t bet on it. Flocking birds and schooling fish are probably equipped genetically for positional maneuvering. They’re been at it for millions of years. Humans have been driving for what – maybe a 100?! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Acks to Roger Tregear, Leonardo Consulting, Australiawho sent me a link to the video post.

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Ronald G. Ross

Ron Ross, Principal and Co-Founder of Business Rules Solutions, LLC, is internationally acknowledged as the “father of business rules.” Recognizing early on the importance of independently managed business rules for business operations and architecture, he has pioneered innovative techniques and standards since the mid-1980s. He wrote the industry’s first book on business rules in 1994.

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    Colin Campbell


    On a holiday in India my driver, after the first day of dashboard grabbing fear, told me there was one rule: avoid hitting anything in front of you. What happens to the left or right is not your concern. It’s their concern.

    I was eventually able to relax into this rule environment and enjoy the sights and scenery, and the chaos.

    Maybe our front-on predator vision, rather than the left- right prey vision, suits the positional style of driving better?

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