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Yield / No Yield

Ashgabat: pedestrian crossings, visible or not

One of the subconscious challenges of a heavy travel schedule is in constantly recalibratung to the ebb and flow of different traffic norms. In the past two weeks I’ve failed badly.

The US generally has observant drivers although the urban planning of cities such as Los Angeles turns everyone into a pedestrian and cyclist endangering *sshole; China is generally a free-for-all and outside of the first tier cities can be described as a no-yield culture – whoever gets there first without blinking has right of way; and to my surprise drivers in Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan are super-cautious – stopping at the merest hint of a pedestrian or amber light (actually, their amber-equivalent is a flashing green light).

Why? Both countries have a heavy authoritarian, police presence and in the latter fines for even the most minor infractions will cost a minimum of ~7000 Tenge (~41 Euro).

In a world of autonomous, self-driving cars how the differences in driving styles changes with localised versions of the driving-software algorithms? And how over time whether driving software updates might be moved towards some universal human driving norm?