If it’s an emergency ...

My son has been asking a lot of questions about the lines on roads. Broken versus solid. Yellow versus white. Single versus double.

As we reviewed the meaning of the various marks, he said, “But we could cross that line in an emergency, right?”

“In an emergency, yes. Of course.”

This brings up much larger questions, and they extend beyond driving. When do situations rise to “emergency level” and when do they merit breaking the rules?

  • Is getting to the hospital an emergency?

  • Is needing to pass a history exam an emergency?

  • Is running late for a soccer game an emergency?

  • Is wanting to buy a new smartphone an emergency?

  • Is the availability of a fresh-baked cronut an emergency?

When do we break the rules — the rules of law, as well as those we’ve set up for ourselves?

And it’s worth asking: does this situation call for breaking the rules, or do I just want to break the rules?