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I live in A but work at B. The two are 45 minutes apart and I could commute back and forth either by driving or by taking the bus. Every day, before going from A to B in the morning and before going back from B to A in the evening, I always do one same action that has different ramifications.

On day 1, I violated the law in A but arrived at B not in violation of the law. Later that day, I was not in violation of the law in B but arrived at A in violation of the law.

On day 2, I violated the law in A and I arrived at B still in violation of the law. Later that day, I violated the law in B and arrived at A still in violation of the law.

On day 3, I did not violate the law, at A or B, for the entire day. I was late for work, however.

On day 4, I violated the law in A and I arrived at B still in violation of the law. However, at B, I found out that the day was a holiday so I returned immediately without taking the action. Once I arrived at A, I was not in violation of the law.

What is the easiest explanation of what my action was before traveling between A and B?

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I think that the action you take is

Switching your car headlights off.

Day 1

You leave A early, when dark, so you are breaking the law by driving without headlights before sunrise. When you arrive at work at B, it is bright enough that you are no longer required to use headlights and therefore not in violation of the law.
Once you leave work, it is still bright enough to legally drive without headlights but when you arrive home (after sunset) it is dark again and you are breaking the law.

Day 2

You leave for work earlier in the morning so it is still dark by the time you arrive. Therefore you are still in violation of the law when arriving at B.
You also leave work a bit late in the evening so it is dark at B when you leave.

Day 3

You leave A when it is already bright (the sun has risen already). That is why you are late for work.
Likely you leave work earlier than usual this day as it is still bright enough when you arrive home.

Day 4

You leave A when it's dark and arrive at B when it is still dark. Once you arrive back at A, it is no longer dark and you are not breaking the law.

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    $\begingroup$ An alternate explanation for day 3 is that they took the bus. $\endgroup$ – BlueHairedMeerkat Aug 1 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ @BlueHairedMeerkat - I wonder, is the law still violated regardless if they drive or take the bus? The question is (perhaps on purpose) a little ambiguous to that, unless I'm reading it wrong. $\endgroup$ – BruceWayne Aug 1 at 16:46
  • $\begingroup$ @BruceWayne - The law may or may not be violated, but it wouldn't matter, because it is the bus driver, not you, who would be violating it. However, I do not think the "bus" explanation is viable, because it contradicts the statement that the person takes the same action every day. If the person rides the bus, the action here would not be taken. $\endgroup$ – Paul Sinclair Aug 1 at 17:03
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Both cities have a law against driving a vehicle with an open container of potable liquid at hand. Before each trip, you grab a closed bottle. On day 1, on the way to work, you opened it before leaving A and finished it before arriving in B; on the way back, you opened it after leaving B and therefore didn't finish it before arriving at A. On day 2, you opened it before leaving A and didn't finish it before arriving at B; on the way back, you did the same. On day 3, you went by bus, which is why you were late; the law applies to drivers only. On day 4, you hadn't finished your drink before arriving at B and therefore didn't take another bottle; but did finish your bottle before arriving back at A.

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  • $\begingroup$ All actions are the same, and are all taken before leaving A and B (except on the 4th day). $\endgroup$ – Minh Tran Jul 31 at 22:30
  • $\begingroup$ @MinhTran then you should have said so in the question. All you said in the question was "Every day, before going from A to B in the morning and before going back from B to A in the evening, I always do one same action", and I used that in my answer: the action taken before going is grabbing a bottle. That doesn't preclude drinking en route. $\endgroup$ – msh210 Jul 31 at 22:32
  • $\begingroup$ You left out part of the sentence - the puzzle says "one same action that has different ramifications". This implies that the "same action" is what causes the outcomes, not some other action that is optional and takes place afterwards. Otherwise, the "same action" could be whistling and the thing that influences legal/illegal could be murdering a hitchhiker on the drive. $\endgroup$ – hdsdv Aug 1 at 10:29
  • $\begingroup$ @hdsdv, okay, fair enough. $\endgroup$ – msh210 Aug 1 at 14:13
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The action is...

...setting your cruise control. A and B have different speed limits.

On day 1

Set the cruise control to not be late, city A's limit is lower than B and that speed meant you were speeding in A but not in B. You used the same speed on the way back.

On day 2

You were late so were speeding even by B's standards. Again you didn't change speeds on the way back.

On day 3

You took the bus, and were late. You speed for a reason.

On day 4

Similar to day 2, you were speeding on way there in both cities. However since work was canceled and you had more time you turned off the cruise control and didn't speed on the way back.

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I think it is

"Headlights on when Wipers On" laws in US states. So it is all about raining and keeping headlights on when the wipers are on.

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Perhaps this is it:

You live in England but work across the channel in France. (or Vice-versa) You may start driving on the right or left side of the road when leaving. If you start on the wrong lane (in violation) and then cross over at the border into the wrong lane again, you would continue to be in violation. If you did the opposite, you would be in compliance. On day 3, you took the bus (you were late!) so the bus followed all laws, not that it would have been your violation anyway.

Edit: I just realized I left out the "same action with different ramifications" part. I would still like to leave the answer for now, perhaps modify it after some thought.

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