Rules of the Road are the set of Universal ethics that must be followed for safe and effective magical practice. The Rules of the Road are not the same as morals (what our culture teaches us is right and wrong) or ethics (what we personally believe to be right and wrong), as both morals and ethics change over time. Particular morals or ethics may or may not agree with the Rules of the Road.
To practice magic safely and effectively you must know and abide by the Rules of the Road since, as far as we know, the Rules of the Road operate whether you know of them, believe in them, or agree with them. Additionally, normal scientific physical laws and principles must be followed.
Two Major Rules:
1. Whatever is done to the environment or to other beings in the environment brings similar effects upon the doer.
This is often called the Law of Karma. The Universe doesn't care why some action was taken, or whether the doer is trained in magic or aware of the Rules of the Road. Although many different teachers have stated this law in many different ways, including the Golden Rule, it is especially important for magicians. A magician's acts are consciously and willfully directed, and are therefore more powerful than the acts of untrained or unfocused people. So the effect of this law in relation to a magician's acts becomes much more powerful. This applies to both constructive and destructive acts.
Note: While many religious and other practices consider that Karma can carry from lifetime to lifetime, it is our experience that the Universe operates under a system of "pay as you go." In other words, the effect of any act upon the environment (or upon beings in the environment) comes back to you within a relatively short period of time - within hours to days.
2. The magician judges the "goodness" or "badness" of his or her own acts, whether they are conscious or unconscious acts, on the basis of what the Universe reflects back on him or her. The same is true of judging others, entire communities, states or nations.
On a practical level, one can judge one's compliance with the Universe's standards of right and wrong, or good and bad, in terms of one's level of health, soundness of social relationships, luck with appliances, and sufficiency of food, clothing and shelter. If your "luck" seems consistently bad, then you're probably acting contrary in some way to the Rules of the Road, regardless of what your intentions are.