Every few weeks I see these Highway Patrol cars swerving back and forth across the freeway. At first I figured there might be an accident up ahead, but then the cars exit the freeway, and normal traffic resumes. What gives?

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    Ponch and Jon are not showing off—these maneuvers are for your safety. When a motorist reports a wayward sofa or refrigerator on the freeway, officers perform this back-and-forth tactic, called a traffic break, to clear the lanes and assess the situation. Often the debris has been removed—or destroyed—by the time the patrol cars show up, and they move on. Be patient, let them do their work, and be thankful a cast-off La-Z-Boy didn’t take out your front axle.

    Photograph courtesy Flickr/boetter