Know the Road with the CHP: What is a traffic break?

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An ABC30 viewer wanted to know: what does it mean when a police officer is swerving in front of me and slowing down traffic? What should I do?

"Oftentimes, California Highway Patrol officers are called to dangerous situations with objects in the roadway or obstructions in the roadway," said Sgt. Brian Pennings with the CHP.

"The way that our officers deal with this situation is they run what we call a traffic break, where they activate their lights and drive in a serpentine motion back and forth to slow oncoming traffic to a safe speed as they approach the hazard so themselves or an officer ahead can eliminate that traffic hazard for approaching vehicles," Pennings explained.

"So if you're driving and you see an officer driving in a serpentine motion with their lights activated, they're doing so to slow the vehicles down," he said. "You cannot pass that officer, it is illegal to pass that officer as they are trying to stop traffic because of the hazard and the dangers ahead."

"Failure to stop for that officer and stay behind that vehicle, whether it be a motor or a patrol vehicle, is a moving violation."

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